Good Life

Getting to know Bellefonte’s mayor

Bellefonte Mayor Tom Wilson poses along the waterfront on Aug. 11.
Bellefonte Mayor Tom Wilson poses along the waterfront on Aug. 11. adrey@centredaily.com

Rarely does the mayor get to burst into song.

Those kinds of on-the-job limitations may be exactly why Bellefonte’s Tom Wilson is moonlighting with Ramalama, Centre County’s newest doo-wop group.

Below, Wilson talks more about his family ties, his earliest ambitions and the book he just finished reading.

Q: How long have you lived in Bellefonte?

A: I was born and raised in Bellefonte. I have lived in Bellefonte all of my life other then a few years while serving in the Navy and a few years in Boalsburg. I am at least a fifth-generation native.

Q: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A: Well, as I recall my early elementary teachers commented on my report card that I spent too much time obsessing over Superman, so yes, I guess I wanted to be a superhero — specifically Superman, but I’ll settle for mayor. I do, however, miss the flying part.

Q: Was there a specific moment when you realized that you wanted to be mayor?

A: Yes, it was shortly after learning that I was not able to fly. Actually, I remember my father introducing me to Hugh Quigley, a Bellefonte mayor, back in the ’50s. I remember thinking, “perhaps I’ll be the mayor one day.”

Q: What time does your alarm clock go off in the morning?

A: I don’t use an alarm clock as I almost always automatically wake up between 5:30 and 6:15 a.m. no matter when I go to bed.

Q: What’s one thing that people might be surprised to learn about the town of Bellefonte?

A: That Gov. (James) Beaver was born in Millerstown, and that Bellefonte’s Big Spring produces 15 million gallons of water per day.

Q: What was the last book that you read? Would you recommend it?

A: “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls. A New York Times best-seller, more than 2.7 million copies sold. A Christopher Award and American Library Association award winner. My review: Vividly gripping.

Q: Where’s your favorite spot in Bellefonte?

A: My favorite spot in Bellefonte is my back porch, but as for downtown, I’ll have to go with the obvious choice of Talleyrand Park. We are blessed to have such a beauty on the banks of Spring Creek, and the new waterfront area is going to become a town favorite as well.

Q: If the power went out and you had to eat everything in the fridge before it went bad, what’s the first thing that you would reach for?

A: Ice cream, but only because it would be the first to melt.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do during the summer in Bellefonte?

A: I love to canoe and kayak, and the Spring Creek to Curtin Village run is a good one, but summer can be a challenge with the low water levels. I also enjoy the annual Bellefonte Cruise/Car Show in June and the Arts and Crafts Fair in August.

Q: What inspires you?

A: I’m inspired by joyful people. People who are able to find joy in their day-to-day lives, no matter how difficult or routine they might be. I also find great joy and inspiration in music of every form — doo-wop till you drop.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready

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