Cover photo for Margaret Dawn Thatcher's Obituary
Margaret Dawn Thatcher Profile Photo
1969 Margaret 2020

Margaret Dawn Thatcher

December 31, 1969 — May 1, 2020

Margaret ‘Dawn’ Goddard Thatcher, age 95, a longtime Missoula resident, passed away May 1, 2020, in her home of natural causes. Dawn was born August 27, 1924 in Billings to Lee Roy Goddard and Fanchon Crickett Milligan Goddard. Because she was the eldest girl in a family of 12 children, she was responsible for helping to raise her siblings. She graduated from Billings Senior High School, and attended Nursing School at Billings Deaconess Hospital from 1942-1945, becoming certified as a Registered Nurse.
In November 1945 she moved to Missoula to become a Surgical Nurse at Thornton Hospital, which later became Community Hospital. On December 22, 1945 she married David Jonathan Thatcher of Billings and was blessed with a 70.5-year marriage. Her husband was known worldwide for his participation in the famous WWII Doolittle Raid bombing of Tokyo, Japan. Dawn and Dave did a lot of hiking and camping throughout Montana. They were also close to their extended families, participating in regular family reunions on both sides of the family and numerous summer vacations to visit family in eastern Montana and elsewhere.
Dawn continued working as an RN at the hospital until her daughter, Sandra Jean was born in late 1947. Gary David was born in 1949. Dawn resumed working as an Obstetrics Nurse, full and part-time from 1950 through 1970. During that time there were 3 more children, Becky Jo (1952), Jeffrey Dean (1955), and Debra Dawn (1962). After her oldest son, Gary, was killed in a helicopter crash in February 1970 at age 20, in Vietnam while serving as a U.S. Army Medevac pilot, Dawn concluded her nursing career. Daughter, Debra Dawn Gilcrest, died of complications from a brain tumor at age 46.
In addition to her duties as RN and Mother she was also known in the neighborhood, her church, and community as an excellent cook, especially baking cookies, birthday cakes, pies and rolls but also for giving free allergy shots or other necessary first aid. She volunteered as a Sunday School teacher at the First Baptist Church, served on numerous committees, became a voter registrar, square danced, and played Bridge. She is the last of the original Dearborn Street Bridge players who played until this year.
Dawn is survived by 3 sisters: Mary Gates; Paulette Rogina; Judy Frank; and one brother Frank (Joyce) Goddard, plus children: Sandy (Jeff) Miller; Becky (Allen) Keller; and Jeff (Janis) Thatcher; son-in-law David Gilcrest; seven grandchildren: Amber Hudson; Jeremiah Hudson; Brooke (Wade) Zimmerman; Benjamin Thatcher; Sarah (Montrell) Thornton; Mackenzie Gilcrest; and Mel Gilcrest; 2 great-granddaughters: RaeLynn Zimmerman and Olivia Rose Thornton.
Funeral arrangements and cremation are being handled by Garden City Funeral Home of Missoula. A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will occur later in the summer after the Covid-19 restrictions are removed.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made in Dawn’s name to Grace United Methodist Church, PO Box 2999, Missoula, MT 59806.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Margaret Dawn Thatcher, please visit our flower store.

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