Longtime valley resident Thomas Ludlow Chrystie II died Dec. 24 in Charleston, S.C. His family provided the following.
Tom was born May 24, 1933, in New York City to Thomas Witter and Helen Duell Chrystie. He graduated cum laude from the Taft School in 1951, received a Bachelor of Arts, Phi Beta Kappa, from Columbia University in 1955 and Master of Business Administration with membership in Beta Gamma Sigma from New York University in 1960. He served in the Air Force from 1956 to 1958 as a management analysis officer. Tom married Eliza Silliman Balis on June 9, 1955.
Tom had a distinguished 33-year career with Merrill Lynch from 1955 to 1988, serving in various investment banking and management capacities including heading Merrill Lynch’s investment banking, capital markets and merchant banking activities. After Merrill Lynch went public, Tom served as its first chief financial officer with responsibility for planning and development.
A cousin’s ranch near Sheridan had fostered a lifelong connection to Wyoming. After his retirement in 1988, Tom and Eliza moved to Jackson Hole as full-time residents. There he became involved as general partner and principal investor in the Wort Hotel and Spring Creek Ranch, a 1,000-acre mixed-use resort. The development includes Amangani, a 40-room hotel that is Amanresorts’ first North American property, and Spring Creek Ranch, a year-round luxury lodging property with restaurant and riding facilities. As a result of these developments, more than 750 acres of the East Gros Ventre Butte and Spring Gulch are in permanent open space.
Tom served as trustee to Columbia University, New York Presbyterian Hospital and Middleton Place Foundation in Charleston. He served on the boards of the Taft School, the American Health Foundation, Philips Industries, Titanium Industries, LSW Inc., Eeonyx Corporation and the Jackson State Bank and Trust. Tom was a founding trustee of the National Museum of Wildlife Art.
Tom’s ability to always keep the big picture in mind was one of his hallmarks. He believed that a deal was only right when it boosted all concerned. On his office wall was a John Clymer painting emblematic of this. “The Meeting” depicts ranch owner Charles Goodnight negotiating with Chief Quanah Parker and his Comanche tribe. They had been raiding Goodnight’s cattle to survive the brutal winter of 1878. The treaty they made allowed the Comanche to take two animals a day until they found buffalo. Goodnight and Chief Quanah remained friends for life. The painting is now in the collection of the wildlife museum.
Tom was an avid fly-fisherman who loved the beauty of Jackson Hole. Whether on a raft, skis, a horse or snowshoes, Tom enjoyed sharing the outdoors with family and friends. Happy to give up the trains and subways of New York City, he delighted in showing guests his 50-yard “commute” to his log cabin office. He was also known to trap them at the backgammon table for hours.
Tom and Eliza moved from their home in Wilson to Charleston in 2011. He died there peacefully on Christmas Eve. He is survived by his wife, Eliza, their children Alice C. (Peter) Wyman, Helen C. (Walter) Hipp, Adden B. Chrystie, James M. Chrystie and grandchildren Eliza K. Chadwick, Raymond G. Chadwick, Peter H. Wyman, Henry T. Wyman and John L. Wyman. He was preceded in death by son Thomas W. Chrystie.
There will be a private memorial service in Charleston. In lieu of flowers, donations in Chrystie’s memory may be directed to the National Museum of Wildlife Art or the Jackson Hole Land Trust.