In a career spanning eight decades, Tom Tubbs worked his way up from teller to bank president but never gave up one of his favorite roles, delivering the mail.
Tubbs, who retired in 2016 as chairman of the Bank of Sun Prairie, died Sunday morning, according to the bank. He was 88.
When he was just 8 years old, Tubbs began working as a teller at the Bank of Verona, where his father worked for 62 years.
Tubbs attended UW-Madison and Lawrence College, served three years in the Army and worked as a state banking examiner before joining the Bank of Sun Prairie in 1957.
He took over as president in 1972 and served in that role until 2006. During that time, the bank’s assets grew from $30 million to $252 million.
When Tubbs joined the bank, Sun Prairie had fewer than 4,000 residents. When he retired, the population was nearly 33,000.
“When you think about what Sun Prairie was in 1957 and what it is now, I’m hard-pressed to think there’s a more influential person,” said current bank president Jimmy Kauffman. “Monday and Tuesday” — when funeral and burial services are scheduled — “are going to be very hard days for our community.”
Despite his status as a banking icon, Tubbs relished greeting customers in the lobby and each day would collect, sort and distribute the mail to employees.
“It was a great way for him to continue to interact with the staff,” Kauffman said. “It wasn’t just dropping off the mail.”
Even after stepping down as president, Kauffman said Tubbs continued showing up for work — seven days a week.
“Tom never really grasped the whole banker’s hours thing,” Kauffman said. “He loved the bank and poured his heart and soul into it.“