Local icons recognized at police/fire building

T-R PHOTOS BY ROBERT MAHARRY The family of Tommy Thompson. From left to right, son Rick Thompson, daughter Lori Wildman, wife Evelyn Thompson, granddaughter Megan Wildman and grandson Kyle Wildman.

On Wednesday, two extraordinary individuals were honored during a public recognition ceremony at the Marshalltown Police and Fire building. Thomas “Tommy” Thompson and Robert “Bob” Schubert were acknowledged for their extensive involvement within the community and their unwavering support for the building of the new combined police and fire facility.

“Both of those guys are community icons, and they represented the best of Marshalltown, easily,” Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper said.

Schubert was a city councilman who eventually earned the nickname “Doctor No” for his frequent dissenting votes on proposed new hires. Despite this habit, he was equally well known for finding the person he voted against after the council meeting was over, introducing himself and making them feel welcome. He also had a great love for public safety, and he actually played a key role in launching the concept of reserve policing as it is known in Iowa today.

“We still have a reserve police force here that we would not have if it were not for Bob Schubert and a couple of other people,” Tupper said.

Aside from the things Schubert did for the police and fire departments, he was a family man who dressed up as Santa for children at parties and family events.

The family of Bob Schubert. From left to right, daughter Bonnie Engelkes, wife Ruth Schubert and daughter Cindy Collins. Not pictured are his sons, Robert Schubert Jr. and the late Kelly Schubert.

“We had an annual party in our home, we invited a hundred families over with kids, and we always needed a Santa. Bob was our Santa,” Mayor Joel Greer said.

Schubert and Thompson were pioneers in ensuring the construction of the new fire and police facility, and without them, according to each of the speakers, it would not have been possible. Marshalltown Fire Chief David Rierson sang the new building’s praises in his tribute to Schubert and Thompson.

“It is so nice to work out of a facility that’s designed to do what you need it to do instead of trying to tailor your operations to the building you’re in,” Rierson said.

Thompson, who was also recognized on Wednesday, was a three-term mayor. After he finished serving his original two terms, the unexpected death of his successor called him back to his former post.

On top of his elected title, Thompson was also the plant manager at Lennox Industries. Thompson was known for his outstanding service to Marshalltown as well as his great love for the community.

“Mayor Thompson loved Marshalltown, and Mayor Thompson was here for Marshalltown. (He) stood up for Marshalltown during many different challenges for our community,” Tupper said.

While Rierson didn’t know Mayor Thompson as well, he recalled that Thompson always had questions for Rierson and wanted to know what was going on in the fire department.

“I felt supported even though I didn’t know him that well,” Rierson said.

The theme throughout the ceremony was how much Schubert and Thompson cared for the community as a whole and how much they supported the police and fire departments.

Cindy Collins, Schubert’s daughter, said one of her favorite memories of her dad was his famous Santa Claus costume. What Thompson’s granddaughter, Megan Wildman, remembers the most about her grandfather weren’t just moments of leadership in Marshalltown, but his commitment as a family man.

“He was at every single one of our sporting events,” Wildman said.

In the lobby of the police/fire building, two plaques dedicated to Schubert and Thompson hang proudly, reminding those who pass by what they meant to the community.


Contact Susanna Meyer at 641-753-6611 or



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