Jack Thayer aged 17, 1912
|Born||John Borland Thayer III
December 24, 1894
|Died||September 20, 1945
|Spouse(s)||Lois Cassatt (?-1945) (his death)|
John Borland "Jack" Thayer III (December 24, 1894 – September 20, 1945) was a first-class passenger on the RMS Titanic who provided several first-hand accounts of the disaster.
Thayer went on to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania. He served as an artillery officer in the US Army during World War I. He married Lois Cassatt, daughter of Edward B. Cassatt and Emily L. Phillips. Her grandfather was Alexander Johnston Cassatt, President of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The couple had two sons, Edward and John IV, and also three daughters. In 1940, he described his experiences with the Titanic's sinking in vivid detail in a self-published pamphlet; 500 copies were printed for family and friends. Oceanographer Robert Ballard used it to determine the location of the Titanic and proved that the ship had split in half as it sank, contrary to popular belief. Thayer was among those who clearly reported seeing the Titanic break in two, as was finally confirmed by the discovery of the wreck. Thayer's account is sometimes included jointly with the memoirs of the disaster by fellow survivor Archibald Gracie IV in modern editions of Gracie's book Titanic: A Survivor's Story.
During World War II, both of Jack's sons enlisted in the armed services. Edward, a bomber pilot, was listed as missing and presumed dead after his plane was shot down in 1943 in the Pacific theatre. His body was never recovered. When the news reached Thayer, he became extremely depressed. Thayer's mother Marian died on April 14, 1944, the 32nd anniversary of the Titanic's collision with the iceberg. Her loss seemed to push him even further into a downward spiral and he committed suicide on September 20, 1945. He was found in an automobile at 48th Street and Parkside Avenue in West Philadelphia, his throat and wrists cut. He is buried at the Church of the Redeemer Cemetery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Thayer was the financial vice president of the University of Pennsylvania at the time of his death.
- Titanic: A Survivor's Story and the Sinking of the S.S. Titanic by Archibald Gracie IV and Jack Thayer, Academy Chicago Publishers, 1988 ISBN 0-89733-452-3
- Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy, by John P. Eaton and Charles A. Haas, W.W. Newton & Company, 2nd edition 1995 ISBN 0-393-03697-9
- A Night to Remember, by Walter Lord, ed. Nathaniel Hilbreck, Owl Books, rep. 2004, ISBN 0-8050-7764-2
- Philip Sherwell (March 26, 2012). "Down and down I went, spinning'". Vancouver Sun.
- Mr John Borland Jr. Thayer - Titanic Biography - Encyclopedia Titanica
- Marshall, Logan. "Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters". Project Gutenburg. Retrieved April 22, 2009.
- "JOHN B. THAYER 3D FOUND DEAD IN CAR; Philadelphia Leader's Throat and Wrists Cut—Had Grieved Over Son's Death in War". The New York Times. September 22, 1945.