Faculty image James R. Thiry Director of Personnel University Administration

James Thiry Obituary 12/12/1930 - 3/5/2019

James R. Thiry age 88 passed away on March 5, 2019, surrounded by his loving family. Jim, a resident of Hamburg Township on Strawberry Lake for 40 years, was born in Green Bay Wisconsin on December 12, 1930, the second son of Lawrence and Alvina (Miller) Thiry. 

A 1948 graduate of Green Bay East High School, Jim completed his Bachelor of Science Degree from University of Wisconsin Madison in 1952. He served two years in the US Army at Fort Sill Oklahoma and was honorably discharged as a Sergeant in the Battalion Personnel Office. 

In 1953, Jim married Carol Ann Campbell (his sweetheart for 66 years) who survives with their seven children: Steven (Madeline) and their children, Heather and Kaitlyn; Julie Peterson (Keith) and their children, Nathan Lehman and his children, Connor and Abigale Jo; Sarah Lehman Mitchell (Trevor) and their children Elaina, Caris and Isaac; David (Clara) and their children Henry and Wyatt; Daniel (John Bernthal); Thomas (Carla) and his child Whitney; Theodore and Timothy (Petey Campi). Also surviving are nieces and nephews: Linda, Kent, Jill, Craig, Kay and Don R. Thiry; Brother-in-law Daryl (Helen) Campbell and their children Chris (Peggy) Campbell and Kathy Campbell O'Dell (Ken). 

Following discharge from the Army, Carol and Jim settled in La Porte Indiana where Jim joined the professional service of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) as a field executive serving La Porte and Stark counties. This capped his youth membership in Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts (Eagle rank), Sea Scouts and Order of the Arrow lodge chief. Jim was employed during high school and college at the BSA Bear Paw summer camp, rising in position from kitchen help to waterfront director. In 1956, Jim began eight years of employment at the La Porte works of Allis Chalmers Manufacturing Company as Assistant Personnel Director, He served as a member of the plant bargaining committee and worked in job analysis and employee-community relations. 

In 1964, Carol, Jim and family moved to Ann Arbor to join the administrative staff of the University of Michigan as Assistant Manager of Staff Benefits. With the advent of public employee collective bargaining Jim was teamed with the late University Labor Attorney Bill Lemmer and was appointed Manager of Staff and Union Relations and later Assistant Director of the University Personnel Office. 

In 1974, Jim accepted the position of Director of Personnel at the University of Rochester and began the adventure of negotiating labor contracts with Local 1199 of the National Union of Hospital and Health care Employees. 

In 1979 he returned to the University of Michigan as Director of Personnel. He retired in 1994 and is a past president of the University Retirees Association. During his service to the University Jim participated in the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources serving as chair of the Michigan Chapter, the Midwest Region, founding the Upstate New York Chapter, member of the national board of directors and national president. He was named an Honorary Life Member of CUPA-HR in 1994. 

The Thirys were a founding family of Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Hamburg where Jim served on the Administration Ministry and was the first President of the Parish Council. In recognition of his BSA volunteer service in cub and scout units and district committees, his years on the council executive board, plus his community service as founding co-commissioner of Hamburg Youth Soccer, Jim was awarded the Silver Beaver Distinguished Service Award by the Boy Scouts of America in 1985. 

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Don (Dec. 14, 1927- Oct. 31, 2011) and beloved grandson Tate Thiry (Oct. 2, 1993 Sept. 5, 2012). He loved Carol and their extended family, the Green Bay Packers, (he was a Packer stockholder) volunteering in the graphics section at the Clements Library, anything happening in or on the water and especially snorkeling with Carol and the "kids" on St. John in the US Virgin Islands. Jim was a remarkable man who had a love of travel and adventure. He hosted each of his seven children on vigorous trips that included snorkeling in Belize, a jungle lodge in Amazonia, birding in Panama, and travel to Iceland, Costa Rica, the Galapagos, and Isle Royale. His kids often had no idea where he and Carol had gotten off to!  Jim and Carol were devoted fans of their grandchildren and logged innumerable hours travelling to recitals, sporting events, theatrical performances (including NYC!) and commencement exercises. 

Mourn not long that he is gone, but rejoice forever that he was here. –unknown


Published in Ann Arbor News on Mar. 7, 2019



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