Service Saturday for Shepherd of the Sierra founding pastor |

Service Saturday for Shepherd of the Sierra founding pastor

Staff Reports

A memorial service is 2 p.m. Saturday in Carson City for Rev. Elmer D. Thyr, 84, who was the founding pastor of Shepherd of the Sierra Lutheran Church. He died Oct. 25, 2011. The service will be held at Bethlehem Lutheran Church.

Born Nov. 18, 1927, in Spokane, Wash., to Elmer and Louise Matilda (Irmer) Thyr, he grew up in Orange, Calif., Rev. Thyr attended California Concordia College in Oakland and graduated from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, in 1952.

On June 22, 1952, he married Maxine nee Jochner of Oakland.

He served congregations in Pennsylvania and California before accepting a call to Gardnerville’s Trinity Lutheran Church in 1993.

Long known as a mission planter, Thyr founded Shepherd of the Sierra in northern Douglas County in 1996.

“This was my final opportunity to start a church, after planning to retire here,” he told an interviewer. “I’ve spent my life starting churches. So when the opportunity arrived, I did so.”

The congregation met at Jacks Valley Elementary and then in the Genoa Town Hall before the former Carson City Southwest Gas building was moved to the site off Highway 395 at the top of Indian Hills. The church opened in that location in 1999. Rev. Thyr retired in July 2006.

Family members said one of Rev. Thyr’s greatest joys was preaching and “spending time in God’s nature with his fishing pole and his many nephews, fishing for salmon every summer in Alaska.”

He is preceded in death by his wife, Maxine.

He is survived by two daughters, Lisa Hamrick and Amy Thyr, one granddaughter Deanna Thyr, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Arrangements were in the care of Autumn Funerals & Cremations.