News Update: Tom “Doc” Poullette ’54
Wautoma names trail after “Doc” Poullette
My name is Tom Meyer and I am a board member of the Central Wisconsin Trout Unlimited Chapter which was founded in Wautoma in 1971. On the evening of Aug. 8, the City of Wautoma passed a resolution to name the trail along Bird Creek the “Thomas W. (Doc) Poullette Trail.”
I thought the paper might want to post a story about the resolution. Most of the council members probably didn’t know Doc Poullette because he left Wautoma in the late 1990’s.
Trout unlimited, along with the Wisconsin DNR has an ongoing project to restore Bird Creek from Hwy 21 to River Road. Invasive plants and trees are being removed, the river is being restored for natural trout habitat and reproduction and a walking trail is being established along the east side of the creek. Native plants and trees will eventually be planted along this section of stream. This project is funded totally by Trout Unlimited and with all of the labor provided by TU volunteers under the direction of the WDNR.
Doc Poullette was born in 1932 and he was raised in Wautoma by his grandparents Emma and Thomas Poullette. His grandfather was the railroad station agent in Wautoma. Doc Poullette graduated from Wautoma High School in 1950 and then attended Ripon College where he earned a bachelor’s degree under the ROTC program.
After that he became a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He was deployed overseas in Europe and after serving his country he returned to Wisconsin and taught Biology and coached Basketball at Elkhorn high school.
In 1958 he attended Marquette dental school and in 1962 started his practice on Main St. in Wautoma. Doc was a beloved dentist and had a successful practice in Wautoma for many years. Upon retirement in the late 90’s he divided his time between Florida and Waupaca. During his time in Wautoma he raised two sons and one of them, George Poullette is a noted heart surgeon in Kenosha.
Doc was very active in the Boy Scouts, the Rotary Club in Wautoma, Ducks Unlimited and the American Legion. He was a founding member of the Central Wisconsin Chapter of Trout Unlimited which had its first meeting at Hope Lutheran Church in March of 1971. Green Bay Packer defensive back Doug Hart was the keynote speaker at that first meeting. Doc was an active member in TU until his death in May of 2019.
Wisconsin TU members will remember him as a respected leader, teacher, mentor and friend. All who knew him loved him for his intelligence, kindness and wonderful sense of humor. He was especially good friends and trout fishing buddies with Judge Jon Wilcox and Dan Harmon III who spoke on his behalf at the meeting Monday night. He will be missed but the trail along Bird Creek will be dedicated in his memory and his legacy and dedication to conservation of our cold water resources will live on forever.