Blanche Schuelke of West Bend dies at 109

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Blanche Schuelke passed away Tuesday morning, July 26 at the age of 109. Her family said she passed comfortably and at peace.

 

“I’m so sad that she’s gone but very excited for her to see my grandpa, her parents, and her childhood dog named Mimsie,” said granddaughter Elizabeth Grimm. “I smile thinking about how she is with her grandfather of whom she called her best friend.”

 

Schuelke lived her entire life in West Bend.  She built a house on S. Eighth Avenue and worked at the original art museum.

 

“Grandma was an angel on earth for us all and will continue to be in heaven,” said Grimm.

 

On a history note:

  •  Schuelke was born in 1907 when Theodore Roosevelt was President of the United States.

 

  • The Mayor of West Bend in 1907 was Albert Gray

 

  • The April 1907 issue of Good Housekeeping Magazine displays the cover price One Dollar a Year (under the title).

 

  • Blanche Schuelke was 2 years old when William Taft made a surprise stop in West Bend.

 

  • The hot topic in West Bend in 1907 was construction of a city waterworks and sewage treatment plants. According to a paragraph in Dorothy Williams book, “The Spirit of West Bend,” the “local Board of Health had tried for years to convince the Council that the private wells and privies were a continual health hazard.”

 

  • In 1907 juvenile theft and crime was a huge problem in West Bend. The local paper printed the young offenders refused to go to school and “were in all kinds of devilment.” Some of the pranks, according to Dorothy Williams, “tearing up the wooden sidewalks.”

 

  • Phonographs were around in 1907 but few could afford them. The most common music trend was singing with a piano. People would trade, borrow, and collect the sheet music to their favorite songs. A popular choice was George M. Cohan’s “You’re a Grand Old Rag” from his hit Broadway musical George Washington, Jr.  Eventually, Cohan changed the title to “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” and the song remains a national treasure.

 

  • In 1907, America was at war against tuberculosis.

 

  • When Blanche Schuelke was 5 years old the first airplane to make an appearance in West Bend came to the County Fair. According to Dorothy Williams, “The highly-touted plane flew 40 feet and crashed ignominiously.”

 

  • In 1907 Daniel McLane was principal of the West Bend grade and high school.

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