Eight Bells: Lindy Thomas

Published on November 15th, 2021

Lindy Thomas

Lindy Thomas (August 21, 1928 – October 6, 2021) was born in Chicago to immigrant parents, Thomas and Emma Thomas. A true Chicagoan, Lindy grew up in Wrigleyville, attended school in Chicago, graduated from Lane Tech, and North Park College. He was a Chicago Cubs and Bears fan.

Always a patriotic American, he enlisted in the U.S. Army during WWII. Although never sent overseas, Lindy had fond memories and great stories to share about his years in the service.

Beginning as a young boy Lindy spent his summers working for his father in the trailer, recreational vehicle, and ultimately the manufactured home business. He bought the family business, Willowy Terrace, a manufactured home community, located in Elk Grove, the business he ran until retirement.

Lindy lived life with gusto and enthusiasm. In addition to his business ventures, he flew his own plane and traveled the world. However, his passion was racing sailboats, and this became the mainstay of his life.

Self-taught, he became one of the best known, most successful competitive sailors in the Midwest and beyond, winning the Tartan 10 Nationals, Heineken Cup, numerous Chicago-Mackinac races and more.

Always with a desire to go faster and better, Lindy formed Thomas Marine. In collaboration with naval architect, Eric Schlageter, the Thomas 35 was designed and 42 were built by Tartan Marine, one of which is owned and raced by the family in San Diego today.

Lindy took his sailing passion to California where he enjoyed the camaraderie and thrill of ocean racing, competing in races locally in San Diego, up and down the coast, to Ensenada, Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, and finally to Hawaii in the 2011 Transpac.

Lindy actively supported organizations that promoted all aspects of sailing. He was a member of the Chicago Yacht Club where he served as a board member, was on the Chicago-Mackinac committee and Club Measurer. He established the Lindy Thomas Trophy which is awarded annually to a winner of a section of the Chicago Race to Mackinac.

Lindy himself raced in 41 Mac races and was a member of the Island Goat Sailing Society. He was inducted into the Lake Michigan Hall of Fame in 2016.

He also belonged to San Diego Yacht Club, the Cortez Racing Association, Ancient Mariners Sailing Society on which he was a board member and chaired several Sea Scout events.

He often said, “I’ve led an extraordinary life – one that few people even dream of. I have no regrets.” He is survived by his wife, Barbara, three children and their spouses, and six grandchildren.

A mentor to many, a legend in the Chicago sailing community, a loss for the extended Goblin/ Condor family – he was a sailing patriarch, and will be missed very much.

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