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Thomas Waddelow Oral History Interview

Thomas Waddelow, an artist residing in Tucson, talks about his education, his military service, and his experiences as a gay man living in Arizona. A World War II veteran who served as one of General Patton’s tankers, he recounts his in combat as well as in his personal life. He recalls telling his lover Don that he was gay during a stint working for the Red Cross in Japan in 1959, and about how they set up an art shop together in Venice, California.

Following their separation, he dedicated himself to his paintings and turned a profit through selling them in California. After the end of another same-sex relationship in Idaho, Waddelow decided to move to Arizona in the 1970s where he continues to create paintings to this day.

Waddelow’s story is one of pursuing artistic passions all over the world with humility and a good sense of humor, and he remains a valued member of the local LGBTQ community in the Old Pueblo.

Some examples of Waddelow’s art can be found here: