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Shidoni Foundry co-founder Tommy Hicks has died


Shidoni Foundry co-founder Tommy Hicks explains the casting process for a sculpture in 2003. (Josh Stephenson/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE – Tommy Hicks, a sculptor and bronze caster known for operating Shidoni Foundry and Galleries in Tesuque for many years, died peacefully in his sleep early Sunday morning, according to family members. He was 91.

Hicks’ daughter, Bobbi Mason, said her father died from natural causes at his home. He kept living there even after the foundry closed in 2017. A bronze gallery, art gallery and sculpture garden are still in place at the more than 80-acre property that also once served as an egg ranch.

Mason said her father didn’t want to leave the property after the foundry closed.

“He loved Shidoni more than life,” she said. “Lots of sculptors got their start at Shidoni, thanks to my Dad’s vision. He was one of a kind.”

Among the artists that utilized the facility were Glenna Goodacre, Allan Houser, Craig Lehmann and Bill Barrett, the latter eventually marrying Hicks’ other daughter, Debora.

Hicks also had two sons, Kern and Scott. He had eight grandchildren.

Hicks met his wife, Dorothy, in high school in Amarillo.

He dropped out of school and joined the Navy during World War II and also served during the Korean War.

In between wars, he and Dorothy were married in Amarillo. They didn’t move to New Mexico until 1971.

Soon thereafter, Hicks helped start the foundry with Gil Beach. They built a live-work artist community on the property next to the Tesuque River. At one time in the early 1970s, close to 30 artists lived there.

Dorothy Hicks also worked at the site until her death in 2004 at age 76.

Hicks took an interest in sailing, being taught how to sail by his friend Sue Casey, Mason said.

“He loved to sail his sailboat at Heron Lake,” she said.

Hicks and his wife were also active in the Tesuque Volunteer Fire Department.

Mason said the family plans to hold a memorial service at Shidoni on May 12, which would have been her father’s 92nd birthday.