Joseph B. Thomas IV | AspenTimes.com
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Joseph B. Thomas IV

Aspen, CO ColoradoFormer Aspenite J. B. “Tommy” Thomas died in Maine last week at age 89 with his wife Etel at his side. Tommy lived in Aspen during the ’50s and ’60s, during which time those who were here will remember him as a pilot who landed his plane on mountain tops around the Roaring Fork Valley including Mount Baldy, later to become better known as Snowmass Ski Area, as a result of which, along with Kingsbury “Pitch” Pitcher, Tommy garnered credit as a pioneer of that ski area.Tommy first visited Aspen because his father, a close friend of Walter and Elizabeth Paepcke, suggested he look at it as a potential post-war residence. He ultimately built his home on Red Mountain, worked with Fritz Benedict as an architect and also taught Klaus Obermeyer to fly airplanes.Tommy’s sons, Sim and Tom, lived in Aspen at various times and worked for the Aspen Ski School and the Aspen Valley Ski Club. Tommy’s cousin, Tom Richardson, was president of the Aspen Skiing Company and later of Poma USA. Tommy was born in New York City and attended St. Bernard’s School and Brooks School; received a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering sciences at Harvard in 1940. He was a civilian flight instructor for the Royal Air Force before the U.S. entered World War II; a 1st Lieutenant, flight instructor and ferry pilot for the U.S. Navy during World War II; and received a master’s degree in architecture from Harvard in 1964.He is survived by his wife, Etel Thomas of Blue Hill, Maine; sons, Joseph B. Thomas V, on the road in Oregon, and Simeon F. Thomas of Dillon; daughter, Tamsin M. Thomas of Belfast, Maine; and granddaughter Gabrielle B. Thomas of Dillon.His memorial services will be scheduled for summer 2007 on Mount Desert, Maine. Contributions can be sent to the Rocky Mountain Institute, 1739 Snowmass Creek Road, Snowmass, CO, 81654-9199.


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