Akstulewicz, Lee (Nancy)

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Pat Mertens

1233 28th St S

La Crosse WI 54601-6039
NHS 1957-1960 Physical education
Gym class finally became fun! . . . thanks to our young, smiling and energetic teacher. For 3 years, the girls of the class of ’61 learned a variety of sports in a non-threatening environment which encouraged numerous girls to stay after school to enjoy even more in team playing. It was called GAA (Girls Athletic Association)! This was the fruitfulness of Miss Mertens who taught at NHS from 1957-1960. We missed her in our senior year, but she had moved on to other schools and grades as well – Madison, Seattle, Fond du Lac, an encore in Seattle and eventually settled in La Crosse in the UW system. Having gotten her masters in Students Affairs Adm, she enjoyed 26 years of service in the Residence Life Office, Admissions Office, and the Career Services Office. La Crosse may have been her place of retirement, with her mother joining her there for 29 years, but sports and European/US travel “moved” her about also. Exercise is still a 5 day a week activity including a love of cross-country skiing, tennis, and swimming. Those of us who wore those lovely blue gym suits will have the pleasure of her company once again at the Saturday banquet, hopefully with other more delightful memories. She almost stayed, back in 1960 as she recalled, “I enjoyed Neenah so much, knowing if I didn’t leave then, I’d never leave!”
Ken Anderson

134 Regent Pl

Neenah WI 54956
NHS 1955-65 – taught Speech and English; directed multiple plays & musicals
Perhaps you never knew that English is a second language for Ken Anderson. Having had immigrant Swedish parents and even his returning to Sweden with his mother briefly during the Depression have cemented this heritage within. Also within is the heart for The Stage, from early choir participation to his mother’s story-telling to an early production of HMS Pinafore (during which his high voice changed to its present depth). To further expand this passion, after NHS his career turned to 33 years at UW Fox Valley and the yield of 300 plays and musicals (including 20 Gilbert and Sullivan productions and 10 highlights of the same). He didn’t “merely” direct and teach, but joined in as an actor and writer, the latter in various forms. One such authored production was “Dairy Home Companion” performed at the Appleton PAC. He and his wife (a psychology major from Lawrence, their alma mater) raised 4 children who were often brought into his plays, along with the neighborhood kids! Some fresh adaptations of his creativity were “firsts” in the area - lip-syncing for sore throats and video taping the conductor of a pre-recorded musical soundtrack. But sports too were creative ventures – initiating the UWFV soccer program and a Midwest handball club. Now his support has turned in greater measure to his wife who is in a nursing home for care. She is the recipient of his creative mini-outings. In the event that you see him and don’t catch his trademark voice, his smile and crop of white hair are still unmistakable!
Douglas and Susan (Phelps) Pearson

3712 Altoona Ave

Altoona WI 54720-1005
Unknown to either, the acceptance of teaching positions in Neenah, WI, meant meeting face to face even though they may have passed each other numerous times—in Minneapolis, where Doug caddied at a country club two blocks from Sue’s front door and in Northfield, MN, where they attended and graduated from different colleges! In 1959, again unaware of the other, they took teaching positions in Neenah. Sue taught art in the 10 elementary schools, ½ hour in each per day. She lived on Congress St., about half a block from the apartment that Doug rented when he began his work at the high school teaching German and English and assisting the coaching staff of the football team. By the time they were engaged, they knew they would eventually have to leave Neenah due to the system’s THEN policy not to hire married female teachers. And so, in 1960, they married and only Doug continued to teach for two more years. Their son Forrest was born—in Appleton after which they went to Madison for Doug’s grad program. Later they settled into 38 years at UW-Eau Claire. Doug was professor of English and Chair of the English Department for 11 years. Sue became a landscape and assemblage artist. During their time at UWEC, they were resident directors for study abroad programs in Denmark, Scotland and London. Both enjoyed the traveling (including Russia, China and most of western and eastern Europe) as did their family of two sons. For nearly 20 years they have been renewing their Neenah memories with yearly visits to cheer on their son, an annual Fox Cities Marathon participant. This reunion, we former students will enjoy their visit as well! (A summary of a 9/22/10 phone interview)
Mrs Faye Lotlikar

1720 Avian Hill Pl

Lincoln CA 95648
Taught NHS Business Education Jan – June 1961
With a husband in a doctoral program at UW Madison’s University Hospital, the only teaching job she could find was in Neenah for the week days and back to Madison for the weekends! This was the state of affairs for the Lotlikars' in 1961 from January to June. She remembers “it was a change from Oregon. Madison was COLD!” At that time the Neenah School District had a policy of not hiring married women in preference to bread-winning men. “They must have been desperate, as I was hired to replace the previous instructor who was marrying in December.” Fortunately another position opened up in the Madison area where she taught for the following five years. At the completion of his program, Dr and Mrs Lotlikar settled in Philadelphia. There she taught in several situations including a Junior College, plus doing guidance counseling. Now in CA, they enjoy the many opportunities in their retirement community. Their son, an internist, and their 2 granddaughters live in Baltimore. Although pleased to be remembered for the reunion, Mrs Lotlikar had to decline the invitation due to a busy summer schedule of travel. (Summarized from several 2011 contacts with Mrs Lotlikar)
Joe Braun – A Tribute

715 Congress St

Neenah WI 54956
NHS 1946-1976 taught General Math and Science, Algebra; coached football and baseball; started the Neenah Recreational program for baseball; inducted into The Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, Milwaukee
Many of us have been privileged to know Mr Braun during his nearly 100 years (in autumn 2011). We can say “privileged” because of his character, his most consistent quality, despite Life’s numerous opposing factors. Raised in the Algoma area, the death of his mother in early youth required some foster home care and when money at graduation was non-existent, the high school coaches saw him to be a hard working young man and arranged a job for him to work his way through River Falls State College. Teaching jobs in the late 30’s were treasures, one of which was facilitated by a professor who recommended him to the Frederic school superintendent – they knew hard workers were treasures too, as was his salary of $100 per month to teach math and coach football, baseball and boxing (92 lbs being the heavy weight at the time!)

It was there in Frederic that he met a young widow who was teaching and raising two young daughters. Three weeks later they were engaged, and shortly, were married, the honeymoon being a fishing shack for the weekend. “We paid $3 for food, lodging and a boat. I took Helen fishing. After one time she said, ‘Is this supposed to be fun?” I got the message!” The moving and the jobs began from WI to Ohio back to WI (and working with Art Paff who would become a life long friend). Then he was “given” an all-expense-paid-3-year-Naval-tour of the Pacific during WWII. (He was seasick for 8 of the 9 cruises!)

It was after the war that Mr Paff’s own job was in Neenah and he knew just the kind of man to recommend to the school superintendent, thus situating Mr B in Neenah’s high school system to the completion of his teaching
career. By then this father of 2 energetic daughters was joined by a son and eventually another daughter. Housing was sparse during postwar years so they had to live in the field South of NHS where he would eventually coach baseball. Their home was a Quonset hut of corrugated galvanized steel having a semicircular cross section, often 20x48’. The five of them occupied half of one. As soon as possible the Brauns purchased a lot on Congress St near the edge of town (just 2 lots from Cecil St) and began to build, by hand, a modest cement block home. A pregnant Mrs B “buttered the blocks” for Mr B and slowly their home emerged behind Mr Poellinger’s lot and eventual home.

The Brauns had a garden that was a trademark of theirs – tomato plants that flourished having their roots well fed by the sheephead fish buried under them and raspberry plants galore that supplied fruit for wonderful canned preserves and her famous jam. The produce was always shared, often around their table of guests. Hospitality was also a Braun trademark. The teaching at NHS was also a “garden” of sorts from which sprang wonderful life-long friends and . . . hard work. Eventually Mr B’s classes turned to the pleasure of Algebra when Miss Raine moved to Madison. But prior to that, the “general” subjects were often taught to uninterested students; that too was Work! One student he recalls requested help which he was all to willing to give. Over the ensuing year she went from lousy to best! “She wrote, thanking me for teaching!

Study halls of ~60 were a part of the package as well. There were “rules for all, no matter how tall . . . one football player was 6’4” . . . I laid down the Law; just like prison!” In football coaching he always worked with the linemen . . . one of our classmates remembers that Mr B looked slight but was really strong! And in baseball, Mr B was demonstrating a knuckle ball and the same classmate said, “He burned that knuckle ball into my glove!!” Perhaps unbeknownst to most, Mr Braun played baseball professionally in the late ‘30’s for a summer. The team was the Blue Devils, an AAA Farm Team; the pay was $60/mo plus food “on the road.”

Summers for school teachers were not vacations. One job in “UNair-conditioned pleasure” [description added by editor] was in a Menomonie WI cannery. It required two weeks of training in Chicago to learn just the right adjustment for the sealing of the cans. This was to prevent spoilage and the right environment for the vegetables to continue cooking in the cans after being sealed. Part of the summer also, thankfully, included fishing. Later Mr Braun’s dream of living on Lake Winnebago’s shore came true. With the limit for walleyed pike being 5 per day, he recalls hitting that limit 18 times one summer. Again these fish were shared with many guests in wonderful fish fries!

But the summers became a sharing of another of his loves . . . baseball. In 1946 he began a summer recreation program, biking (no car) from park to park for several leagues from 10 & under on up to high school. (“The high school [league] provided a good opportunity to scout for the HS team!”) He himself played on the Neenah Presbyterian Church team in the summer adult program – with the lights shining on the diamond at the Rec, the clapping & cheering of the fans scattered in the bleachers, the slap of the ball in the glove, the call of the ump – many of us recall the pleasure of a warm summer night at the ball park!

Over the years, Mr B has watched many a Packer game (with his inevitable opinions!), often with his family whom he has thoroughly enjoyed - (their talented children and spouses and all the grandchildren). Eventually the great gr’children began to ride their bikes to visit him! He and Mrs B had always made a point of visiting many old friends who needed cheering, always bringing some gift to share, such as several plump, red tomatoes! Mr Schultz, our NHS era’s band director, was one such recipient, being housebound in his later years.

The gardens have continued to be an area that some would call “work” but that Mr B calls the pleasure of planting and producing, and then there is his special flower garden, a memorial to Mrs Braun. He has continued to teach all who know him . . . about living well. As Coach Carl said about him, [He was] always a gentleman, [had] great discipline with the kids, and worked well with me – [he] listened . . . One of my favorites! His nearly [then, autumn 2010] 99 years can be attributed to good, clean living!” [Ed. Note: and to hard work, commitment, and giving to others!]

William (Bill) Dunwiddie

1130 N Westfield St

Oshkosh WI 54902
NHS 1949-1983 Teaching Modern Problems, Economics, Government, US History, and Environmental Problems; Chair of Social Studies, Debate Coach; Pep Club Advisor; Asst Track Coach; Co-founder of Student-Faculty-Adm-Council; Advisor to Hiking & Outing Club
“From early on I wanted to be a teacher. But first I had to come to grips with some basic ideas about teaching and learning [such as] . . . ‘Nothing worth knowing can be taught . . . no learning without pain . . . no easy short-cut . . . what each student learns and understands differs greatly – [i.e. what I] hear . . . see . . . do . . . what the student hasn’t learned the teacher hasn’t taught.’ “ Since Mr Dunwiddie turned 90 within this last year, he has a sizable history in preparatory education: UW Madison (BA) and Ohio State (Masters) to qualify him to teach ten social studies related courses; WWII (Navy); 2 high school teaching jobs in Reedsburg and then Hartford WI (Little Ten Conference-winning debate team) . . . all before coming to Neenah. In Neenah, he and Mr Gundlach developed and team-taught one of the first Environmental Problems courses for high school students in the nation. In WI, he was a member of the state Social Studies Curriculum Comm. And nationally, Mr Dunwiddie was a member of the National Council for the Social Studies (writing some “how-to-do-it” articles for the NCSS monthly publication); solicited for his “teacher’s” reactions to the national publication Senior Scholastic (thus, on the Editorial Advisory Board); and authored the textbook Problems of Democracy (widely used in classrooms in all 50 states). The latter “helped put all four of our kids through college.” In 1961 a wonderful honor was bestowed which benefited the entire family– the all-expense-paid-award of the John Hay Fellowship to attend Harvard University. “We lived in Natick [MA] during the school year, traveled and camped and hiked along the US east coast in the summers of 1961 and 1962.” Then a very “Significant Event” occurred in 1964 – the honor of being named Wisconsin Teacher of the Year and being one of ten finalists for National Teacher of the Year! Upon retirement, he and his wife enjoyed 10 elder hostels while traveling an extraordinary 28 countries!![Ed. Note: this is a packed 90 years for a man who still sleeps little, utilizing many hours of his 24 hour day. Thus he will have plenty of time to visit with us late into the evening at the Banquet. Note also: this has been a much minimized summary of his personal document.]

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." Henry Brooks Adams

Mary Ellen Winkler Editor

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