Obituary: Thomas Catron III, One of Santa Fe Opera’s Founders, Dies at 98

By Francisco Salazar

Santa Fe attorney Thomas Catron III has died at the age of 98.

Catron, who practiced law for 70 years, died on May 1 from pneumonia at his home in Santa Fe.

Born on Feb. 3, 1922 in Santa Fe, Catron attended New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell and later went to Stanford University. His Bacherlor’s degree was interrupted when he joined the U.S. Army in 1942. He went on to serve as both as a war correspondent and field artillery unit in Italy during Wolrd War II.

During his time Italy, Catron was introduced to opera and fell in love with the art form. In 1951 he returned to his home town and became a founding director of the Santa Fe Opera in 1956.

He would go on to serve as the president of the board and established the Santa Fe Opera Foundation in 1976.

Outside of his work with the Santa Fe Opera he also helped found the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, and held leadership positions with local arts and historical groups such as the United Fund, Boy Scouts, Historical Society of Santa Fe, Rio Grande Symphony, Santa Fe County Bar Association.

He also held leadership positions in local chapters of the Boy Scouts of America. He was also the founder of the locally oriented Capital Bank.

In the 1980s, he was named one of Santa Fe’s Living Treasures and continued to practice law full time until he retired in 2018.

He is survived by his wife and two children as well as four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.