Edouard “Buck” Thys
Edouard “Buck” Thys passed away surrounded by his family on January 28, 2016. His last waking moments were spent speeding down the Squaw Valley slopes he loved, on his trusty Atomic SL skis. Buck was born on January 31, 1930 in San Francisco, CA. He grew up in Sacramento with his brother Thierry and sister Diane. Buck attended Fountain Valley School then went on to Stanford, Williams College and then MIT from where he graduated with degrees in Business Administration and Engineering in 1952. During the Korean War he was a lieutenant in the US Air Force, stationed in Texas and Illinois. When the war ended, he opted for immediate release and headed to Europe, spending the winter of 1953-4 in the Alps and forever cementing his lifelong passion for skiing. On a school break in Bermuda, in the lobby of the Elbow Beach Club, he met Nina, the love of his life. The couple married in 1956 and moved to Berkeley, CA where Buck and Thierry had purchased a small metal casting company, Industrial Light Precision Casting.The brothers moved the foundry to San Leandro, expanded it, and renamed it Precision Founders Incorporated (PFI). As president of PFI Buck supervised the growth of PFI to two plants and 400 employees. In 1988 PFI was acquired by Wyman-Gordon Forgings. The two divisions that were PFI continue to be among the two most profitable divisions of the parent company, Precision Cast Parts. Buck and Nina raised four children, packing them into their Chevy station wagon and heading from their home in San Leandro to Squaw Valley every winter weekend. Their shared love for skiing, ski racing and the mountains led them to purchase a home in Squaw Valley in 1978. Lanny Lane’s “Hotel California” with Nina as host and Buck as master of ceremonies, soon became a gathering place for skiers of all kinds, and a recovery ward for ski racers on the mend. After retiring in 1993 Buck moved to Squaw Valley full time to start his next career of masters ski racing. He spent the next part of his life making up for time missed on the slopes, becoming an avid member of the Far West Masters, traveling with Nina to training and racing competitions as well as far flung places around the globe that piqued his endless curiosity. When grandchildren entered the scene Buck actively and enthusiastically passed his passion for skiing to the next generation and the Squaw Valley living room remained a place for great company, spirited conversation and, always, plenty of questions and advice. Buck was predeceased by his brother and best friend Thierry. He is survived by Nina, his sister Diane Prioleau, his daughters Anne, Beatrice Moe and Edith Morgan, his son Barry, and six grandchildren whose exploits he followed with immense pride and interest. A celebration of his life will be held on April 15 at 4 pm at the Olympic Village Inn in Squaw Valley.
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