Harry W. Thibedeau, Jr launched peacefully into orbit with his beloved satellites on Sunday, October 25, 2020. His life started in Stone Lake, Wisconsin the son of Harry, Sr and Margaret Thibedeau. He passed his time as a child pounding sticks into the ground in his backyard pretending to be drilling water wells like his Dad and Uncle Jules would do from sunup to sundown. I think he is the only person I know that read the complete set of World Book Encyclopedias.
High school in Hayward was fun. Harry excelled in debate, forensics and was also photographer and editor of his senior yearbook. He was also an inter. stockholder in VESTHODCZYK his senior year. :)
Harry was chosen to be on the US Senate Youth Program/William Randolph Hearst Foundation in Washington, DC. It was truly an honor and he even had the opportunity to play chess with Mr. Hearst.
While in high school, he started his career as a radio announcer at WRLS. This would be a stepping stone to his future.
After graduation, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was on the debate team there. We teased each other that he probably walked right past my dorm room taking a short cut to the Social Sciences building.
He returned to Hayward and WRLS. In addition to a regular "air-shift," hosted a wide range of special programs and live broadcast coverage of special events ranging from rodeos to the World Lumberjack Championships and the American Birkebeiner cross country ski race.
He was a member of the Hayward City Council.
He chaired a national political action committee supporting the Department of the Navy in its efforts to gain acceptance for the Project ELF system (communications to deep-running nuclear submarines).
Generated strong support for the project in 18 months, after years of intense public/political opposition and negative media coverage. Efforts culminated in approval of the project by President Reagan in 1981.
In January of 1986, he started his career with North America One hosting a nightly three-hour satellite radio talk show. It was delivered via satellite subcarrier to several million "C-Band" satellite dish owners across all of North America. He fielded more than 12,000 live "on-air" calls from consumers and satellite retailers - delivering industry news and information and also interviewed hundreds of industry executives live.
Onto to SBCA in Washington, DC, where he served as the primary "industry resource person" for the national trade association representing all segments of the Direct-to-Home satellite television industry. He truly enjoyed training a wide range of management staff at major media firms. He co-chaired FCC advisory committee on satellite testing of HDTV.
Next stop, NRTC as a member relations, public relations and sales/marketing support. With his extensive public speaking experience at cooperative and telecommunications industry meetings he managed to log nearly 2 million miles serving as a primary member relations representative.
His highlight though was serving as as the English language anchorperson of the global video Webcast of Ariane 5 rocket missions from Kourou, French Guiana. He gave as much passion as needed in his comments and always stays on the right tracks to keep the audience alert! His "rumble in the Amazon jungle" phrase will always be remembered.
Last buffalo hunt would end up at ViaSat in Denver, Colorado. He was part of an group of sales and fulfillment professionals responsible for the Viasat Business Product. He also represented ViaSat at a range of industry events and special market activities such as the Dayton HamVention and the National Association of Farm Broadcaster (NAFB) annual meetings. He was honored to announce the launch of ViaSat 2.
Harry had many passions. He loved Nascar, Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, travelling and Harry Chapin to name a few. But what he really loved was Alaska and visiting relatives there. He had been up there at least 14 times. He shared it with many but one trip stood out and that was when he married, Tina, on the Portage Glacier cruise on 7/7/07 surrounded by family and friends. He took pride in planning that event from start to finish.
Harry is survived by his soulmate and wife, Tina.
Children: Jessie and Pat Markham
Holly and Jared Brandenberger
Tracy Arneson Baker and Dusty Baker
Harry basically skipped parenthood and went right to being a Papa. He cherished that role because he was a big kid at heart.
Grandchildren: Reagan and Will Markham
Hazel, Ted and Olive Brandenberger
Sisters: Meri Will
Nieces and Nephews: Angie, Shawn, April, Penny, Bill, Monica
He is preceded by his parents, Harry, Sr and Margaret Thibedeau, his sister, Ginger Nelson and his cousin, "Shorty" with whom I am betting he is woohooing with now.
A Celebration of life will be held at a later date and possibly many times. Brats and Rum Raisin ice cream will be served and you will be serenaded by music from Harry Chapin per Harry's request.
We are grateful and blessed for all the love and support given to us.
Special thanks to Dan Turak and Madeline Berger for your friendship and love.
Harry was a gift and touched each of us in his own special way.
So when you look up at the sky and see a satellite, think of Harry and wave.
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