November 14, 2013

Indiana Beach owner remembered as passionate businessman

Thomas Spackman dies at 100.

by Mitchell Kirk

---- — MONTICELLO — The longtime owner of Indiana Beach has passed away at the age of 100.

Thomas Spackman, who owned the amusement park from 1945 to 2008, passed away Monday at a Monticello nursing home.

The park was known as Ideal Beach when it was founded by Spackman's father, Earl Spackman, along Lake Monticello in 1926. Thomas Spackman took the helm in 1945, changing the name to Indiana Beach seven years later.

In 2008, Spackman sold the park to Morgan RV Resorts out of New York.

Spackman added several rides and attractions over the more than six decades he ran the park, including a bungee jump that he took the first jump on at the age of 85.

"He wanted to test it and make sure it was safe for everyone else," said Leslie Goss, director of the White County Community Foundation.

Janet Dold, executive director of the Monticello Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, recalled Spackman's dedication as a business owner.

"You would always see him at Indiana Beach," she said. "He would walk the grounds and make sure everything was clean."

Spackman graduated from Shortridge High School in Indianapolis in 1937 and received a business degree from Indiana University in 1937.

He and his wife, Helen, were married for nearly 56 years. She died in 1993.

Funeral services are scheduled for Friday at Monticello Christian Church.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or Follow him: @PharosMAK