Before Tom came to train with Westside in 1974, he was an outstanding track and field athlete, starting at Buffalo University. Tom held the shot put record in 1973 at Buffalo. He also finished first in the shot put at the Eastern Michigan Invitational in 1972. Tom also had the opportunity to play pro baseball, but instead chose to train at Westside and achieve a PhD after receiving his Masters in Psychology, as well as a Law Degree from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. He became a member of the American Psychological Association on The Ohio State Board. Tom came to stay with me for the first time in 1974.
He dropped off at least 10 bags of clothes and books, mostly books in my front room, and returned home for 8 weeks without a note of any kind. I found out later he had become very sick. But, he did come back for good. He married his girlfriend, Candy, and had two boys, Joey and Ethan, both of whom went to college as Candy obtained her PhD in Psychology. Tom was very strong to say the least. With a toothpick in his mouth, he benched 525 for three reps. He would do reverse hypers four times per week. In 1982, he became our first 800 lb. deadlifter. Sometime after that, he again became very sick and found he had kidney failure.
It took forever for him to receive a replacement. Back then, it was a death sentence. But, Tom was strong and kept going for over 30 years. He eventually died from heart failure around 2010. He was a great man that left behind a great family and many friends at Westside. To get a picture of yourself on the wall at Westside, you must become famous, then die. I, with honor, hung the picture of Tom on the wall in the gym along with the likes of Bill “Peanuts” West, the founder of the original Westside in Clover City, California.
As well as George Frenn and Pat Casey, two of the greatest lifters of all time.
Every day I look at those pictures and wonder if my picture will hang along the past giants of powerlifting at Westside.
Long live Tom Paulucci.