Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Story of Colin and JoAnn Thatcher

A New Way of Life

The year 1964 proved eventful for the Thatcher family. That April, the ardent liberal Ross Thatcher ended a campaign against the socialistic party by winning the popular vote and being elected as premier of Saskatchewan. It was a prestigious appointment for Ross that greatly influenced JoAnn and Colins lives. Following his election the family became highly involved in political circles and community activities.   

That same year, JoAnn became pregnant with their first child. Ross and Peggy moved to Regina and sold their home to JoAnn and Colin to accommodate the growing family. Shortly thereafter the couple moved into the family home located on 1116 Redland Avenue.

Ross Thatcher
Ross Thatcher

On June 26, 1965, Gregory Ross Thatcher was born. Ross took a special interest in his grandson and his daughter-in-law. It appeared as if the only good thing Colin had ever done in his fathers eyes was to marry an exceptional woman and produce a beautiful child. He seemed a failure in every other respect. The friction between father and son continued.

Nevertheless, Colin was eager to win his fathers approval, which likely facilitated his interest in pursuing a political career for himself while simultaneously managing the family ranch. In order to advance his position as a community leader, Colin became more socially active. Between the early 1960s and 1970s, he became the national director of the Canada Hereford Association, a member of the Kinsmens Club, director of the Saskatchewan Roughrider Football Club, chairman of the Moose Jaw Civic Centre Board, participated in Caron Rural Municipality meetings and eventually he ran and lost an election for a seat on the Board of Education.

JoAnn dutifully supported her husbands interests and actively participated in a majority of the related social functions that contributed to the advancement of Colins popularity. Yet, Colins own ambitions always took a back seat to his fathers. Ross consistently sidestepped Colins political interests, frequently stating that having one Thatcher involved in politics was more than enough. Although Ross dominated the political limelight, his son refused to let it deter him and instead he utilized the family name to his own benefit.

While Colin was attempting to advance himself in the community, he was also in the process of extending his family. In February 1969 the couple proudly announced the birth of their second son, Regan Colin Thatcher. The birth followed two unsuccessful pregnancies that resulted in miscarriages. Ross was especially pleased with the new grandson. It seemed as if the old mans hopes for the family rested on Greg and Regan, possibly making up for what he believed to be his own sons failings. Unfortunately, he would never live to see his son or grandsons future achievements.

On July 22, 1971, Ross Thatcher allegedly died of heart complications in his sleep. However, according to Siggins, years later JoAnn suggested that Ross had actually committed suicide, although the autopsy reports stated otherwise. To date, the true cause of Rosss death remains a mystery.

JoAnn and Colin were shocked by the news of the unexpected tragedy. JoAnn shared a very close relationship with Ross and experienced considerable emotional pain following his death. However, Colins reaction was more ambiguous. There is no doubt that the love/hate relationship between the two led to many unresolved and confused feelings prior to Rosss death. According to Wilson and Wilson, a friend of the family further supported this view stating that following Rosss death, Colin was unsure of whether to laugh or cry at his fathers funeral. Regardless, the loss of his father allowed Colin to unabashedly pursue his interests in politics and in the family ranching business.

Upon his death, Ross bequeathed money and property to JoAnn and Colin worth approximately $250,000 in total value. The inheritance included more than five thousand acres of land complete with equipment and populated with cattle. JoAnn and Colin were for the first time financially stable, although most of their wealth was tied up in property. However, Rosss death in many ways marked a new beginning for the couple.

Hope seemed to spring eternal for the Thatchers, especially with the birth of their third child in January 1974. The family once again happily welcomed the new addition, this time a girl who they named Stephanie Ann. She would be the couples last child. It appeared to those who knew the family that the Thatchers had luck on their side. They seemed to be a well-adjusted, well-educated and wealthy family with a bright future. However, in the Thatchers case, looks would later prove to be deceiving.

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