Kuechler, WIlliam and Myrtle



In 1931, our father, Bill, and our grandfather, John Kuechler, both carpenters, arrived in Herbster to build a home for the Bill Kuechler family. A few months later, Myrtle, our mother, arrived with three-year-old Dorothy and three-month-old Billy, to join Dad in a two-room house in the middle of the northern forest. Both Mom and Dad were raised in Chicago and living in the woods must have been quite a culture shock. They persevered and went on to clear land, raise and sell strawberries, potatoes and apples. As time and resources permitted, the house was tripled in size to give needed space to the growing family.

Herbster was the birthplace of three more children—Ruth, Don and Joan. Doctor’s travels were dependent on the weather, and Dad delivered Ruth (1933) and Don (1935). Dad met the doctor at the door with the babies in cribs. Joan (1938) waited for the doctor.

In 1940, the family moved to Superior where Dad readily found work. Mom had life easier with running water and electricity. Dad had time to take us fishing and Mom took little ones for long walks.

When Grandpa and Grandma Kuechler decided to sell the property in Herbster, Myrtle and Bill returned there. The family now included Jean (1943) and Ken (1945), both born in Superior.

Dad continued to work in Superior and Mom ran a tight ship on the farm, keeping the kids on task. Work to be done included weeding, picking strawberries, making wood for winter heat, haying, etc. Dorothy, having graduated, was working in Superior. When she came home for weekends, Ken had to be convinced that she really was his sister.

Friday evenings found six children waiting on the bank by our house for Dad to return home for the weekend. Lady, our dog, gave the first clue of Dad’s car nearing by whimpering and barking and being very excited. We were delighted when Dad brought home watermelon or ice cream. Poor refrigeration meant that we had to eat the treat completely, right then! He always brought us small gifts, which we loved.

Mom and Dad modeled high standards of behavior. A nightly kitchen scene was Dad kneeling by a chair saying his daily rosary. Dad prayed much, seemingly worried little, and rarely was irritated with life. If people complained about high prices, he would say, “At least it gives a dependable income.” Mom worked hard meeting the daily family needs. Thoughts of Mom are interwoven with thoughts of homemade bread and apple pie. In our minds, those wonderful smells still linger. Mom once bought the groceries for a Christmas dinner and arriving home declared, “I can’t eat this knowing a neighbor will probably be hungry on Christmas.” She divided and delivered the food. The next day two families enjoyed Christmas dinner.

Dad died in Herbster in 1982. Mom lives with Jean in Eagan. Dorothy graduated from East High in Superior having taken commercial courses. Early in her career, she was the secretary in a law office in Superior and later retired after many years as secretary to the Chief of Police in Chippewa Falls, WI. Dorothy and Joe are at home in the country near Augusta, WI. They have six children, fifteen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Dorothy’s family and friends are often the recipients of beautiful ceramic pieces, her hobby over the years.

Bill served four years in the Air Force before returning to work for the Murphy Oil Company in Superior. He lives in retirement in South Range, WI with his wife, a Herbsterite, Roberta nee Phillips. They raised four sons and have three grandchildren. Roberta tends her beautiful and spacious flower gardens. Bill enjoys having enough acreage to necessitate tractors, etc.

After graduation, Ruth’s stenography skills led to employment with International Harvester, where she met her future husband, Frank Friebe. They married in 1955 and ushered four sons into the world, Alan (1957) followed by Bruce, Craig, and Doug. Ruth was a great wife and mother. She saw (and sometimes facilitated), everything from kitchen table science experiments to snowmobile races. She was devoted to her grandchildren, bowling, gardening, bingo, crossword and jigsaw puzzles, cheering on the Vikings and Twins and working for charitable organizations such as “Birthright” were some of her special interests. Ruth joined her Dad in heaven in June of 2005. We who knew and loved her are trying to adjust to our loss.

Fifty-two years after graduation from South Shore High School, Don finds himself living happily in retirement with his wife, Janet nee Fox, on the banks of the Chippewa River near Chippewa Falls, WI. Don completed his BS, MS and PhD in Education and taught at the high school level for ten years. He taught at the college level at Northland College during which time he was promoted to full Professor. He served as the head of the Education Department. Don spent the eighteen years before retirement as Assistant Superintendent of Instruction.

Don and Jan have seven grandchildren and have collectively had about that many surgeries. They have enjoyed traveling both in the U.S. and abroad. They enjoy their grandchildren and look forward to being actively involved in life for a long time to come, God willing.

Joan always loved school. She has received degrees in Elementary Education, Art Education and a Masters in Reading Education. She and her husband Bill, raised a son and daughter. Joan taught third grade in White Bear Lake and then took time off until their two children were in school. She then returned to teaching third grade at St. Bridget School in River Falls. After twenty-two years, she retired in 2000. They are blessed that their children live in the area. Two grandchildren, Chloe and Derick, sweeten retirement. Joan enjoys painting, crafts and gardening. Exploring the fifty states is a work in progress.

Jean graduated from South Shore High in 1961 and then attended St. Luke’s School of Nursing in Duluth, graduating in 1964. After working as a Registered Nurse at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center for thirty-four years, she retired in 1998. During these years, she traveled to many places in the U.S. and abroad. Since 1991, Mom has lived with Jean in Eagen, MN.

After graduation in 1964, Ken served in the U.S. Army in Germany. Ken and his wife, Diane, make their home in Breezy Point, MN. Boating provides relaxation. Two wonderful sons and two much adored grandchildren enrich their lives. Ken’s carpentry skills are up to the varied and beautiful projects he and Diane create. Ken has worked as a butcher for the past thirty-five years.