Home News Farewell to a Beloved Buffalo Broadcaster: Tom Jolls, the Legendary “Commander Tom,” Passes Away at 89

Farewell to a Beloved Buffalo Broadcaster: Tom Jolls, the Legendary “Commander Tom,” Passes Away at 89

Farewell to a Beloved Buffalo Broadcaster: Tom Jolls, the Legendary “Commander Tom,” Passes Away at 89
Image source: buffalonews

Last updated on: June 7, 2023

In a somber moment for the Buffalo community, we bid farewell to one of its most beloved broadcasters, Tom Jolls. Best known as “Commander Tom,” the affable weatherman and children’s show host passed away peacefully on June 7, 2023, at the age of 89. With a career spanning over three decades, Tom Jolls became an integral part of Buffalo’s broadcasting history, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of viewers young and old.

The Rise of a Buffalo Legend

Born on August 16, 1933, in Newfane, New York, Tom Jolls grew up in nearby Lockport. His journey in the world of broadcasting began in the 1950s, when he worked at WUSJ radio station in Lockport. Tom’s charming personality and passion for entertaining soon caught the attention of television executives, leading him to Buffalo’s WBES-TV in 1953.

Commander Tom Takes Flight

Tom Jolls truly captured the hearts of Buffalo’s children with his captivating portrayal of “Commander Tom.” In 1965, he joined WKBW-TV (Channel 7) and became part of the iconic anchor team, alongside news anchor Irv Weinstein and sports director Rick Azar. Tom’s enthusiasm and warmth shone through as he hosted “The Commander Tom Show,” a children’s program that quickly became a local favorite. With his friendly demeanor and playful interactions with puppet characters, Tom Jolls created magical moments that made children smile and laugh.

A Pillar of Buffalo Broadcasting

As a member of the “Irv, Rick, and Tom” broadcast team, Tom Jolls became a household name in Buffalo. For decades, viewers tuned in to WKBW-TV to catch the latest news, weather updates, and sports highlights. Tom’s role as the weatherman brought him into homes across Western New York, where his forecasts were not just informative but also delivered with a genuine care for the community he served.

Remembering Tom Jolls

News of Tom Jolls’ passing reverberated through the Buffalo community, sparking an outpouring of heartfelt tributes. Colleagues, friends, and viewers mourned the loss of a broadcasting legend. His warm and friendly demeanor, coupled with his unwavering dedication, made Tom a beloved figure to generations of Buffalonians.

Legacy of a Gentle Soul

Tom Jolls will be remembered not only for his contributions to Buffalo’s broadcasting landscape but also for his kind and humble nature. He was not just a respected weatherman and children’s show host, but also a devoted family man. Despite his success, Tom remained grounded and chose to stay in Western New York even after retiring from television.

Farewell, Commander Tom

As we bid farewell to Tom Jolls, we reflect on the joy he brought into countless lives through his presence on television. His legacy as “Commander Tom” will continue to live on, reminding us of the power of genuine connections and the magic of childhood innocence. Buffalo has lost a broadcasting icon, but the memories and laughter he shared with us will forever remain in our hearts.

Final Thoughts

Tom Jolls, the legendary Buffalo broadcaster, has left an indelible mark on the hearts of the Buffalo community. As the beloved “Commander Tom,” he brought joy and laughter to countless children and families. His warm presence on WKBW-TV and his commitment to the community will be remembered for generations to come.

Tom Jolls’ passing leaves a void in the broadcasting world, but his legacy as a kind and humble soul will continue to inspire. From his early days in Lockport to his iconic role as a weatherman and children’s show host, Tom captivated audiences with his charm and genuine care for those he interacted with.


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