William Paul Thayer

November 23, 1919May 6, 2010

Former LTV Corporation, Chairman and CEO, Paul Thayer, 90, died Thursday, May 6, 2010 in his home surrounded by loving family. Born on November 23, 1919 in Henryetta, Oklahoma, Paul worked in the oil fields as a young man and was a Phi Gamma Delta at the University of Kansas. In 1941, he discovered his passion for flying. Paul enlisted in the Navy’s Aviation Cadet Program. He graduated number one in his class and received his wings and ensign’s commission in March 1942. Paul began his service in WWII during the North African Invasion. His combat awards include: 3 Distinguished Flying crosses, 10 Air Medals and 2 Presidential Unit Citations. By the end of the war, when he was 25, he was a combat ace with one of the finest flying records in the Navy. In peacetime, Paul continued his love for flying as a co-pilot for TWA where he met his wife, Margery, a hostess for the airline. They married on February 14, 1947 in San Francisco, California. As a commercial pilot, Paul was able to stay in the air but missed the action. He credits Margery for encouraging him to pursue a much more adventurous path. Paul became a test pilot, flying experimental aircraft for Chance Vought and Northrop. He was the first pilot to break the sound barrier in a Navy production fighter - the XF7U-1 (1949) and to use the ejection seat when his XF7U-1 (1949) caught fire in flight. Other first’s include: first pilot to demonstrate all structural and high Mach Number (MN) limitations of the XF6U-1 (1950), first pilot to demonstrate all structural and high MN limitations of the XF-89 (1951), first pilot to have barrel-rolled a Boeing 737, first pilot to have flown the F-15, F-16, F-18, F-20 and the B-1B in 1983 while serving as Deputy Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan. Paul survived seven aircraft crashes where the aircraft was completely destroyed – four as a Navy fighter pilot and three as an experimental test pilot. His rise through the executive ranks of Chance Vought started in 1951 as chief of flight test and manager for sales and service. In 1961 when Ling-Temco-Electronics merged with Chance Vought to become Ling-Temco-Vought, Inc., Thayer became president of Chance Vought Aircraft and a director of LTV. Four years later, when the company was reorganized, Thayer was named president of LTV Aerospace Corporation, the successor to Chance Vought. Under his leadership, the aviation company’s sales grew four-fold from $195 million to $800 million annually. In 1970, Thayer was elected Chairman and CEO of the LTV Corporation, which was in the midst of a major financial crisis. Within two years, Thayer brought the company’s operations back into the black and by 1974; LTV was reporting record sales and earnings. Among his many civic accomplishments and honors, he was Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, National Exploring Chairman of the Boy Scouts of America and Chairman of the National Corporate Advisory Board of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. Paul served on the Dallas Citizens council, the board of trustees of the Greater Dallas/Ft Worth Chapter of the Leukemia Society of America and the board of governors for Junior Achievement. He received the distinguished Horatio Alger Award, which honors Americans who have risen to positions of leadership in business and who have promoted the American way of free enterprise. He was awarded the J.H. Doolittle Award by the Society of Experimental Test Pilots for excellence in technical management of aerospace technology and was presented the City of Hope’s Aerospace Man of the Year Research Fellowship Award. In recognition of his active interest and leadership in the Boy Scouts of America, he was honored with the Scout’s Silver Antelope and the William H. Spurgeon III awards. In 1994, he was inducted into the Navy Experimental Test Pilots Hall of Fame. At age 73, Paul, with friend Byrum Teekell, flew around the world in a Cessna 414 in 63 days. Their cargo was two sets of golf clubs. In 1996, Paul with three other Learjet captains established a new around the world speed record for Learjet category aircraft: approximately 23,500 miles in 49 hours, 21 minutes and 42 seconds which includes 8 fuel stops and averaging 467.3 mph. He lived life to the fullest. He loved flying, the Corsair, Chance Vought, LTV, the Vought Survivors and Retirees, the Conquistadores, the Golden Eagles, any golf course (especially Brook Hollow Golf Club), his country, his loyal friends, his daughter, Brynn, his son-in-law, David and his wife of 63 years, Margery. Memorial services will be held at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, May 12 at 2pm. In lieu of flowers please consider donations in Paul Thayer’s memory to the following: Faith Presbyterian Hospice 6100 Colwell Blvd., Suite 225 Irving, TX 75039, 972 401-9090, Boy Scouts of America Circle 10 Council 8605 Harry Hines Blvd. Dallas, TX 75235 Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church 9800 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75230


  • Memorial Service Wednesday, May 12, 2010

William Paul Thayer

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May 11, 2010

Margie & Brynn,
The Wellborn Families are saddened by the news of Paul's passing. We all want you to know you are in our thoughts and prayers. We loved you all so much, I am sure Mimaw and Pipaw are welcoming Paul with big Hugs.
Love and Lots of Hugs,
Joyce Lemons (Arlington,Tx), Bob & Sylvia Wellborn(Dallas,Tx), Pat & Calvin Baldwin(Dallas,Texas),& Myrna Hackett(Augusta, GA)and the Wellborn Grandchildren.