Skip Navigation

The Passing of Wayne G. Tlusty

Wayne George Tlusty, 83, Rib Lake, passed away Friday, May 24, under the care of Hope Hospice. Wayne was born to the late George and Sadie (Anderson) Tlusty on July 24, 1940. As a 1958 graduate of Rib Lake High School, he began his bachelor of science in natural resources at Wisconsin State College–Stevens Point (1958–59), continued his studies at the University of Wisconsin (1959–61), and completed the program in Planning and Design at Michigan State University in 1965 after serving in the U.S. Army from 1962 to 1964 as an artillery surveyor in Fort Riley, Kansas.

Earning his master’s degree from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, (1967–69), and serving as senior landscape architect designer for the Canadian Corporations 1967 World International Exposition (Expo ’67) in Montreal, Quebec, offered Wayne two of his most notable achievements.

On July 18, 1970, Wayne married Susan Premeau, his lifetime companion and storytelling sidekick. Together, in their careers as educators and adventurous travelers, they influenced students of all ages and became a part of many people’s lives.

Wayne’s career in landscape architecture spanned across private and public entities and across various locations in Canada (Winnipeg, Manitoba; Vancouver, British Columbia) and in the United States. From 1971 to 1978, he worked as a landscape architect for the U.S. Forest Service in Kootenai National Forest (Libby, Montana) and South Tongass National Forest (Ketchikan, Alaska).

In 1978, Wayne and Sue returned to Wisconsin and settled in Middleton, as Wayne’s career in landscape architecture landed in academia at the University of Wisconsin. He came aboard the university faculty in 1978 in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Cooperative Extension Service, and, as a tenured professor, he served on various committees at the University of Wisconsin, including contributions to Graduate Programming, Curriculum Planning, Advising, and various thesis committees. During this time, he proudly wore red, enjoyed Badger athletic events, and particularly enjoyed serving on the UW Athletic Board from 1995 to 1999.

Wayne’s dedication to professional and public service was reflected in various public service roles which included contributions to several professional publications during his tenure as well as many adopted policy contributions at the federal, state, county, city, township, and village levels. Some of these include policies related to the Ice Age National Scenic Trail; Chequamegon, Nicolet, and Marinette County Forest Management Acts; City of Middleton Planning Commission (1983–93); WI DNR Urban Forestry Council; Wisconsin legislature (Managed Forest Act); ASLA-WI Chapter; and the National Coalition for Scenic Beauty.

In 2000, Wayne retired from the University of Wisconsin, at which time Sue and he relocated to Rib Lake, Wisconsin, where they enjoyed building their lakeside home and reestablishing a connection to the Rib Lake/Westboro area, where they both had grown up.

He diligently served as president of the Village of Rib Lake from 2005 to 2015. Wayne’s efforts and leadership as village president left a lasting impact. He facilitated and worked with others to obtain several grants to make improvements in the community. Additionally, Sue and he generously donated to various community projects and improvements, such as school and park playgrounds, a lighted lake walkway, the public library, Good Shepherd Catholic Church, and most recently, holiday decorations for Main Street. Moreover, in establishing the Sue and Wayne Tlusty Scholarship Foundation, part of Sue and Wayne’s legacy will help Rib Lake High School graduates pursue higher education for generations to come. Fittingly, Wayne’s legacy centers on education, natural environments, native species, an appreciation for landscape aesthetics and design, community, adventure, and telling a story (or two).

In addition to his parents, Wayne was preceded in death by his loving wife, Sue.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, June 13, 2024, at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, 513 State Road, Rib Lake, WI, with Father Patrick McConnell officiating. Burial will follow at Lakeview Cemetery. Visitation will take place at Good Shepherd Catholic Church on Thursday, June 13, 2024 from 9 a.m. until the time of service at 11 a.m.

Wayne’s family would like to thank Hope Hospice.

More Alumni Notes