Terence Kelso Thayer 1940-2019
Terence Kelso Thayer passed away in Bloomington, Indiana, on May 2, 2019, at the Hearthstone Health Campus after a long illness. He was 78.
Terence was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on October 9, 1940, and grew up in North Vernon, Indiana. He graduated from North Vernon High School in 1958. His parents were both Indiana University graduates; his father, Dr. Benet W. Thayer, was a physician, and his mother, Edna Thayer, was a journalist and artist.
Terence received the A. B. degree summa cum laude in German at Oberlin College in 1962. While at Oberlin College, he met Diane Weiss, of Euclid, Ohio, whom he married in 1962 in Highland Heights, Ohio. Together they spent the following year in Germany while he was a Fulbright scholar. A recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, he earned his Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1967. He joined the Indiana University faculty in 1967 as an assistant professor. With the exception of a visiting appointment at the University of California at San Diego in 1972, a Humboldt research fellowship in Hamburg in 1976, and Fulbright and DAAD summer seminars in Germany in the 1980s, Thayer spent his entire career in Bloomington at Indiana University, and was promoted to associate professor in 1972 and full professor in 1983. He retired in 2004. His colleague William Rasch said of Terence that he was a "good man, a good human being. In truth, more than that can be said of no one."
Terence was an inveterate traveler who journeyed to all seven continents, more than fifty countries, and to countless islands around the world. He was a lifelong runner who completed the Bloomington Marathon in the late 1970s, with his young son Alex joining him at the end. He also enjoyed handball, art, film, music, reading, and, upon retirement, read the Odyssey in its original Greek.
We learned this year that Prof. Louis F. Helbig passed away in Berlin on December 3, 2019. Born in 1935, Prof. Helbig was a well-loved teacher in German Studies. He was at IU from 1969 until 1990 when he went to the University of Arizona for five years but then relocated to Europe. He was the Director of the Office of Overseas Studies from 1979 to 1985. We remember him as a fine teacher.
Ben Robinson remarked upon learning of Prof. Helbig's passing, that "an interdisciplinary conference Helbig organized here at IU in 1972, on "Teaching Postwar Germany in America," was decisive for modernizing German instruction in the US. His contribution to the conference volume, "The Concept of a German Studies Program," had an important influence on opening up such programs more widely to cultural, contemporary, and comparative studies. We in the IU Germanic Studies Department remain his heirs. Helbig also had an extensive scholarly output on topics such as Büchner's Dantons Tod, the individual and society in Goethe's Wahlverwandtschaften, the literature of exile, flight and displacement in the immediate postwar period, and a critical edition of Lessing's Erziehung des Menschengeschlechts, among other themes." Among his publications is Teaching Postwar Germany in America: Papers and Duscussions coauthored in 1972 with the late emeriti professor Eberhard Reichmann.