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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Terrill N. Thibert

Issue Date: September 27, 2018

Terrill ("Terry") Noel Thibert, 86, passed away Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018.

Born Dec. 7, 1931 in Detroit, Mi., to Randall and Marbell Thibert, he and his siblings spent most of their childhood overlooking the bluffs of Niagara from their house on River Street. He graduated from Niagara High School in 1949 and worked as a pulp tester at Kimberly Clark Paper Mill.

In 1952, at age 20, at the height of the Korean War, he enlisted in the United States Navy as a hospital corpsman. Deployed aboard the U.S.S. Philippine Sea, an attack aircraft carrier and anti-submarine warfare carrier, his ship patrolled the coasts of Japan, Okinawa, and Taiwan. As a third-class petty officer, he received the Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal.

While still enlisted, in 1955, he and his longtime friend, "Pinky" Harvath, also of Niagara, visited Pinky's younger sister Margaret Harvath in Los Angeles, where she lived. Their first date was a picture show in Hollywood, and that is where their story began. He was released to inactive duty in early 1956 and on July 14, 1956 they married at St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Niagara and they were together for over 60 years.

They raised nine children and he worked for over 40 years at the paper mill. He served as Justice of the Peace for more than 10 years that embodied his sense of justice, character and community service. His children share his work ethic and sense of service but playfully chanted "here comes da judge, order in the court" as he entered a room.

After retirement, they sold their home on Park Street and shared time between their cottage at Hamilton Lakes in Norway, Mi. and their home in Sun City, Az. Even in retirement, he kept busy at the lake, including mowing lawns, splitting firewood, fixing pumps, fiddling with motors and finding creative ways to keep out the geese.

In Sun City, he played as an Octogenarian golfer and in an over-70 softball league, tended his fruit trees and watched the fighter jets fly over his home every day. They had many lifetime friends in many places that will miss his companionship and helping hand.

He enjoyed reading the newspaper, a good cup of coffee, listening to country music and watching the Brewers, Badgers and Packers. He made the trip to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl, saw many Lambeau Field victories and attended three Super Bowls.

He was an avid golfer, fisherman, cribbage player and hunter and shared those passions with his children and grandchildren, but above all, he loved time with his wife Margaret.

Last year, accompanied by his daughter, Ann, he traveled to the Upper Peninsula to go on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. and was met at the airport in Washington, D.C. by his children, grandchildren, active-service military, strangers, volunteers and a French horn. He, along with 86 other veterans, toured national monuments and memorials erected in their honor. At the close of his trip, he and fellow servicemen returned home to a celebration of their service.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Margaret (Harvath) Thibert; nine children, Suzanne Thibert, Sandra Phillips, JoAnn (Larry) Poncino, Patrick (Colleen) Thibert, Ann Thibert, Diane Thibert, TJ (Lynnette) Thibert, Renee (Jon) Volpei and Mary Kaye (Larry Bovee) Thibert; 12 grandchildren and a younger brother, Thomas (Donna) Thibert.

Visitation took place Saturday, Sept. 22 at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Niagara from 9 a.m. until time of a Funeral Mass at 11:30 a.m. at the church. Rev. Fr. Michael Lightner officiated with burial in Niagara Cemetery. The American Legion Cretton-Tutis Post #136 of Niagara, along with the Iron Mountain American Legion Uren-Cooper Johnson Post #50 accorded military honors at the cemetery. A post-burial reception was held at St. Anthony's Church Hall. Donations in his name are appreciated to the Upper Peninsula Honor Flight at www.upperpeninsulahonorflight.org Jacobs Funeral Home, Niagara Chapel assisted the family with arrangements.


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