A hefty collection of residents past gives a glimpse into area history
The newspaper obituaries are one of the most-read parts of the daily and weekly papers.
Lila B. Busse Graser, was born on Sept. 18, 1908, and was raised in the Templeton part of Sussex which was the area of Waukesha Avenue and Main Street.
Lila was the daughter of Sussex Village Trustee, fireman, county supervisor and longtime community businessman, Charles Busse who owned a butcher shop. Her parents were longtime Sussex Masonic Order members and Lila also became a fixture in the local Eastern Star so much so, that in 1957, the local chapter chose to rename itself as the Lila B. Graser Chapter 159 Order of the Eastern Star.
She married Lee Graser in 1931 and they celebrated 62 years of marriage until Lee's death in 1993.
Now, Lila became something of a historian of Sussex-Lisbon. In the 1960s, she started a collection of local obituaries. She collected them in a three-ring binder accumulating more than 180 pages alphabetically arranged. Her collection continued through 2004 when age and illness stopped her collection of more than 40 years.
Hank Stillman was her executor on her estate and followed her suggestion in March 2006 giving her book to the Sussex Lisbon-Area Historical Society where it is now available for researchers. A rough estimate counts around 3,325 obituaries from Sussex, Lisbon and Lannon are archived in Graser's collection. Here is a sampling of some of the more prominent ones.
Lisbon farmer Paul Abel. Color Ink is located on his land. He died Dec. 4, 2001 at age 87. He is a member of the Sussex Baseball Hall of Fame.
Milo Cooling died Sept. 16, 1979 at age 65. He was a longtime Halquist Stone Co. salesman and employee who came from a pioneer Sussex family.
Amedeo D'Orazio died June 24, 1978 at age 79. He was an Italian-born Sussex stone cutter who worked for Halquist.
Ernest Fryda died on May 20, 1982 at age 85. He was a Lisbon farmer on Hillside Road.
Wilma Gerken died Jan. 18, 1989 at age 90. She lived on Waukesha Avenue and wrote a diary from 1918 to the 1940s which today can be read at the Pauline Haass Public Library.
Ronald Halquist died May 23, 1987 at age 66. he was the baby of the John Halquist family who started Halquist Stone Co. in 1929. During WWII, he served in Africa and Europe as a military police officer.
Chester Lingelback died on June 12, 1978 at age 88 in Eugene, Oregon. He was a Sussex farmer that subdivided his land and developed Orchard Drive, Old Mill Lane and Hillview subdivisions. He was a member of the Sussex Village Board and served as the village assessor as well as serving on the Sussex Fire Department. The Sussex Masonic Ashlar Lodge was built on his land; he was a longtime member.
Gavin McKerrow died at age 84 on Jan. 27, 1978. He had four farms in Lisbon comprising of one of the largest agricultural areas in Lisbon. He was slated to become the Secretary of Agriculture in 1948, but lost to Harry S. Truman in what many called an upset. He helped found Golden Guernsey Cooperative Dairy in 1929.
Ray Schroeder died at age 81 on Feb. 4, 1993. He was born at the Brook Hotel that today is the clock tower park in Sussex. He joined the Sussex Fire Department in 1942 and became a longtime assistant chief and fire inspector. He was an early aviation pioneer in Sussex and flew from an improvised field where today Sussex Quad/Graphics plant is located.
Katherine Stier died on Oct. 12, 2004 at age 86. She was from a prominent Sussex family and the one of six children of John and Emma Stier. Her father was a Lisbon Town Chairman and her brother served as the Sussex Fire Chief and as a village board member. Trained as a teacher she also served in WWII as a Navy nurse. Her name is inscribed on the Sussex WWII memorial in front of Village Hall.
Charles Youngbauer died at age 52 on March 6, 1982. A lifetime Sussex resident, he became a Sussex fireman and had just been promoted to assistant chief when he suddenly died. His son, Scott, was a notable football player that went on to play college football. His other son, Terry, was honored recently as one of the 100 best high school basketball players in Hamilton history. He was first team All State for many years and he held a Hamilton basketball scoring record that included two appearances at the state tournament.