Colfax theater owner, longtime cameraman dies

The effort to reopen the historic Colfax theater was dealt a blow last week with the passing of Gary Tomsic, a longtime local media fixture, who bought the theater a year ago.

Tomsic was pronounced dead early Friday evening after paramedics found him unresponsive at his Colfax residence. The cause of death has not been determined, said Dennis Watt, chief deputy coroner for Placer County. Tomsic was 64.

Tomsic’s media resume dates back to high school and includes a long stint at KCRA television, but his latest project was renovating the Colfax Theater at 49 Main St. He purchased the 1930s theater in December 2012 for $150,000, according to property records.

“It’s really ready to operate,” said Tomsic’s brother, Gordon Tomsic. He said there were some minor issues to work through but the theater, with a state-of-the-art digital projector, was basically ready.

Gordon Tomsic said the theater purchase came out of nowhere, but was in keeping with his brother’s long career in media.

When the two boys were still at home, Gordon said he recalled his dad buying an 8mm camera so he could make home movies.

“My dad never got to touch that camera. Once my brother got a hold of it, he was creating,” Tomsic said.

Gary Tomsic taught himself to shoot, edit and produce films, his brother said. He parlayed those skills into a job at KCRA in 1968 while still attending junior college, according to Gary Tomsic’s LinkedIn and Internet Move Database profiles.

He left the station in 1975 to travel the world working for Vinnell Corp. During that time, he produced shows aired on Iranian television and traveled from Australia to Syria, according to his bio.

He returned to the United States in 1977 and continued working in film and television. He has several film credits to his name, including as the writer and director of the 2010 television movie “Stagecoach Santa.”

It’s unclear what happens to the theater now. The theater was built in 1939, according to Cinematreasures.org, an online directory of historic theaters.