David Thombs G’68

David Thombs G’68, who taught mathematics in Maine for 40 years, died on October 17, 2009, in Portland, Maine.

He was born on November 8, 1938, in Greenville, Maine, and was class valedictorian at Greenville High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Maine at Orono in 1961 and a master’s degree in mathematics from Bowdoin in 1967 on a grant from the National Science Foundation. He began teaching in 1961 at Stearns High School in Millinocket, followed by positions at Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft and Unity College, before joining the faculty of Thomas College in Waterville in 1970. He served in a variety of administrative and academic positions at Thomas, including chairman of both the mathematics and the liberal arts departments and president of the faculty senate. He was coach of the college golf team for 18 years, and was inducted into the Thomas College Sports Hall of Fame in 2000. He retired in 2001. His daughters are professional musicians in part inspired by his love of classical music. In return, their interest in the violin inspired him pursue a second career as a luthier. He completed a five- year program of violin making and repair at the University of New Hampshire run by the Mittenwald (Germany) School of Violin Making. After earning “master luthier status,” he opened a small stringed instrument repair workshop in his home, and continued serving Maine musicians until his death. A master Mason, he was a member of Masonic Lodge No. 33 in Waterville and he attained the highest level of membership in that order. He was an avid hiker, and was most proud of his hikes on the Appalachian Trail over several years. At the time of his death, he was looking forward to completing the last portion of the trail. He is survived by his wife of 26 years, Elayne Thombs; two daughters, Mary Thombs ’85 and Margaret Cole; two brothers, Marshall Thombs and Richard Thombs; two stepdaughters, Cynthia Bigelow and Susan vanMaanen; a stepson, Michael Nagem; five grandchildren; and his former wife of 20 years, Rosemary Cousins-Thombs.