Finish Line Columnist Robert Thomas Passes
Long-term Walls & Ceilings EIFS columnist Robert G. Thomas passed on July 27 in Florida. Thomas was the magazine’s author of The Finish Line since the 1990s. Since the early ’80s, he began his career working with EIFS, a subject he devoted himself to throughout the rest of his life. He was 61 years old.
His first job in the EIFS industry was working for Dryvit, where he moved to Rhode Island and began his life-long professional interest in the EIFS industry. While there, he was manager of technical services, which took him around the world. In 1984, he moved to Seattle to open Dryvit’s West Coast office, and led a business development team whose mission was to open markets in Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific.
In 1990, while still in Seattle, he launched and ran his own EIFS consulting company, which he operated for more than two decades. He provided product design services for windows, walls, and roofing systems and published several technical manuals and a software-based water vapor calculation utility. His industry associates can attest to the fact that Thomas could speak at length about technical codes, coatings, resins, adhesives, walls and more.
For more than 15 years, he chaired the ASTM’s Technical Committee on EIFS, to provide advice and expertise on industry standards.
In 2000, Rob moved to Amelia Island, Fla., to be near the beach and focus on his writing, his second love next to architecture, while continuing to run his consulting business.
“Bob [editor’s note: many people referred to him as “Bob”] Thomas was a great supporter for EIFS, and a good friend for many years,” said the Northwest Wall and Ceiling Bureau’s former Executive Director Bob Drury, who frequently knew and worked with Thomas in Seattle. He was the author of several cookbooks, as well as the creator of a mini-travel guide and website for Amelia Island. He was also writing fiction, with a book (well-near) completed.
“I always found Bob to be an engaging, open person who loved to talk about EIFS and who was very good at explaining some of the more complicated aspects of the material in simple terms,” said Michael Gardner, executive director of the Gypsum Association and author of the magazine’s All Things Gypsum. “His column was fun and easy to read and I always learned something from it and from him.”
Thomas is survived by cousins, friends, colleagues and an enormous body of work.
Walls & Ceilings wishes to thank Christine Strock, Maria Kelly and Douglas Harrigan.