An audience gathered in the Building Connection at the Richland County Fairgrounds last Friday to witness a centenarian and two local couples receive recognition.
Centenarian Rosalie Lord, who turned 100 on July 29, received a plaque and spoke with emcee Ron Fruit of WRCO Radio. Lord was joined onstage by her cousin Jane Nee.
Lord presently resides at Golden Living Center in Muscoda, but previously lived in West Bend before moving to Richland County to be near relatives. She was born in Richland County to Franklin and Wilhelmina (Krell) Lord, who moved the family to West Bend. As a girl, she spent time at the Richland County farm of her grandparents, Edwin and Anna (Killoy) Lord, near Ithaca, now a Century Farm.
She continued to spend part of each summer in Richland Center at the home of her cousin Mamie Nee Higgins as the years went on and enjoyed being the photographer and videographer at annual Lord reunions. She has always loved attending county fairs, including this year’s Richland County Fair. Lord said she planned to sample several foods and check out cows and chickens. She spoke with Ron Fruit about her dad’s cheesemaking business and other recollections of her youth.
A longtime employee of the West Bend Company before retirement, Lord will soon be honored by them.
Of the two couples being honored with Lifetime Service and Achievement Awards, Fruit said, “They are people who do their jobs well and can be depended on every single day, but they minimize the impact of their own work.” Jim and Jane Husnik, and Carl and Susan Huth were asked to come onto the stage to speak with Fruit. Both couples have announced their retirement: Jim Husnik from Consumers Cooperative and the Huths from The Richland Locker Company.
Susan said that fair week has always been a busy time for the Locker Company, even during her youth when the business was owned by her parents, Doris and (the late) Carl Chellevold. Susan recalled that her father started the Carcass Show at the fair and she remembers when the Carcass Show judge ate dinner at her family’s home. The Huths’ children are Jeff and Debbie Huth of West Salem, parents of two and grandparents of three, Jenifer and Kevin Carden of Barneveld, parents of two, and Craig Huth, who is single and taking over the family business.
Carl said that, as a youth, he didn’t predict going into the meat cutting business. During the early years of the couple’s marriage he worked for Kraemer Construction, until he started being sent all over the state and then country. Susan’s father offered him a job at the Locker Company and he’s been there ever since.
Carl said, “The Fair is the highlight of the year. It’s embedded in you. You do it and enjoy it. It’s more about young people than meat. We have such dedicated people in this county.”
With regards to his longtime career at the Locker Company, Carl said, “It’s rewarding. You get a lot of pride out of people coming back and complimenting you, and we have dedicated employees. When a customer smiles it makes you feel good. We’ve had tremendous support. Our customers are very loyal.”
In their retirement, the Huths plan to spend more time with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “We have to travel to see them,” the Huths said.
Jane Husnik said she and Jim have two children, their daughter Jennifer, who lives in New Jersey, and their son Jeremy, who, along with his wife Ann-Marie and their daughters Samantha and Bridget, helps them a lot with events associated with Consumers Cooperative, Kiwanis Club, and their mopeds organization.
Jim said the first time he visited Richland Center on business 38 years ago he knew he wanted to live here. Seven years later that came true, when he and Jane moved here so Jim could accept a position with Consumers Cooperative. He said, “I started and ended as G.M. (general manager).”
Jim said, “We take a real interest in the community. I’ve had opportunities and approval from my board to be involved in the community.”
Jane said, “I love serving the exhibitors’ breakfast to people. We’ve done that 27 or 28 years. The first year we served 20 people. This year we served over 250 on Friday and will serve on Saturday and Sunday, too.”
She said that she and Jim plan to be in southern Texas during the winter months. But, she said, “We’ll be back because we’ll miss friends and family here.”
Jim said he will retire in 30 days, but will work with the new co-op – Premier Co-op of Mt. Horeb – to ease in the changes.
Of the couple’s plans to spend the winter in Texas, Jim said, “You don’t get a back ache shoveling sunshine. We’ll be back next spring.”