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History: Local: Community Organizations

4-H Club

Retrospect: The Lisbon 4-H Club of 1950: Where are they now?

Betty Manke Riemer, a charter member of the Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, recently came up with a 58-year-old photo of a 1950 meeting of the Lisbon 4-H Club. The 4-H movement was very strong in those days, with many clubs throughout the community.

The four H’s stand for “head, heart, hands and health” from the 4-H pledge:

I Pledge

my Head to clearer thinking,

my Heart to greater loyalty,

my Hands to larger service,

and my Health to better living,

for my club, my community, my country, and my world.

According to Manke, the photo was taken in the Willard Schlafer barn, which still stands today a little west of today’s Kohl’s department store on Silver Spring Road.

Most members of the Lisbon 4-H were farm children, with the noticeable exception of the Swanson family, who lived in downtown Sussex with only a chicken coop in the side yard.

Most were former students of Lisbon’s one-room Sixteen School on Good Hope and Hillside roads. It closed in 1944, six years before this picture was taken. Many, if not all, of them then transferred to Sussex Main Street School.

The leader, Clinton Swanson, lived on Main Street in Sussex in the former home of Al and Madeline Halquist. The Sussex Main Street School principal, Swanson cut a major figure in the community until a few years later when he was hired away by the Brookfield elementary system for a substantial salary increase.

There, too, he became an effective, influential and famous leader. After his premature death from cancer, Brookfield renamed a grade school after him.

Some Lisbon 4-H members got into politics later on. Curt and Dick Manke and Dan Meissner were longtime members of the Waukesha County Board.

Meissner, owner of Hickory Hills Farm, served a number of years on the Lisbon Town Board, as well, and was a charter member of the Lisbon Fire Department.

Florence “Flossy” Dopke married Marvin Burg, and became Lisbon’s first lady for his eight-year tenure as town chairman.

According to Betty Manke Riemer, at least five of the people in this picture are deceased today: Dan Meissner, Curt Manke, Buddy Bauer, Flossy Dopke and Clinton Swanson.

Leon Manke serves on the Historical Society’s board of directors these days. Many others were or are members of the group, including charter member Betty Manke Riemer. A 30-year office manager for Halquist Stone Co., she became an officer of the Sussex Lisbon Business and Professional Association, the forerunner of the Sussex Area Chamber of Commerce, when she retired.

Curt Manke served for a long time with the Waukesha County Historical Society, whose members eventually elected him its president.





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