Obituary: Thomas James Festa
Thomas James Festa
March 23, 1932 – Nov. 14, 2014
Thomas James Festa died peacefully on Nov. 14, 2014, in Colorado, where he resided for the past 27 years, mostly in Silverthorne. He was 82. Tom was born in Dobbs Ferry, New York, on March 23, 1932, to Thomas Festa and Adelina Pardy Festa. He graduated from Jeffersonville High School, Sullivan County, in 1951, earning 16 varsity letters in football, basketball, baseball and track. He was offered a basketball scholarship to New York University but instead joined the Marines and served in the Korean War, rising to the rank of sergeant.
Upon his honorable discharge, Tom joined the New York City Police Department. In 1967 he joined the ski patrol at Hunter Mountain in New York. He turned this passion into a full-time career after he retired from the NYPD and started Fesco Fence so he could ski patrol in the winters and install fences in the summers. From Hunter Mountain, he became ski patrol director at Belleayre Mountain, then Windham Mountain, both in New York. He moved west to Angel Fire Resort in New Mexico as patrol director in 1982. In 1987 Tom joined Keystone Ski Patrol in Keystone, Colorado, as a supervisor and mentor to all who patrolled with him during his 25-year career there. He was known for his unique training methods and dedication to his fellow patrollers and the skiing public. His “Cookshack” was the site of many memorable end-of-year ski patrol parties.
Tom was so dedicated to patrolling that he never wanted to miss a day, as evidenced by his receiving the Cal Ripkin Award for no sick or injury days during the entire 2002-03 ski season. He received numerous awards throughout his career and was among the first to be certified by the National Ski Patrol System, receiving number 35 in 1974. He also was appointed number 7655 by the NSPS in 1992.
Tom loved the outdoors. He joined Black Bear Hunting Club in 1956 and served as president from 1984 through 1994. There he enjoyed hunting, fishing, hiking and snowmobiling in the heart of the Catskill Mountains in New York where he was raised.
Known for his humor, storytelling (often the same ones repeatedly) and big heart, Tom truly loved people and was loved by all who knew him. He is survived by his loving and dedicated wife, Linda Lichtendahl, of Breckenridge; his brother Bob Festa and sister-in-law Rose; son Thomas Festa and daughter Tina Morollo; grandchildren Christine Morollo Guirguis, Stephanie Morollo, Andrew Festa, Carli Festa, Hailie Festa and great-granddaughter Ava Guirguis.
A celebration of Tom’s life will be held in late December. Donations may be made to the Keystone Ski Patrol Fund, P.O. Box 38, K75, Keystone, CO 80435, or Summit Medical Center Health Foundation, P.O. Box 738, Frisco, CO 80443.
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