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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Gus Fuhrman was one of eastern Iowa's most popular musicians.Photo courtesy: The Stevens Orchestra Projecthttp://stevensorchestra.tripod.com/index.html
FUHRMAN, Gus. (Dubuque, IA, Mar. 12, 1909--Dubuque, IA, Oct. 14, 1993). As a teenager pursuing his dreams of becoming a professional musician, Fuhrman took the train to Chicago for piano lessons and Milwaukee for lessons on the accordion. Later while serving as the Dubuque postmaster, a position to which he was appointed in 1960, and being active in real estate, Fuhrman led an active musical career. (1)

In 1926 while still in high school, Fuhrman played in a trio at the Hilltop Casino in East Dubuque, Illinois. He enrolled at the University of Iowa and in 1927 founded his first orchestra, Gus and His Merry Mad Gang of Collegians.

In 1936 Fuhrman returned to Dubuque and married Mary Jane Corbett. For the next several years, they traveled south for the winter tourist season to play in the nightclubs of South Florida. There he played at the then famous Jimmy's Bar in Fort Lauderdale in the early evening and then drove to Miami for late evening "gigs." These "Gold Coast" nightclubs featured dinner, dancing and wide open (although illegal) gambling. Later he traveled the East Coast with Cato and His Vagabonds.

Gus Fuhrman Trio
Photo courtesy: The Stevens Orchestra Projecthttp://stevensorchestra.tripod.com/index.html
Photo courtesy: The Stevens Orchestra Projecthttp://stevensorchestra.tripod.com/index.html

From the late 1920s until about 1980, Fuhrman provided his clients with whatever music was needed--a full orchestra, small trio, or combo. They performed for high school proms, Christmas parties, private occasions, or the many holiday parties. He was very well known in the small towns in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin and dance halls like The Dell in Durango, MELODY MILL and the Fairyland Ballroom east of DeWitt. As a life long member of the Elks, Fuhrman also played for many Elks clubs in the Tri-State area.

For over fifty-years Gus Fuhrman shared the stage with many Dubuque area musicians. Some of the 'guys in the band": Ralph "Whitey" WOELK , "Skinny" Ellis, Willy Sutter, Ronnie Pline, George Flanders, Mssrs. Luckritz, Dewey and Ferris, Art Trannel, Roy Bowman, Bob Hein, Dick Spautz, Joe Chevalier, Mark Gavin, Joe Schmidt, and last, but surely not least, his dear and close friends, Russ Evans on the drums and his wonderful wife, Fanny.



1. Obituaries. Telegraph Herald, October 18, 1993, p. 7

(Photo and information courtesy: Stevens Orchestra Project--http://stevensorchestra.tripod.com/id40.html)