Marilyn Thayer

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Marilyn Rossbach Thayer

Born November 4, 1929
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Political Party Former president of the National Federation of Republican Women
Spouse Stuart Wallace Thayer (married c. 1951-2005, his death)

Marilyn Rossbach Thayer (born November 4, 1929)[1] is a former president of the National Federation of Republican Women, a position that she held from 1996 to 1997 while residing in her native New Orleans, Louisiana.


Thayer (for whom little information is available on her early years) `was married for fifty-four years until his death to Stuart Wallace Thayer (April 27, 1924 – May 27, 2005), a native of North Oxford, Massachusetts, who served as a commander in the United States Navy in both World War II and the Korean War. He held a Bachelor of Science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was for forty-four years employed at Lykes Brothers Steamship Company, from which he retired in 1992 as a company vice president. There are two surviving Thayer children, David Ross Thayer (born 1956) of Hercules, California, and Dana Rea Thayer Rieder (born c. 1965) of Kenner in Jefferson Parish in suburban New Orleans.[2] A second son, Stephen Saunders Thayer, was born in March 1962, died in January 1963, and is interred at Greenwood Cemetery in New Orleans.[3] Thayer is the daughter of the late Louis Rossbach, Jr., and his wife, the former Lois Pride Krause. Her sisters are Joan Rossbach Liddell and Lois Rossbach Mosier.[4][5]

Political life

At the 1988 Republican National Convention held in New Orleans, the conservative Thayer headed the platform committee on family issues. Despite her initial reluctance to support federally-funded child care programs, Thayer said that her party had little choice in the political atmosphere of that era but "to meet the needs of changing times."[6] She worked successfully to elect the Bush-Quayle ticket. Thayer continued to serve on the Republican platform committee until January 1996.[7] Thayer held firm on the GOP pro-life plank and cut short a Moderate Republican at the 1988 platform hearings, Tanya Melich, the executive director of the New York State Republican Family Committee, who lobbied unsuccessfully for a neutral platform stance on abortion.[8]   Thayer was an unsuccessful candidate for the District 89 seat in Louisiana House of Representatives, having been defeated by Mitch Landrieu, a Democrat and future lieutenant governor and term-limited mayor of New Orleans. Thayer drew 4,939 votes (36.7 percent) to Landrieu's  8,522 (63.3 percent).[9]

As the NFRW president, Thayer instituted a get-out-the-vote initiative which helped to retain Republican majorities in both houses of the U.S. Congress but failed to unseat U.S. President Bill Clinton. She began the Betty Rendel Scholarship, offered to females engaged in the study of political science and named for a past federation president from Indiana. She also established the NFRW website during her year at the helm.[10]    

Along with another New Orleans Republican, Beth Rickey, Thayer was inducted in 2000 into the Louisiana Center for Women in Government and Business Hall of Fame at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux in Lafourche Parish..

In 2011, Thayer relocated to Lilburn in Gwinnett County in suburban Atlanta, Georgia, where she continued her involvement in the Republican Women's Clubs.[11]


  1. Marilyn Thayer - Lilburn, GA. Retrieved on September 3, 2017.
  2. Stuart Wallace Thayer. Retrieved on April 27, 2016.
  3. Stephen S. Thayer. Retrieved on April 27, 2016.
  4. Marriage of Lois Pride Kraus. Retrieved on September 3, 2017.
  5. Margaret Janneck obituary (aunt of Marilyn Thayer). Retrieved on September 3, 2017.
  6. John Balzar (August 16, 1988). Era of Reagan-Carter Government-Bashing Ending : Next President Sure to Be an 'Insider'. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on April 27, 2016.
  7. Marilyn Thayer. C-SPAN (January 27, 1996). Retrieved on April 27, 2016.
  8. Tanya Melich (2009). "No. 14 (Victory Without Honor)", The Republican War Against Women: An Insider's Report from Behind the Lines. New York City: Random House. Retrieved on April 27, 2016. 
  9. Election Returns. Louisiana Secretary of State (October 19, 1991). Retrieved on April 27, 2016.
  10. Past Presidents: Marilyn Thayer of Louisiana. Retrieved on April 27, 2016.
  11. Marilyn Thayer. (August 2, 2011). Retrieved on April 27, 2016.