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Obituary: William Thomas Kinkade III

Prolific American painter, who died in Monte Sereno on April 6, is remembered for building the Thomas Kinkade brand, which has generated more than $4 billion in sales.

  • Deceased's name: William Thomas Kinkade III
  • Age: 54
  • Date: April 6, 2012

The service was held under a majestic canopy of towering redwood trees overlooking a serene lake at Nestldown, Los Gatos, California. 

Remembrances of Thom were given by wife Nanette Kinkade, daughters Merritt, Chandler, Winsor, Evie Kinkade, brother Patrick Kinkade, sister Kate Johnson, sister-in-law Suzanne Moore, and long time family friends and former partners, Ken and Linda Raasch.

Thom’s close friends and family gathered to remember a life that was as colorful as it was meaningful. Blue skies and full sunshine provided comforting beauty in a time of sadness.

The spreading lawns, surrounded by hundreds of blooming tulips and sunlit trees, made those in attendance imagine they were part of a Thomas Kinkade painting. 

Guests dined on some of Thom’s favorite foods and listened to some of his favorite music - all selections chosen by Thom’s daughters to honor their father. 

A family photo video played in a barn-like setting and on display was the painting last seen on Thom’s easel.

Lemonade was served along side a child-sized cottage—constructed years ago after the owners of Nestldown were inspired by one of Thom’s earlier paintings, Merritt’s Cottage.

Truly, it was a day that even Thom would have wanted to capture on canvas.

He shall be missed immeasurably by so many that loved him.

Thom was buried later that day surrounded by immediate family in Saratoga, California.

William Thomas Kinkade III, was born in Sacramento, California, Jan. 19, 1958, to parents Mary Ann and William Thomas Kinkade, Jr. 

He spent his growing up years in Placerville, California, with his mother, older sister, Kate (Johnson), and brother, Patrick Kinkade. 

Early in his youth, Thom showed artistic talent and was fortunate to find mentors in artists, Charles Bell and Glenn Wessels, who encouraged his talent.

He graduated from El Dorado High School in 1976 and attended University of California, Berkeley, and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, 1976-80.

After college, Thom created background art while working on the film, Fire and Ice, and then began earning a living selling his originals in galleries throughout California.

Thom believed that both the ability and the inspiration to create his paintings had been given to him as a gift. His goal as an artist was to touch people of all faiths and to bring peace and joy into their lives through the images he had created. 

In so doing, it is our belief that his serene and tranquil artwork brought him peace and joy in his life as well.  

He, along with business partner, Ken Raasch, formed Lightpost Publishing in 1989, which pioneered the building of the Thomas Kinkade brand which to date globally has generated more than $4 billion dollars in retail sales.

In 1982, Thom married his childhood sweetheart, Nanette, and together they had four beautiful daughters - Merritt, Chandler, Winsor and Everett. 

Undoubtedly, his most valuable works of art are his children. Family adventures and travels were a priority each year and these precious memories shall happily live on with those who loved him. 

Thom will be greatly missed for his creativity, intelligence, complexity, humor, and his adventuresome nature, but he will be mostly missed in his role of “Dad.”

In lieu of flowers, the Kinkade family asked that donations be given in Thom’s name to World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide. (Account #105429515. http://www.worldvision.org).

Editor's Note: This obituary was submitted to Los Gatos Patch for publishing by close family friend Linda Raasch, a Los Gatos resident and wife of the late painter's former partner, Ken Raasch.

Robert Menkemeller May 05, 2012 at 05:52 PM
In our time of loss, we realize how important family is and it's obvious that Thomas had a cherished family. Mix that with an incredible gift of the ability to deliver beauty to lots of people and you have a blessed life. My condolences to Thomas' family for their loss. There is no question their Father's memory will never leave their minds. May God continue to comfort them in their loss.
Jim May 05, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Is Amy Pinto still "occupying" the Kinkade mansion? If so, why???
Gavin May 05, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Gorilla
Jane Darwin May 05, 2012 at 06:51 PM
I hope he knew how much joy his art gave people and that it will continue to do so long beyond his life.
Mckenna Smith May 05, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Our deepest condolences to the Kinkade family, especially his wife Nanette and their daughters. Our hearts and prayers are w/you during your time of grief.
Brian Hickman May 06, 2012 at 05:20 AM
May the blessing of God's comfort be with the family. His art touched the lives and souls of so many.
Blessed Assurance May 06, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Thank You Thomas for sharing your gift with the world. You were a very special person with a compassionate, kind and loving heart. I will never forget you wiping the tears from my face as I wept when I thought my son was going to die. I will miss that wonderful smile and the kind words but I will never give up that special place you hold in my heart.
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz May 07, 2012 at 05:32 AM
GODS BEST to the Family. GOD will see you through all the tough times. Though it may not look like it. Hang on!
Ethyleen Jones May 08, 2012 at 02:55 PM
I really feel for his family. May God give them comfort.
jesserose123@hotmail.com June 21, 2012 at 07:08 AM
You advocated Merritt hitting a 17 year old, and broke into the kinkade mansion. Thomas could not believe you were the same Mckenna now attacking an innocent womans child. WHY Mckenna, he was broken after Nan left and Mertritt isolated him from the other giirls. Please tell the truth or THOM will haunt you!!

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