Meet the Coopers | Owners & Proprietors
Jim and Ibby Cooper came to Thorn Hill from hospitality and education careers in California, Michigan, Texas, and Florida. Their older children—excited to be involved—fit right in with a lifestyle that seems less a business than a constant round of entertaining good friends.
Jim grew up in California where his family was involved in the ski business in the Sierras. He attended the University of Denver in Hotel and Restaurant Management where he met Ibby who was a graduate of Loretta Heights College. Ibby was a special education teacher along the way and set up a special project in Orlando. It was a special school for the homeless right in their own complex.
The oldest daughter, Nelle, is a graduate of Clemson and The University of Massachusetts Pharmaceutical School with a Physician Assistant degree. Nelle lives in Jackson with her husband Kevin and young daughter, Lilly. Nelle was married at the Inn September 5, 2002 to Kevin Killourie, a realtor at Badger Realty in Jackson.
The next daughter in line, Mckaella, returned to the Inn, as our new Pastry Chef, after getting married at the Inn August 30, 2001 to Richard Schmitt, our Head Chef for two years. While here for his wedding, Richard discovered the White Mountains, and the two decided to return to the Inn at Thorn Hill kitchen where Richard’s New American cuisine provided a very unique dining experience. In 2005 they moved to Maui, then moved back to Santa Barbara. Mckaella is employed presently at Lauberge del Mar as Executive Pastry Chef in the San Diego area.
Alexis is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute and is an Event Manager with The Catered Affair, after working as a chef at the Four Seasons Hotel’s five-diamond restaurant in Boston. Alexis married Lance Davis, a Jackson native, on October 11, 2003, in Bordeaux, France. Lance is studying for a masters of wine and serves as a rep for a wine distributor. She is currently a Catering Manager at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge.
Tyler graduated from Pine Ridge School in Vermont, and lives in Jackson and works at the Inn as a line cook. Currently Tyler is employed at The Inn at Thorn Hill as a line cook.
Jon-Paul is enjoying his time at the new high school and enjoys playing and watching baseball, football, skiing, basketball, and lacrosse; he enjoys studying history and geography.
Meet Steven Salmeri | Assistant Innkeeper
Assistant Innkeeper, Steven Salmeri
Originally from the Boston area, Steven is a transplant, now over a decade resident, to the Mount Washington Valley and Jackson, NH. After snagging the diploma from University of New Hampshire at Durham, he did what all good students do – take a vacation and work as little as possible. During this time, career paths changed from teacher of elementary students to outdoor guide and naturalist to snow-school instructor teaching glacier travel for a company in northwestern Canada, while finding time to learn hospitality in a real-time application, which meant serving, bussing, cooking, cleaning and anything else that could be filled in part-time for the paycheck.
Eventually after traveling west to east and back again, he settled into a job as Journalist, freelance for two New England newspapers, to use his BA in writing and journalism, while still supplementing the writer’s income with bartending and serving. Ultimately, what finally kept him in the Mount Washington Valley was a job with the United States Forest Service as a backcountry ranger, which brought him up to the White Mountains, and from there he never left. Steven joined the Inn at Thorn Hill family almost seven years ago, after the devastating fire Columbus Day weekend, hired on as a bartender, and ultimately becoming the dining room manager and Assistant Innkeeper after someone let the cat out of the bag that he’d done this work before, previously at the Stonehurst Manor in North Conway, and the Martha Washington inn in Abingdon, Virginia.
In all, there couldn’t be a better property to represent and work for in the greater White Mountain area, and he feels strongly that the philosophy behind the Inn at Thorn Hill and the experience that guests have staying with us is something that he wanted to be a part of, and to help grow and expand as best he could. When he’s not at the inn, it can be hard to find Steven, unless you’re skiing or hiking someplace you’ve probably never heard of yet. So if you’re looking for advice for your outdoor adventure, better catch him before his days off, and make good notes on your maps!