Remembering John Thatcher

John Thatcher, a soft-spoken career employee at Juniper Systems who prided himself in helping others and delighted in the birds in the air and the bugs on the ground, passed away in February. He was 66.

A 22-year veteran of Juniper Systems, Thatcher built a reputation on positivity and tact. He finished his career in November 2018 as a repair center manager.

“I’ve never known Juniper Systems without John Thatcher,” CEO DeVon Labrum said. “John had a keen desire and ability to take care of customers and employees with trust, love, respect, and support. He had success because of the way he lived every day. It wasn’t a front – it was who he was.”

Employees at Juniper Systems remembered Thatcher as a respected professional and friend who took pride in his role as a product support technician. He built an encyclopedic knowledge of the company and its products from decades of work.

For some at work, Thatcher was like a member of their family.

“He was available and willing to help,” said customer service administrative assistant Beckie Caverhill, who referenced Thatcher’s fatherly mentorship. “He never once told me he didn’t have time to listen. John had expectations for us to do the job. And when we did, he generously handed out praise. I will miss John.”

Juniper Systems hired Thatcher as an electronic repair technician in 1996. At that point, the company was a spunky startup called HarvestMaster that focused on data collection and measurement solutions for the seed research industry. Thatcher grew as the company grew – and he advanced from one position and title to the next. He worked as a senior repair technician, lead repair technician, repairs manager and trainer, and finally as the HarvestMaster field support engineer.

The common thread between his many positions, director of customer service Harlyn Oman said, was his inclination and expertise for helping people solve problems.

“John left a lasting impression on customers because he was able and willing to help them solve their problems at a critical time,” said Keith Hunt, HarvestMaster’s director of sales and business development. “John was easy going and didn’t get frustrated. He was good about stepping people through the troubleshooting process. I have had many customers ask if John still worked for the company and to tell him hello.”

“I always knew if I had a question regarding products or how to handle a customer service situation – John would have the answer,” Labrum said.

Thatcher had a reputation as attentive and gentle to “God’s creations,” Labrum added. He helped erect a birdhouse in wetlands adjacent to Juniper Systems’ campus where at lunch he would read books and birdwatch.

“I think he knew every bird there has ever been on this planet,” Oman said. “His face just lit up when he talked about rare birds, spiders, and other animals.”

Thatcher often biked to work to help with air quality and longed to be outside exploring Cache Valley.

Juniper Systems subscribes to 15 maxims, or values. Thatcher exemplified those values, Labrum and Hunt both said. “We serve our customers and fellow employees with trust, love, respect, and active support, and expect the same in return,” the first maxim states.

“Someday when I’m on the other side, I want to share an apple fritter with John and ask him about the bike trails he’s found,” Caverhill said.

14 Comments

  1. Vicki O'Brien says:

    Lovely words for a truly lovely man, RIP John

  2. A true treasure.

    I had the pleasure of working with John. Each and every interaction, whether at the lunch table or during busy times at work, he would give 100% attention to the person he was talking with you. Never, did he ever make me feel like I was interrupting him or his work. He was the incapsulation of “Team.”

    God bless you and your family during this time.

  3. Jeremy Edwards says:

    John was such a great supervisor when I was first out of school. Great man, sad hes gone!

  4. Karla Gunnell says:

    Thanks for paying tribute to John. He would never expect praise but definitely deserved it!

  5. Aaron Carlock says:

    I didn’t get to work with John for too long, but I’ll always remember him. He was one of a kind. Knowledgeable about many things, easy going, and cared about everybody. He will be missed.

  6. Tracy Cribb says:

    John was such a help to us – and ensured the success of much of the work we’ve done with Allegros over many, many years. So sorry to hear of his passing.

  7. Dan Harvey says:

    Thanks for letting the public know. He helped many times with issues I’ve had over the years. My sympathies to his family and Juniper!

  8. Mike Regan says:

    John was such a patient and helpful person. As he solved our maintenance and service issues on the HarvestMaster products, he always provided a steady reassurance and confidence that things would be ok… and they alsways were. I am sad to hear of his passing.

  9. Salvador Lopez says:

    I am very sad to hear of John passing away. John was such a great help to our canola program at the university of Alberta. He was the one that helped me figure things out whet the harvesting system did not want to work. He had tremendous patient and very knowledgeable. My sympathy to his family

  10. Franz Hattinger says:

    We at HarvestMaster Europe did not work with John personally very often. If advice or help was needed, he was always there.
    Thank you for everything, we’ll miss you.

  11. Remington Rainey says:

    John was very much a part of the solid foundation at Juniper. Always kept things very professional and positive even in stressful or hard circumstances. Plus he did me the favor of letting me know that I should never microwave my food in a plastic container; a lesson that reminds me of him often!

  12. Brian Lacy says:

    I joined Juniper Systems at the end of 2017 and had limited work-related interaction with John, so I didn’t know him well. And yet, whenever I passed him in the hall or elsewhere he would take the time not only say hello or ask how I was, but to actually talk with me as though I were an old friend.

    I scarcely could recall his name and I have no idea whether he would recall mine, and yet I miss him daily and and understand why he is so dearly missed by so many others. I think of him often as I walk these halls.

  13. Carlos Hildebrand says:

    I’m very sad to hear of John passing away. He was such a great guy with a tremendous willingness to help. Back in late 90 he helped me very often to figure things out when harvest systems didn’t want to work. He will be missed!!

  14. Having spent a week here and there with John, during training at Juniper, I grew to enjoy his kindly nature as he imparted his wisdom and knowledge to us. Very nice individual. I remember first meeting him, I told him his voice reminded me much of the actor James Cromwell. Height and feature wise as well. Will miss our lighthearted phone conversations. Via Con Dios !

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