Todd Tompkins was born February 13‚ 1964‚ in Spokane‚ Washington‚ the second of four children. His parents moved the family to the Seattle area when he was young‚ where he embarked on a lifelong exploration of the outdoors.
A gifted and natural athlete‚ Todd participated in many organized sports throughout his childhood on Mercer Island. His true passion was outdoor activities-downhill skiing‚ sailing‚ water skiing‚ road and mountain biking‚ mountaineering‚ and backpacking. He trained with a close childhood friend for nearly a year to compete in Ironman Canada British Columbia in August 1989. This proved to be one in a slew of outdoor events he participated in for fun‚ sport‚ and the love of competition.
Todd developed a keen interest in flying‚ balancing his love for skiing and mountain biking with the training and time required to get his pilot’s license. After completing an associate’s degree at Big Bend Community College‚ he went to Embry Riddle Oak Harbor‚ attaining a bachelor’s degree in aviation management.
Todd eventually found work as a pilot. He completed an internship at Alaska Airlines‚ worked a number of small cargo plane jobs‚ and did a stint at Lake Mead Air providing scenic tours around the Grand Canyon. Ultimately Todd was drawn to aerial firefighting‚ which appealed to his free spirit and sense of adventure. He landed a job as a co-pilot with ARDCO flying a DC-4‚ an aircraft he respected for its capability in fighting wildland fires. He worked a short period for Butler Aircraft and eventually was hired as a captain at Neptune Aviation Services flying Tanker 11‚ a P2-V. Todd joked that he liked the aerial firefighting gig as it allowed him to ski 80 times a year‚ but those who knew him understood how dedicated he was to the job and the entire wildland firefighting community and those he served.
Along the way‚ Todd met his future wife and was able to carve out the life he always wanted‚ balancing work‚ family‚ and play. True to form‚ he did it seamlessly‚ still pursuing his passions while being present for his family in enviable ways. Todd was hands-on with everything he did‚ and time with his family was no different. His three children had an easy contentment with him‚ as he had a way of making people feel accepted and comfortable in their own skin. The many ‘Todd’ stories that make family‚ friends and coworkers laugh and cry also help them navigate life without him positively.
Todd lived a happy and fulfilling life‚ full of risk and adventure with a foundation of love and stability that he carefully and conscientiously nurtured. In the words of one of his favorite Grateful Dead songs‚ ‘I know you‚ rider‚ gonna miss me when I’m gone.’ And we certainly do.