Biography of Rufus C. Thayer
San Francisco, CA Biographies





RUFUS CALVIN THAYER
As a member of the legal profession of San Francisco, the late Rufus Calvin Thayer distinguished himself by his successful practice and his consummate knowledge of the law. During his career he acted as counsel in numerous cases of prime importance, and in all he justified the eminent reputation which he held at the bar.

Mr. Thayer was born in Plymouth, Michigan, January 25, 1868, a son of Hiram Billings and Elmira (Wheeler) Thayer, and was a descendant of one of the pre Revolutionary families of this country, his forbears having settled in Braintree, Massachusetts. He attended the public schools in his native state, and then took up his higher studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, from which institution he received the Bachelor of Arts degree. Subsequent to his graduation he taught school, and at the same time studied law. In 1894, he was admitted to the bar in Michigan, and then for one year was circuit court commissioner in Manistee county, that state. He made his way westward to Denver, Colorado, in August, 1895, and there established himself in law practice. He returned to Michigan for his marriage, but again moved to Colorado, and settled in Colorado Springs, where he remained until 1906. His next place of residence was Goldfield, Nevada, and he stayed in this community until 1909, in which year he went to the Philippines. On his return to the United States, he stopped in San Francisco, and while in this attractive city decided to remain, to make it his home and open a law office, which he did. Several years later he formed a partnership with John Breuner, Jr., and Arthur L. Erb, the firm being known as Thayer, Breuner & Erb, which existed at the time of his death. Mr. Thayer was admitted to the California state bar, also to practice before the United States supreme court, and likewise was a member of the local, state and American bar associations. During his successful career in San Francisco, he handled many important matters, and his work in the interests of his clients took him at different times to Mexico, to the Philippines, to many states of the Union, and once to London, England. For many years, he was attorney for D. C. Jackling, and he served as attorney for the executor of the Murray estate.

On November 26, 1895, in Manistee, Michigan, Mr. Thayer was united in marriage to Irma Lorinda Wheeler, of colonial ancestry. To them were born four children. Wheeler Hall Thayer, the first in order of birth, is associated with the American Trust Company, and resides in Palo Alto, California. He married Helen Elizabeth Sharp, and they are the parents of Calvin Graham and Edward William. Second in the order of birth is Rufus Gerard Thayer, who is a lieutenant in the United States Navy, and who married Anna Harriet Shewmake of Atlanta, Georgia. They have one son, Rufus Gerard, Jr. Third is William Rudolph Thayer, also a lieutenant in the United States Navy, who married Dick Ramsdell Dempsey of Tacoma, Washington, by whom he has a daughter, Dorothy Dempsey. The youngest of the four children was Helen Elizabeth Thayer, who is married to Thomas Leslie Wark, an employe of the Associated Oil Company, and they have one son, Burr Alec.

Mr. Thayer's religious connection was with the Congregational Church. He belonged to the Association of Colonial Wars, and was regent for Colorado in this organization. He was also a member of the Union League Club and the Pacific Union Club. His principal hobbies and recreations were reading, playing golf and enjoying outdoor life. He was wholly devoted to his home and family, which formed the inspirational nucleus of his whole later career. He was of ingratiating personality, and held his friends easily. Among his contemporaries in the law, he was regarded with sincere respect, for he strictly observed the ethics of the profession and was always the courteous opponent in the courtroom.

The death of Rufus Calvin Thayer occurred in San Francisco on October 31, 1921, and he is survived by his widow and children. Mrs. Thayer makes her home at 1849 Clay street in this city.

From:
The History of San Francisco, California
Lewis Francis Byington, Supervising Editor
Oscar Lewis, Associate Editor
The S. J. Clark Publishing Company
Chicago-San Francisco 1931


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