Carroll Emerson Thomas Bio
Carroll Emerson Thomas was the oldest active painter who also owned a gallery.
Born April 29, 1910 in Clarinda, Iowa to parents James Fred Thomas (J. Fred) and Gertrude Hunt Thomas (Trudie). His father was in the advertising business and his mom a housewife. Carroll was the oldest child and had three younger siblings Valera, Wendell and Ruth. All of these people have passed on.
At 9 years-of-age he moved to Manitou Springs, Colorado, a life changing event that shaped his artistic future. Living in the stately Craftwood house in Manitou Springs with a view of Pike’s Peak inspired Carroll for a life time. He painted his first landscape there and later after high school attended the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts, a boxcar ride away.
His father J. Fred went from rags to riches, twice! He went from poor to a wealthy advertising executive, lost everything in the Depression (including the 3-story office building for his advertising firm and the Craftwood house) and then worked as a water boy. He later became a Colorado State Representative for 21 years.
During the Depression Carroll moved to California and lived off the land in one of the wildest places in California, the Trinity Alps. He was half owner of the Gold Coin Club in Mariposa, California. In the 40s Carroll bought a sign company he named Thomas Swan Sign. It remains in the family in the Bay area today.
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