Remembering H. Thayer Kingsbury
Champion, H. Thayer Kingsbury
You can tell a lot about someone by the way he is ritually remembered after he dies. Occasionally I’ll lead or attend a memorial service at which the whole community is grieving. The house of worship is packed. But more than the sheer number of mourners, there is the diversity of people represented; people from many different social circles and smaller communities within this larger Monadnock Region come together to honor a person who lived with such breadth and depth that it seems that everyone, truly everyone, knew him.
This is how it was with H. Thayer Kingsbury.
A native of Keene, Thayer loved this region and the people in it. After his retirement he volunteered for several different non-profit agencies, enriching us all by sharing his time, his energy, and his amazing way with people.
And he knew us by name.
Weekly, I would check in with Thayer at the Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene information desk, (now named for him), where he volunteered 30 hours a week for 31 years. It was always a joy to see Thayer in action. When people came to the desk to seek his help usually he addressed them by name. Always, he welcomed them.
As our oldest male Vision 2020 Champion, Thayer understood the power of connection. He knew that true community health means caring for one another’s spirits along with their bodies. He knew that authentic relationships form the foundation for a community worth living in.
At the memorial service we held for Thayer here at CMC/DH-K, staff members and volunteers shared memories of Thayer’s caring, thoughtful, giving, funny nature. The word “love” was spoken again and again. Everyone had a story to tell about Thayer; precisely because he took the time to listen to our own.
We ended the service with this benediction because Thayer liked it and, more importantly, because he lived it. “Life is short and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us. So be quick to love and hasten to be kind.”