History of Gay and Lesbian Life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin - People - Bios

Tom Boll


January 27, 2007
Primary Involvements:

AIDS fundraising
Social organizations





Tom Boll was the first fundraising committee chairperson for the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW). In addition to helping create the "Make A Promise" fundraising dinner for ARCW, he also served for a time on the Lavender Hill party planning committee.

Tom was also active in other community organizations, including the Fest City Singers, and SAGE-Milwaukee.

The following is from Tom's obituary, as published in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

    Boll, Thomas G. Age 59. Died Sat., Jan. 27, 2007 at St. Luke's Hospital after a long battle with kidney disease. Son of the late George and Alice (nee Thomas) Boll. Survived by sisters, Barbara (Mark) Tibbetts, Patricia (the late Phil) Schmidt. Further survived by nieces, nephews, relatives and many friends. Tom was very active in the fight against AIDS, was one of the founders of Milwaukee AIDS Project and Make A Promise Annual Dinner. Former treasurer of Fest City Singer and SAGE. He was co-owner of the T.T. Tulip Floral. Because of his love of flowers, plants and flowers greatly appreciated. A visitation will be held Wed., Jan. 31, 2007 at the Hartson Funeral Home from 5-7PM, followed by service at 7PM.

After Tom Boll's death, a biographical panel was created by the Milwaukee LGBT History Project, and was featured in a display first appearing at PrideFest 2007. The text from that display is as follows:

Many of us will remember Tom Boll as a creator, a founder, and a key figure in the establishment of the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin’s signature fundraiser, the “Make a Promise” dinner, auction and dance. Tom died in late January 2007 after a long battle with kidney disease.

Tom was very active in the fight against AIDS. He was involved as one of the early founders of the Milwaukee AIDS Project (which became the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin) and helped to raise critical funds needed for MAP in the mid 1980’s prior to the arrival of federal funding for AIDS. He served on the first fundraising committee for ARCW and for many years worked on the popular Lavender Hill fundraisers benefiting ARCW. Boll’s fundraising efforts helped allow ARCW to grow into a statewide organization.

“Tom had a heart of gold and always found unique ways to help people in need. When AIDS struck the gay community, he helped to create the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin. Then he joined with his many friends to start the Make a Promise Dinner to raise fund to fight AIDS. Tom touched many people with his kindness and led an exemplary life.” (Doug Nelson, President and CEO, ARCW)

In 1989 Tom started a new business, T.T. Tulip, with a friend and flourished as a florist. He enjoyed the creative aspect of flower arrangements and was always willing to donate flowers to the many events held in the LGBT community. Tom was also involved with Fest City Singers, a gay men’s choral group that was originally created to provide entertainment for the 1985 Gay World Series. For many years, Tom served as the group’s treasurer. Among its many concerts, the Fest City Singers also held benefits for MAP and ARCW. More recently, Tom was involved with SAGE Milwaukee, serving as treasurer for the group in the early 2000s.

    Sources: QLife, vol. 3 issue 3, and Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel


Photo in article announcing founding of the ARCW
December 1985
In Step vol 2 issue 26
(view photo)

1989 Lavender Hill planning committee

1989 Lavender Hill event summary article
(Wisconsin Light, volume 2 no. 17)

Biographical panel created for PrideFest 2007

Credits: information Wisconsin Light articles;
Last updated: May-2012.