Karl C. Thomas, who retired in 1991 as a chief information officer at American Type Culture Collection, a Rockville-based nonprofit biological research center, died Dec. 29 at Gilchrist hospice in Columbia. He was 81.

He had Alzheimer’s disease, said his wife, Holly Thomas.

Mr. Thomas, a Columbia resident, worked in information technology for 35 years. In the early 1970s, he was a director of information systems at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. He moved to Washington in 1974 and became executive director of computing services at Catholic University. He joined the American Type Culture Collection in 1989.

Karl Compton Thomas was a native of Lancaster, Pa., and a 1953 Penn State graduate.

He was a founding board member of the Candlelight Concert Society in Columbia and received an outstanding arts supporter award from the Howard County Arts Council in 2007.

Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Holly Hildebrand Thomas of Columbia; four children, Susan Thomas of Silver Spring, Karen Thomas of Tokyo, Scott Thomas of State College, Pa., and Erik Thomas of Bellingham, Wash.; a brother; and seven grandchildren.

— Megan McDonough