O.D. Hopkins

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O.D. Hopkins
Born 1926
Beijing, China
Died April 3, 2010 (2010-04-04) (aged 83)
Known for Hopkins Rides
Spouse(s) Hope Smith

O.D. Hopkins (b.1926 in Beijing, China – d. April 3, 2010)[1] was the founder of the amusement ride manufacturing firm O.D. Hopkins Associates Inc. Hopkins' family moved from Beijing to New Jersey when he was two years old. He started working as a farmer then got into logging, road and bridge contracting, then pre-poured concrete].[1] He married his wife, Rosamond Coffin, in 1950, and together they had three children: Miriam, Laurie and Nate. Rosamind died unexpectedly in 1963, and a year later he married Jane Ashley. That marriage lasted until 1973. In 1978 he married Hope Smith, and the two remained together until his death.[2]

Hopkins incorporated Hopkins Engineering in 1962 and from 1962 to 1964 operated as a general contractor installing ski lifts for J.A. Roebling & Sons of Trenton, New Jersey.[3] In 1965 Hopkins purchased the ski lift division and all the related assets from Roebling & Sons.[3] Business picked up as a competitor, Universal Design Ltd., discontinued manufacturing Sky Rides, and their customers turned to Hopkins Engineering for parts. Hopkins' first customer in the amusement business was Charles Wood of Storytown USA who owned a Universal Design ski lift and contracted Hopkins to provide parts and maintenance. In 1969 Hopkins sold his first Sky Glider chairlift to Paragon Park in Massachusetts.[3] In 1971 Hopkins changed the name of his company to O.D. Hopkins Associates Inc.

O.D. Hopkins enjoyed a long business relationship and personal friendship with Paul Roads of Wonderland Park (Texas).[1] That park currently operates eight Hopkins rides, many of them prototypes, including Hopkins' first flume, first Sky Rider (monorail), first Rapids Ride, and first Roller Coaster.[1]

Hopkins retired in 1991 and took up boat building as a hobby. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Hope, his three children, Hope's children Holly and Brad, and his 11 grandchildren.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Seifert, Jeffrey (June 2010), "O.D. Hopkins (1926 - 2010)", ACE News, 32 (5): 3 
  2. ^ a b Monitor Staff, O.D. Hopkins, Concord Monitor, retrieved 22 Dec 2011 
  3. ^ a b c Slade, Gary (November 1989), "O.D. Hopkins Enjoys Past, Anticipates Bright Future", Inside Track: 2–3