The Thirys: An Ordinary Family

Originally published by Decided Excellence Catholic Media in Green Bay Parish Neighbors

Article by Joan Koehne | Photo by Timothy Mayer Artworks

The Mark and Kim Thiry family lives an ordinary life. Nothing unusual. Nothing fancy.

Mark does property management and is the owner of Handy Daddy, LLC. Kim works as a nurse practitioner at Prevea in Family Practice and Ideal Weigh. The couple has three children, Hannah, 18, Sam, 16, and Eli, 14. They have a 5-pound Yorkie named Jackson. 

“We do not have the perfect marriage, the perfect children, or the perfect family,” Kim said.

The Thirys, who belong to Nativity Parish, are so “ordinary” that they felt unworthy to be featured in Parish Neighbors. So why are you reading about this ordinary family? Because of their extraordinary faith.

“When we were asked to do so, we felt the Holy Spirit calling us to be an example to others,” Kim said.

What looks ordinary on the outside is beautiful and profound on the inside.

“We rely on God every moment of every day to help us grow in His virtues, love each other in the way that He loves us, forgive when we have been hurt, and learn how to be a servant to one another,” Kim said.’

The family thanks God for every blessing, even the little blessings that often go unnoticed.

“Our favorite prayer is about thanking God for everything ‘ordinary’ in our life, being content with the gifts that He has given us and allowing His light to shine through that ordinariness,” Kim said.  

Kim and Mark met in 2000 while participating in a young adult group at Nativity Parish. Kim was planning to join the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity in Manitowoc. Mark was attending Silver Lake College with dreams of being a hospital chaplain. Neither of these vocations panned out; God led them in a different direction. They were married in 2002 at Nativity Parish, where Mark has been a member since 1987.

But a happy marriage isn’t as easy as it looks, and the Thirys struggled.

“God helped us in our unhappy marriage by blessing us with friends who encouraged us to go to a Retrouvaille weekend,” Kim said.

Catholic in origin, Retrouvaille is a marriage program that helps couples restore their marriages. The program helps couples reconnect with each other and rebuild loving relationships by improving communication. Mark and Kim are CORE coordinators for the Green Bay area and Upper Michigan.

They are also actively involved in Nativity parish. Mark and Hannah teach religious education. Hannah, Sam, and Eli are altar servers and volunteer at Camp Tekakwitha. Hannah is involved with the youth group at church and attended CYE (Catholic Youth Expedition) and the Steubenville Youth Conference. Sam and Eli sell Christmas trees at Nativity and enjoy playing soccer. Eli also loves skating. 

The family enjoys camping, hiking, and connecting with friends over homemade pizzas and campfires. They also enjoy attending Lifest, an annual Christian music festival held in Oshkosh. They hosted an exchange student from Spain for a summer and love to

travel as a family to visit friends that live far away. They also remain close to the friends they have made at Nativity.

“We value the relationships that have grown from being a part of the faith community at Nativity, such as finding holy godparents for our children,” Kim said.

The Thirys gained inspiration from Kim’s Grandpa George, who lived to be 99½ and Mark’s Grandma Viola, who lived to age 91.

Both of George’s parents were deaf, and George lost a son at age 9 to leukemia and a daughter at age 18 in a car accident. Viola was 11 when her mother died during childbirth, and Viola was14 when she got married. Besides having seven of her own children, including a 3-year-old who died of pneumonia, Viola took in other children in the poor community where they lived.

“In spite of all their hardships in life, they remained faithful until they passed from this life,” Kim said. It’s just another example of ordinary people living lives of extraordinary faith.