Obituary: Jill Shipstad Thomas |

Obituary: Jill Shipstad Thomas

May 27, 1944 – Sep. 19, 2013

The world of professional skating lost one of its biggest stars on September 19 when Jill Shipstad Thomas passed away.

Jill was born on May 27, 1944 in San Mateo, California, to skating legends Roy Shipstad and Bess Ehrhardt. At age 17 she joined the ice show her father had cofounded, “Shipstad and Johnson’s Ice Follies.” She was a principal performer in those productions as well as in “Holiday on Ice” and in TV and theatrical productions for over 20 years.

When her performing career was over she became a highly respected coach and choreographer, working with many national, world and Olympic competitors. At the time of her death, she was still choreographing for “Disney on Ice” with which she had been associated for over 30 years.

Jill married fellow skater Bill Thomas in 1976 and in 1980 they built a home in Incline Village, subsequently moving to Minden in 1996. She is survived by her husband, Bill; sisters, Joy, Janet, and Julie of northern California, and many cousins throughout the country.

As per Jill’s request, there will be no service. She wants everyone to remember her as she was the last time they saw her, invariably happy and full of life.

In lieu of flowers, Jill would appreciate a contribution to any animal rescue organization. Jill loved her animals.


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