Surrounded by his wife and children, Wayne Thalls Jr., passed away peacefully in Santa Cruz on May 18, 2016. Born and raised in Marion, Indiana, Wayne attended the University of Iowa, and served his country stateside as a radio operator and flight engineer in the US Army Air Corps during WWII. His career in communications spanned more than 40 years, and included positions with the Indiana State Police in Indianapolis, and at RCA in Chicago, IL, Pittsburgh, PA, and Camden, NJ. In 1969 he was recruited by Plantronics in Santa Cruz, and towards the end of his career worked at several Silicon Valley startups.
Wayne was a member of the National Defense Executive Reserve (NDER). He was a lifelong HAM radio operator (KB6KN), and was a member of the Santa Cruz County Amateur Radio Club, including service as club president. Immediately after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, Wayne spent eight days directing Santa Cruz county-wide HAM communication efforts of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) unit at the Santa Cruz County Office of Emergency Services.
Family was very important to Wayne. Driven by his passion for history and a gift for storytelling, he was a prolific researcher and writer. He was a member of the Santa Cruz County Genealogical Society, and served for a number of years in the History and Genealogy room at the Main Branch of the Santa Cruz Public Library.
Wayne is survived by his beloved wife of 68 years, Rosemary (Eberle) Thalls of Santa Cruz and their children Jerry Thalls (Ann) of Sunnyvale, Debbie Saunier (Elmer) of Freedom, Tish Scargill (Ray) of Hollister, and Angela Thalls (Neil McKenzie) of Soquel; grandchildren Lindsey, Janelle, Kaleena, Christine, Graeme, Jordan, Griffin and Fiona; great-grandchildren Trajan, Auden, Autymn, Estrella, Questen, Zenen, Kingsten and Kali; sister Pat Maley of Marion, Indiana, and several nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, Wayne Thalls, Sr. and Clara Christina Thalls (Magers), and sisters Ruth Thalls and Lois Haley.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Holy Cross Church, 126 High St., Santa Cruz on Tuesday May 31, beginning at 11:00am, a reception at Holy Cross Hall will follow. Military Honors will take place at an afternoon committal ceremony at Holy Cross Cemetery, Santa Cruz. In lieu of flowers, charitable contributions can be made in Wayne's memory to the Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz County, to Hospice of Santa Cruz County, or to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.