Letter to the Editor: A Farewell to William Welter

We were saddened to hear of the recent passing of William Welter [Dec. 21, 2022]. Bill’s commitment and service to Third Avenue Playhouse (PlayWorks) (TAP) was as immense as his shoulders were broad. He was a patron, a generous donor, a board member, a committee member and a good friend. 

Bill’s importance to TAP cannot be overstated. He belongs to a special group of people who came to the aid of TAP when it was most needed. That aid went far beyond just writing checks. He volunteered his time, his expertise and his wisdom – not to mention his great sense of humor, with a great big, broad smile in the bargain.

We first met Bill and his wife, Pam, over the phone. We were working in the theater one spring afternoon in 2012, preparing for our first production, when we received a call from Bill. He and Pam were on the road, returning to their Door County home. They had both heard about us and wanted to wish us well. 

Since they were coming into town that day, we invited them to stop by for a tour of the newly created black-box theater. They were so excited and supportive about what we had already accomplished and what we had planned for the future. We can’t express enough how encouraging their kind words were at that hopeful, yet daunting early moment two months before the very first of 60-plus productions we produced over 10 years.

All nonprofits have their heroes, and TAP was, and is, certainly no exception. It is because of heroes such as Bill Welter that these organizations can not only exist, but thrive. We are extremely grateful for Bill’s work with us over the years and for his unwavering support. 

He was a giant of a man, both figuratively and literally, with a heart as big as his stature. To quote Arthur Miller, “Attention must be paid to such a man.”

Robert Boles and James Valcq

Former Co-Artistic Directors 

Third Avenue Playhouse (PlayWorks)

Wauwatosa, Wisconsin