Obituary, Tom Wolf

Tom Wolf

Tom Wolf

One of the true legends of the area’s night life, Tom Wolf, passed on this past week.

A party in celebration of his life will be 5:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Saturday, September 6 at Keegan Ales in Kingston.

Wolf (or Wolfie), as he’s been known since his days on Onteora’s basketball court, was front and center at most of Woodstock’s iconic entertainment landmarks and gathering places starting in the early 70’s and including the Corner Cupboard, Joyous Lake, the Pinecrest Lodge, the Cafe Espresso, the Tinker St. Cafe, the Bearsville Theatre, the Woodstock Golf Club and the Reservoir Inn.


Although Tom seemed almost to be a Woodstock institution himself, he was born in the Bronx in 1954. By his own special reckoning, Tommy became a “country boy” in 1964 since he had lived half his life in Woodstock by then. His grandfather taught him to fish in the Little Beaverkill which was in Tommy’s backyard in the mountains of Wittenberg on land that would become Wilson State Park. More than four decades later, Tom married the love of his life, Joann, there in the park, in the most beautifully touching, and simultaneously the most hilarious wedding ceremony ever performed by a bare-legged brewmaster in a knee-length, maroon choir robe, as a couple hundred friends surrounded them in the valley below those mountains, looking out over that same stream.

Family and friends and fishing were the most important things in Tommy’s life. Tommy and Joann grew up together as kids and over the years grew closer together to become a family that included Joann’s son, James. James had the good fortune, as his Aunt Kathy says, to start life as Tom’s godson and to grow up as Tom’s stepson. Tom had the good fortune to see James begin a happy life with Theresa.

Although Tommy’s mom and sister, Jean and Jessie, moved to Colorado in 1973 and ultimately made their separate ways to California, Woodstock always remained “home” in their hearts because that’s where Tommy was. In 2001, Jean moved back to Woodstock to be near Tom and Jo and their family while Jessie and her husband Richard continued to travel back and forth between California and New York, spending several weeks in Woodstock almost every year.

As Tom’s friends have described him, he was a true gentleman; a great story-teller; a fount of humor and wit; a caring, generous person who was loved and respected; and while at work, he was frequently “the calm at the eye of many a late night storm” as one friend put it — a man who could take a bad situation and make it better — as he did during the year that he was living with cancer.

Over the years, Tom and many of his best friends dangled fishing lines off his rowboat on the Ashokan Reservoir. Tom and Joann also floated through several special moonlit nights together there. In recent weeks, when loading the boat in and out of the Ashokan got more difficult, Tommy put a boat in up at the Pepacton where the long drive was offset by the easier launch because he was going to keep fishing no matter what.

As the Manager of Keegan Ales for the past 7 years, Tommy planned many special events.

Brianne Olsson of Kingston, who worked with Tommy at Keegan’s, and called him “a legend in my world” said Wolf taught her quite a bit about the many aspects of the mixologist’s art. “Stay true to yourself, don’t let other people ruin your day, just take a deep breath…tact, selective sarcasm and a go-with-the-flow attitude will make you a happier person,” she said. “His selflessness and humbleness were only second to the big-hearted, caring person he was. I loved seeing the beautiful loving bond he and his beautiful wife Joann shared; it’s a love and respect for each other most only wish for.”

And in the final days of his life, Tommy and Joey Beesmer spent hours sitting on Tom’s front porch making plans for this bash. Many of you may remember Tommy’s unique rendition of taps on the trumpet for “last call” at the Tinker St. Cafe.

Please come join Tommy’s family and friends for one more “last call,” 5:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Saturday, September 6 at Keegan Ales in Kingston.

There are 8 comments

    1. Linda Wolf Meyer

      I am Karen Wolf Nolans sister and I also had never met my cousin, Tom. I am Linda Walerie Wolf Meyer. Walerie was Toms fathers, sisters name. Aunt Wally,is what she was called. It is so sad. Aug 27, 2014

  1. Hugh Murphy

    The most even tempered bar manager kept a level head through any mini – crisis or situation and amazingly never hired bouncers for the busy place it is

  2. gerald berke

    Ah, it is well and good that Tommy made it to the Woodstock Times:this is the place where one’s real life among real people in the community is celebrated.
    He was a remarkably kind, interesting and thoughtful man: there was not a time that I met with him that he was less than that. He brought a lot to this planet, and his passing takes a lot away… he must have known he was loved.

  3. Patricia Wolf Trapani

    I am also Toms cousin, Karen and Linda’s sister. I also never met him, and based on the lovely words written here, it was my loss. It is a tribute to the man that so many have fond memories andi it is a sure sign of a life well lived that he has touched so many lives.

  4. jeremy wilber

    It’s funny, Tom and I worked just about every bar in Woodstock back in the day, but never worked together. To describe him as a gentleman is an understatement; the man radiated decency, fairness and tact. Bars in those days were not the camp fires they are now, but I never saw Tom lose it when the *#@& flew. He was truly a fine man, and my deepest condolences go to his family.

  5. sky montanaro

    very sad to hear of tommy’s passing, he was the best server kind and fair, calm and rational at all his jobs esp. corner cupboard & tinker street / cafe esspresso tommy kenny val & sandy oh what great times… RIP xxx sky

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