Thomas Dittmer

Thomas Dittmer

Sandy Hill and Tom Dittmer both possess considerable wealth. When the couple wed in April 2001, Dittmer insisted they sign a premarital agreement (the “Agreement”).

Hill began her divorce proceedings against Dittmer in 2008 and initiated discovery to assess his wealth. A decision from the Second Appellate District has provided family law practitioners with an outline for language that may pass muster during hearings.

Early Life and Education

Thomas Dittmer began his life on a small Iowa farm before entering the Army as an officer, where his exceptional industry and potential were quickly noticed, propelling him quickly towards becoming White House social aide for Lyndon B. Johnson.

Hill is an active trustee at both the Art Institute of Chicago and Providence-St. Mel’s High School on Chicago’s west side. Together with Dittmer, she established an endowment at both institutions for their Chair of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Prior to her marriage with Dittmer, Hill retained Santa Barbara family law attorney Jamie Raney to draft a premarital agreement. A series of drafts and exchanges ensued while Dittmer’s counsel provided revisions; finally the document was executed three days before the wedding ceremony.

Professional Career

Tom Dittmer made an impactful mark on the futures industry when he founded Refco, one of America’s first world-renowned futures firms. In Talkin’ Big, he recalls how hard work, determination, optimism and some hard-won luck enabled him to achieve his goals.

Thomas Dittmer and Frances were great benefactors in Chicago and Aspen where they owned second homes. Particularly focused on supporting the arts, they donated generously to the Art Institute of Chicago’s Frances and Thomas Dittmer Chair of Modern and Contemporary Art at their institution.

Dittmer also founded Cactus Feeders in 1975 in West Texas to reverse the practice of shipping grain and homegrown beef out-of-state for processing. He is survived by his third wife Sandy Hill who owns Oak Savanna Vineyard in Los Olivos and served as editor-in-chief at Mademoiselle magazine prior to being appointed divisional president at Ohlmeyer Communications a television production company in New York City.

Achievement and Honors

Tom Dittmer, born and raised on a farm in rural Iowa, never imagined that trading futures at the Chicago Board of Trade would open so many doors for him. Through hard work, determination, optimism and sheer hardiness he established Refco–one of the first renowned commodities firms ever. He recounts this incredible story in his memoir Talkin’ Big. Along the way he made millions, socialized with celebrities, climbed his way up the business world while staying true to his Midwest roots.

Frannie Hill was an active trustee at Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) as well as a major benefactor to Providence St. Mel School and Chicago Lyric Opera. They endowed the Frances and Thomas Dittmer Chair of Modern and Contemporary Art for AIC; also, she served on the North Scott Community School District board in Donahue, Iowa as life trustee.

Personal Life

Tom was a loving husband and father. He relished spending time with his family, especially his special needs daughter Aubrey. Additionally, he enjoyed traveling across America taking photographs at airshows, national parks and weddings.

Tom was remembered by friends and co-workers alike as an amusing, charming individual whose sense of humor kept work enjoyable. He held deep affection for his family as well as an enduring sense of loyalty toward all he encountered, both personally and professionally.

Dittmer insisted that Hill sign a premarital agreement prior to their wedding ceremony, which she did. Hill agreed and had her estate planning attorney draft it along with any requested additions or revisions by Dittmer’s counsel. Both parties signed it shortly before signing it as well.

Net Worth

Dittmer is one of the premier commodities brokers worldwide and founded Refco Group as an international commodity brokerage firm.

At the time of his divorce, Dittmer was worth approximately $40 million. Hill asserts that she signed the Agreement freely and it should be invalidated due to misrepresentations of Dittmer’s assets in it. She sought discovery as to their nature and value when she signed it, however the trial court denied her request for extensive discovery.

Hill is an author, the owner of Oak Savanna Vineyard in Los Olivos, California, former Editor-in-Chief of Mademoiselle magazine and divisional President for Ohlmeyer Communications in New York City; also she has worked at Vogue Brides Allure and Code Nast magazines.

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