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0941, 12 Mar 16

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

West Bend loses leaders that left a legacy

A tough week for West Bend as the community lost a number of leaders who left definite legacies. Last Saturday, March 5, R. Douglas Ziegler died at the age of 89 and Virginia O’Meara passed. Jan Petri died last Friday, Bill Lutz died Monday, March 7, and on Friday former Dick’s Pizza owner Dave Wolf died.   Jeffrey S Szukalski wrote, “The City of West Bend has taken a huge hit this week. Doug Ziegler, Virginia O’Meara and Dave Wolf along with Mr. Lutz just to name a few. What they meant to us and how they quietly made our town better. Dave Wolf never wanted any credit for what he did in Rotary, parades, church or anything else he donated to. Dave loved West Bend and his friends in town. Dave helped West Bend be one of the best towns in the world to live.”

Below are some memories from Bill Lutz, Virginia O’Meara and R. Douglas Ziegler. Details on funeral arrangements for Dave Wolf can be found later this week at

Bill Lutz

Bill Lutz, 76, worked at the West Bend Fire Department for over 25 years. “He was one of the original six full-time firefighters when they went to 24 hour days in 1970,” Fire Chief Gerald Kudek said. “Bill was a lot of fun to work with and when I came on he was the motor pump operator.”

Lutz was involved in the community as a member of West Bend Roots and Branch, Action in Jackson and he spent over 25 years with West Bend Germanfest.

“He wanted to help and he believed in Germanfest,” said founder Herb Tennies.  “He would do anything,” said Suzanne Tennies.

Lutz helped put up the stages and flags and kept track of the beer kegs. “He was a record keeper and I think Germanfest was one of his main events every year,” Herb Tennies said.

Judy Etta worked alongside Lutz at Germanfest and said he was always somebody you could count on when there was a problem. “He was always there and we could always go and get Bill,” Etta said. “He was key in the electrical; the first years we’d blow fuses and Bill put labels on the cords so we didn’t blow fuses anymore.”

In 2012 Lutz received the American Cross Senior Good Samaritan Award. A funeral service was held Friday, March 11, at St. John’s Lutheran Church.

Douglas Ziegler

A steady stream of well wishers gathered at Fifth Avenue United Methodist Church on Thursday afternoon to pay their respects to the family of R. Douglas Ziegler. The local community leader who left a legacy of civic engagement and dedication to education died Saturday, March 5; he was 89.

“I met Doug years and years and years ago – I was a shoeshine boy at the West Bend Country Club,” said Lee Krueger. “That was 1956 and I was 15 years old.”  Krueger recalled writing about Ziegler in his book, ‘A Collection of Histories, Stories and Memories of the Farms and Lakes.’  “I talked to him about the Ziegler Dairy; he was the guy in charge by the old West Bend High School.”

Herb Tennies first met Doug when he was in high school in 1954. “He was always great with you and interested in the community and the growth of our young people and he could help with scholarships,” Tennies said. “Matter of fact my youngest son Stevie was the winner of a Ziegler scholarship.”

Kevin Steiner said he moved to West Bend with his wife in 1994 and the first organization he joined was United Way. “Immediately I found out about Doug Ziegler,” Steiner said. “From that point forward every organization I touched had a stamp of Doug or Sharon Ziegler on it,” he said listing off the West Bend School Board, Riveredge, and the Volunteer Center. “The passion he had for this community was just amazing.”

“Doug and I were in the same class in high school; the class of 1944,” said Marion Otto Ward, 89.  “He and Bob Rolfs used to be good friends and they used to race their cars back and forth from West Bend down to Jackson because Phyllis Leisner lived in Jackson.  I think they liked her – she was a blonde.”

Bill Meier worked at the Ziegler Company.  “I was on the board and when Doug called a meeting for 9 a.m. he didn’t mean 8:55 a.m. or 9:05 a.m., he meant 9 a.m.,” said Meier.

The topic of two-martini lunches came up and Meier quickly debunked that conversation. “True story, we went down to the securities department in Madison to get our licenses for brokerage and Doug went along and he said ‘we’ll take you out to lunch’ and do you know where he took us? McDonald’s!  But that was Doug, he was very thrifty.”

Jerry Henckel, 78, grew up on Big Cedar Lake with Ziegler. “I saw him quite regularly. I have a lot of respect for him,” he said. A Memorial Service was Friday and private inurnment was at Washington County Memorial Park.

Remembering Virginia Coffey O’Meara

There was a lovely Christian high cross on the cover of the program for Wednesday evening’s Mass of resurrection for Virginia Coffey O’Meara. A strong turnout filled the pews at Holy Angels Parish. The presiding celebrant was Gregory J. O’Meara – one of Virginia’s seven sons.

Words of remembrance were presented by Kevin and Chuck O’Meara. The brothers brought a list of memorable bullet points of life growing up in the strict, Irish household where Virginia was the boss.

-Seven boys, 16 years, youngest to oldest. Plus wives, grandchildren and great grandchildren. That’s a big career.

-For evening meals we had a schedule, three regular jobs: rinse the dishes, wipe the table, sweep the kitchen.

-Hair. Mother cut hair for as long as we allowed it without too much fighting. Good and short.

-Mother threw footballs and baseballs in the backyard with all of us and she was good at it. She could throw up a ball and hit it with a bat for fielding practice with no trouble.

-It was not unusual for all of us to wear the exact same shirt. My mother took comfort that she could tell authorities what the lost boy was wearing.

-Some of the favorite teachings: open the door for a lady, use please and thank you, take off your hat in the house. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

-Sleeping late at our house was never an option. Kitchen closes in five minutes.

-Virginia was a woman of faith and a woman who believed things would work out.

-She was sneaky the way she taught lessons. She always took the opportunity to point out the people in our lives and in the community that were good examples of how to live. This included people from all backgrounds – instilling that success had more to do with living the Golden Rule than status or wealth.

– She taught us to give our time to volunteering and promoted giving to charity.

-Put your brother down, you don’t know where he’s been.

-Daughters in law are always right.

-Respect others, treat them fairly and judge them by merit. Poverty does not equate to ignorance and wealth should not be confused with virtue.

Virginia O’Meara’s coffin was draped with the same Irish linen used to share good times at the table with family and friends. “You’ll notice a few spotted shadows on the linen,” said Rev. O’Meara. “That was from some particularly exuberant parties.”

One the back of the program under ‘Final Commendation’ was a note. “Our sincere gratitude to all who have taken the time to call, drop by, or join us in this evening’s celebration. Please be assured that you will be in our prayers as well.”  Signed The O’Meara men and all

Online auction for building on Paradise Drive  

There’s going to be an online auction next month, April 18 – 20, for a multi-tenant retail building at 840 W. Paradise Drive. According to the “46,056-square-foot multi-tenant retail building in West Bend will be sold in an online auction with a starting bid of $500,000.”  The building on Paradise Drive was built in 2006 and is anchored by Home Depot. The property is listed by Long Beach, Calif.-based HTX Realty, Inc. The bidding for the auction will take place on

Former WBHS teacher remembers partying at Paul Hornung’s

Former Green Bay Packer Paul Hornung will be at the West Bend Moose Lodge for a card show today.

Back in 1958 Geraldine Birkholtz, a former West Bend teacher, attended a post game Packer party at Hornung’s home. “I was dating a fellow from Appleton, Danny Ornstein,” she said. “His crowd always went out after the game and I think the Packers beat the Bears that day.”

After the game, Birkholz’s date gave her some options. “He said, do you want to go out with my single friends, my married friends out to dinner or do you want to go to Paul Hornung’s for a cocktail party.” Birkholz responded, “There’s no choice – that’s pretty obvious.”

The couple made their way to Fisk Avenue in Green Bay.  The party was just getting started when they arrived. “I met him,” she said of Hornung. “He was tall and blonde and a good looking guy.”

Hornung lived in a house with a couple other Packer players including Jesse Whitenton. For several months Hornung had a reporter from True, A Man’s Magazine follow him around; the magazine was described in the 1960s as “high adventure, sports profiles and dramatic conflicts.”

“That whole evening I was there was written up in that magazine,” said Birkholz. Matter of fact, the writer from New York started talking to Birkholz. “He was short but he started shining up to me,” she said.

She recalled Hornung poured her a scotch and they were talking and a version of that came out in the magazine. “We were in the kitchen and the article said this fellow came up and talked to me and then he ‘pushed her toward the pantry.’  There was no pantry in that house,” laughed Birkholz.

After the party ended it was several months before the article on Hornung came out. “One of the teachers, Bob Schumacher, came running up to me and said, ‘Birkholz, what were you doing at that party?’ That was the day I found out what teachers subscribed to that magazine,” she said.

The article described what Birkholz was wearing. “We all dressed up for the games back then,” she said. “I was a size 8 and I had a nice wool dress and 3-inch heels.” Birkholz said the party was great fun. “We would talk to people. At that kind of thing you just walk around and visit,” she said.

At one point in the evening Birkholz recalled there was a knock at the back door. “Everybody was busy so I answered and it was kids who wanted to get the autographs from the players. I said, ‘oh boys… come back tomorrow, they’ve been playing football all afternoon.’”

Birkholz said many of the guests were amazed how she handled the children with such ease. “I just laughed and said, ‘Well I am a teacher.’”

The card show runs 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Hornung will be signing autographs at 10:30  a.m.

Last passion play at St. Mary’s School

Students from St. Mary’s School will perform the last passion play on March 20 at 6 p.m. in the church. The tradition of the passion play is 30 years old. Students will perform for the Religious Ed. students on March 15 at 7 p.m. They will also perform for St. Mary’s and St. Frances Cabrini students on March 17 at 1 p.m.

Penny Wars at St. Frances Cabrini

Penny Wars are in full swing this Lenten season at St. Frances Cabrini. During Lent Pope Francis asked us to “give of ourselves to help make others’ lives better.”  At St. Frances Cabrini School students and staff are raising money to donate to the Leukemia Center. The Penny War consists of three water jugs in the cafeteria and during lunch students drop a donation into the red, blue, or green container that coincides with their grade level. The container with the most will be given a pizza party by the Leukemia Society. “While that is a nice reward students are reminded we are doing this because we want to help others less fortunate than ourselves,” said Principal Aaron Hilts.

Write-in candidates update

There are a couple of write-in candidates for this year’s Washington County Board race. Denis Kelling is a registered write-in candidate for Washington County Supervisor in District 6.   It opened after Supervisor Paul Ustruck of Barton filed papers of non-candidacy.

Andy David is a registered write-in candidate for Washington County Supervisor in District 3. There were two incumbents eligible who could have run for the District 3 seat, Herbert Tennies and Ralph Hensel; both filed papers of non-candidacy.

In County Board Supervisory Districts 3 and 6, whoever receives the highest number of votes will be the winner.  There is no minimum requirement for the number of votes to secure the seat.  In all other districts, no write-in votes will be counted (unless someone registers as a write-in candidate) since there are ballot candidates.

Olympic swimmers in WB on Saturday

Two Olympic swimmers will be at the West Bend High School pool Saturday, March 12 to teach student athletes in a program called Fitter and Faster. The Olympians work with athletes and the swimmers get 1-one-1 time with an Olympic Gold medalist. “These seminars are great promotion for our sport and West Bend Swim Club,” Emory Salberg Sr., a Swim Club parent, said. “We hope events like this will help promote potential investment from parties to help us facilitate the year-round sport of swimming.”

Updates and Tidbits

-Another notable business property for sale is the old Citgo building, 1613 W. Washington St, West Bend. The 2,050 square feet is priced at $299,900.

Registration for West Bend Youth Football League is March 15 at 1248 Lang St. starting at 5:30 p.m. The WBYFO is a tackle football league for 5th – 8th graders in West Bend School District. Organizers are also gauging interest in a flag football league for 3rd and 4th graders.  Flag football would run in the fall, approximately the same time as 5th – 8th grade football.   More information at

Absentee ballots for the April 5, 2016 election were mailed out this week. In-person absentee voting gets underway March 21 and City Hall in West Bend is closed Good Friday, March 25.

-Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner is scheduled to have office hours at Jackson Village Hall on Friday, March 18 at 11:45 a.m.

– A pair of pee-wee hockey teams from the Kettle Moraine Ice Center are headed to state this weekend. Washington County Ice Pee-wee C Team is playing in Oregon, Wis. while the Washington County Ice Pee- Wee B Team is playing in McFarland.

Truck Outfitters is holding a Grand Opening through March 19 for its new storefront, 1325 S. Main Street. Specials include all a full car window tint is $50 off.

-West Bend Leadership Group will be in the West Bend East High School Cafeteria, Tuesday, March 15 from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. to encourage students to participate in Connect with Nature on Saturday, April 30.

-The Mile of Art Show is underway as student artwork from grades K-12 is decorating windows of businesses in downtown West Bend. The art will be in storefront windows through March 26.

History photo Dick’s Pizza

Today’s history photo, courtesy Steve Kissinger, is of an ad from the 1960s for Dick’s Pizza.



0941, 12 March 2016


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