Tom DuBuque's Facebook photo captures the Tom we knew!


Tom DuBuque's Facebook photo captures the Tom we knew!

We have received the very sad news that our long-time member, former President, gregarious Conclave planner and bus captain and dedicated HQ volunteer Dr. Thomas DuBuque, DDS, was killed yesterday in a car crash in South Africa.  Apparently he was driving in the mountains, it was snowing and a car skidded into his. Tom was a world traveler  who increased his trips after retiring from his dental practice about 2 years ago. This was his second visit to South Africa. He was born, raised, practiced dentistry and still lived in the family home in Wauwatosa, WI, a suburb of Milwaukee. He was also house manager for the Pabst Theatre, Milwaukee, where a memorial service will be held at a date to be set.

The THS family is devastated by this news. How sad that we will no longer hear his booming voice, see the twinkle in his eye and the big smile on his face, and enjoy the company of a warm, generous, caring and loving man. (RS)

 R.I.P., Tom !


  1. Van Summerill

    This is devastating news.
    I am shocked and dismayed that someone I have known and cherished for decades through our THS association is gone… and in such a tragic way

  2. John Faust

    This is so sad to hear. He’s one of those people who you think will be around for ever. He’s hosted many memorable events and he was a delightful dinner companion. This is truly bad news for all of us.
    “May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest …”

  3. I cannot understand a world without Dr. Tom. He will be missed by many but certainly never forgotten. We have lost a dear friend and a truly good man. Bon voyage, my friend.

  4. mark wretschko

    I an so saddened with Tom’s loss. he truly was a voice in the world of historical theatres. I feel honored to have known Tom. What a great person!

  5. David Peredia

    This is so shocking so sudden. I’m glad I spent some time with him when he visited Washington, DC this past May, and the Michigan conclave.
    We love you and miss you Tom.

  6. Cindy LaRoe (Proctors, Schenectady)

    This makes me so sad. He was a good man, with a good heart and a hearty soul. He will be so deeply missed!

  7. Brian Heller

    Words fail. This is so very sad for all of us who are crazy about old theatres, and for me personally, who knew Tom but a little. Yet, to have known him a little is a treasure, as Tom was one of the most charming, knowledgeable, kind, helpful, and witty souls in this little universe.

  8. Gary Parks

    Said–not facetiously–but with all the love and appreciation I can muster, “Back to the Busses Everybody!!!” I’m going to miss that.
    Rest well, Tom. And Thank You for all you have done for this organization that has blessed my life so much.

  9. wayne zimmerman

    Quite simply, a tremendous loss to THS and to those who met Tom through the years.
    I always enjoyed his company and have many fond memories about Tom’s uncanny ability to find something tasty to eat, in even the littlest towns that THS visited.
    In particular, the apple fritters he was munching as he walked (waddled perhaps) by those of us who were seated across from the Alameda Theatre, waiting for the manager to arrive so we could tour the place.
    Needless to say, the bakery shop around the corner was inundated by THS members seeking apple fritters and other goodies. By the way, I got one of the last apple fritters that day.
    Yum, Yum, Yum! Wouldn’t not have known about them except for Tom.
    Thanks Tom! May there be many apple fritters in Heaven.

    Wayne Zimmerman

  10. Talk about dedication, drive, and energy. Tom could really take the reins and get it done, and from what I can see, he made an enormous difference wherever he directed his energies. His absence will really be felt, not least of which on the next conclave. Truly a larger than life guy, a force of nature, and someone who savored his time here. Godspeed, Tom.

  11. Michael Hauser

    Like many of you, I still have a heavy heart today regarding this tragic news. Tom was one of the most caring individuals I have known. So willing to share his knowledge, time and talents with others. I will never forget how welcoming he was the first time I visited the THS HQ back in the late 1980s. He was incredibly supportive of our team for the 1995 Detroit conclave. I also do not know too many folks who could pack in as much as Tom could in a single day starting out with reading his beloved NY Times, checking e-mail and voice mail, tending to work, seeing 3 or 4 shows, enjoying a nice dinner (steak, of course!) and still finding the time to pick up a visitor at the airport! THS, the theatre community and various non-profit organizations will definitely miss Tom.

  12. Indeed! Tom, for Chris and I, was the face and sound of a THS Conclave! Always full of optimism and interesting news (gossip?) and a truly a lovable, warm and friendly person. Tom, of course, never needed a microphone; his characteristic voice (kinura- if you know theatre organs) had become his trademark which we all adored. I remember a conclave to Milwaukee some years ago, where we had a long bus ride from somewhere, back to the hotel.
    After nearly three hours in the bus and lots of traffic, it was getting a bit dicey. What did Tom do? He ad a full bar on board and everybody had drinks and suddenly the antsy feelings were gone. Tom, the affable bartender, was running up and down the bus isle making sure everyones “libation” was amply full.
    His passing hasn’t even began to sink in yet, so all Chis and I can say is: Rest in peace, dear friend.

    Robert Chaney
    Chris Carlo

  13. Such a tragedy and a terrible loss to the THS family. Somehow I know he’s organizing the 2012 Conclave in Heaven-visiting the NY Roxy, San Fran Fox, Chicago Paradise, and the like. He’ll undoubtedly be shouting “OK Folks, back to the bus” to the THS family that predesceased him.

  14. Can you imagine the warm and raucous welcome that he received from the THS-ers who have gone before him?! I envision a rowdy tour bus, trundling past those departed theaters that you mention – lots of photos being snapped and shouts of laughter – and filled with the likes of Steve Levin, Barry Took, Joe DuciBella, Grant Meyer, Bill Benedict and others whose names escape me at the moment. At least we know THAT bus will never be late to its next destination.

  15. John Michalski

    Tom was my oldest and dearest friend. We have known each other since High School. I have had the great pleasure of appearing on stage with him, back in the day. Think, Dr. Chausable in The Imortance of Being Earnest, “The metaphor was drawn from bees.” He determined a career on stage was not for him and so he indulged his love of theatre in other ways. I have continued to persue a career “In light”. Our last meeting was early July, in Williamsburg VA. He came to see the opening night of Comedy of Errors produced by the Virginia Shakespeare Festival. I had no idea how much I love him. – John Michalski

  16. Dr. Jerry Feldman

    Tom was a fellow dentist who had a tremendous love of theater. I believe he was House Manager at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee for over 40 years. I knew him when I ushered there and saw him as the Commander in Chief! He was energetic, joyful and so competent…he could remedy any seating problem in short order. He was in many ways larger than life. He will be missed.
    Jerry Feldman, DDS

  17. Joyce Thompson

    Tom was also an avid sweepstaker, and the entire club waited for him to announce what he had won since the last meeting!!! He brought much humor to the meetings, especially after announcing he had won a years supply of tampons–of all things!!! His presence will remain even though his physical being will not be there. He will truly be missed!!!

  18. These tributes are uplifting in a very heartbreaking time. THS is planning a tribute in an upcoming issue of Marquee and we hope to use many of these remarks in our magazine. Please email me personally if you would rather NOT have your thoughts included. Everyone at THS shares your grief in the loss of a great friend.

  19. Wayne R. Lueders

    Tom was one of my best friends who I have known since middle school. I had the privliege of being his friend and attorney. When I received a call from the US Consulate on Tuesday telling me of his death, I was needless to say, shocked. The only consulation I could feel is that he passed away quickly doing what he loved, traveling and driving. He was about 4 hours away from Johnnisburg, heading into a mountain region where snow had fallen, which the drivers there are not used to. A paramedic also driving alone had responded to another accident and was driving back when the person lost control of the vehicle and struck Tom’s car. Tom died on the way to the hospital.

    Tom loved the theatre and to travel. He has driven in many places I never would, from London to Asia to Argentina (where he drove by himself west as far as he could go into the mountains until he had to stop at the border to Chile. He said he was mostly on miles of dirt roads toward the end, and on the way back driving along the edge of cliffs he even got a flat tire. He saw only about one car ever two hours or so. I told him he was crazy but he enjoyed the travel.

    Tom would want me to tell everyone that his collection of theatre books, music, programs etc have been donated to the Theatre Historical Society of America.

    A memorial service at the Pabst Theatre will be held in several weeks at a yet to be determined date.

    My wife and I will miss a very good friend and person.

    Wayne Lueders

  20. Howard B Haas

    It has been a real shock reading of this untimely passing. Tom was an integral part of THSA, a leader who gave his all.

  21. Barbara Hummel Westphal

    Tom was one of my dearest friends in high school. In fact, it was due to Tom that my love of theater began and because of that interest, I’ve been a volunteer usher at our performing arts center in Charlotte for over 15 years. (Who can ever forget his role in the play “Harvey” at Wauwatosa East?) I deeply regret this loss for the people he loved and to the arts community.

  22. John Starkweather

    I’m one of only 4 relatives Tom had left….his eldest cousin. He and his mom lived with my mom (his mothers sister) and dad after Tom’s father was killed when he was about 4, ironically also in a car accident. When I was born they moved to the house he still lived in when he died just two blocks from us.

    He was 6 years older than I was and our interests were very different si we didnt do much together when younger, but as we both got older, we found things we had in common (Mostly Packer/Badger games) and used those to keep in contact over the years. He also was a great help with my mother (93) who lives in Wauwatosa, only a few blocks from his home.

    It is wonderful to get to read tributes from all of you who were so close to him. I know he was an interesting and great guy, but getting to read all these comments from all of you only strengthens that fact! I’ll be printing up all these comments and taking them to my mom (who resists these new fangled computers) so she can enjoy them also.

  23. Dr. Frederick M. Walker

    Oh, but to have just one more dinner with you. There is now a big ache and hole in my heart. Good bye dear friend.

  24. wayne zimmerman

    I’ve just viewed the photos taken at the Pabst Theatre during the memorial for Tom, and read Andy’s “Saying Goodbye to One of Our Own” post.
    The many folks who attended the memorial and Andy’s message attest to the fact that Tom DuBuque was one of the very few, very rare, extremely wonderful people that so infrequently does one have the opportunity to meet.
    Thank you Andy for thoughts well said. You expressed what many of us felt.

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