Bio: Ylvisaker, Joseph (1957)
Contact: Dolores Mohr Kenyon
Surnames: Ylvisaker, Bondehagen, Rush,
North, Zilk, Anderson, Scott, Nelson, Dux, Harvey, Bryant, Gusloff,
----Source: Clark County Press
(Neillsville, Clark Co., WI.) July 3, 1957
Ylvisaker, Joseph (1957)
Did you know that Joe Ylvisaker once
planned to spend his life as a missionary in South America; that he
joined the Civilian Conservation Corps to prove that his
application would be accepted; that he has a lifetime certificate
to teach school in Wisconsin and Minnesota; that he spent seven
years in the Wisconsin National Guard; that he played football in
high school and college; and that he was "up-in-the-air" when he
saw Neillsville for the first time?
This, and the following information, is
given to make our readers better acquainted with one of Clark
County’s leading citizens.
Joe Ylvisaker was born near Stoughton,
October 13, 1914; attended rural school just north of Stoughton for
eight years, and was graduated from Stoughton High School in
When a friend chided him, and said that
he could not get into the "CCC," he placed his application with the
corps and was surprised to find that he was accepted
promptly. Enlisting at Fort Sheridan, Ill., then was sent to
Northern Wisconsin, near Dunbar, to spend seven months in 1934,
leaving it to enter Lutheran Bible Institute,
With a desire to enter the missionary
field in Columbia, South America, he realized that he would need a
college education, and entered Augsburg College in the fall of
1934. Due to the fact that he had to work his way through
college, he took five years and was graduated in 1939, with a
liberal arts degree, which carried with it qualifications to teach
school in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Returning to Stoughton in 1939, he found
the Nelson Muffler Company starting an expansion program in
Stoughton, and in January, 1940, he entered the employ of this
company, remaining in Stoughton until 1945.
In September, 1945, in a Piper Cub plane,
he flew to Neillsville with the late C. E. Nelson, president of the
company, and had a "bird’s eye view" of Neillsville, landing
at the airport west of the city to find Herman North, Joe Zilk,
Victor Anderson, and Jess W. Scott, who were representing the
Neillsville Kiwanis Club, there to greet them.
"As we approached the city of Neillsville
from the west on Highway 10," Joe relates, "the impression was
wonderful, and I felt a desire to make Neillsville my future
In November 1945, The Nelson Muffler
Corporation opened a factory in the property now used by
Neillsville Auto-Test, Inc., near the depot, and Joe Ylvisaker was
the plant manager. Alfred Dux, who for many years has been
the efficient shop superintendent, was the first man hired to work
in the new plant.
In 1947, Nelson Muffler transferred to
the former Inderrieden Canning Company plant, near the bowling
alley, where they are located at the present time, the larger space
being needed to accommodate increased production.
Appreciating the steady growth of the
Nelson Muffler business, Robert Harvey, then president of the
Neillsville Chamber of Commerce, approached Mr. Ylvisaker in 1955
to see whether the Chamber could do anything to aid in an expansion
program. Many committee meetings were held and through
efficient planning and hard work, arrangements were made in the
fall of 1956 for a new building to be erected east of the fair
grounds for Nelson Muffler by a newly-organized Neillsville
When C. E. Nelson was killed on May 23,
1956, in an auto accident near Madison, many hearts were saddened
and many wondered what effect this would have on the future of the
Nelson Muffler expansion program in Neillsville. But,
although three was a delay, the program went forward, with Ed
Bryant as president, and Oscar Gusloff, who had been secretary,
stepping up into the vice presidency. Both have been
with the organization since its inception and have proved to be
well-qualified to carry the program forward successfully.
The new building, 120 by 200 feet, with
24,000 square feet of factory space, is nearing completion and
tentative plans are now underway for moving about July
Everyone in the Neillsville area likes
Nelson Muffler; everyone likes Joe and his family; and as Dr. M. V.
Overman stated as he invited a Neillsville resident to invest in
the Neillsville Industrial project: "It is work the investment to
have this leadership and industry in Neillsville." Dr. Mike went on
to say that "an investment in Nelson Muffler is an excellent one
and every family should be represented among the
It was in September, 1937, that Joe
Married Nora Bondehagen at Stoughton and the Ylvisaker family now
consists of Elizabeth (Betty), Mary and Joel, all of whom have
endeared themselves to the business, professional and community
life of Neillsville.
Joe Ylvisaker is a member of Blue Lodge
and chapter of Neillsville Masonry, past member of Neillsville
Kiwanis Club, charter member of Chamber of Commerce, member of
First Congregational Church, former scoutmaster at Stoughton and
Neillsville, member of scout committee, and resides on Clay Street
in the former Walter J. Rush residence.
In speaking of his relations with the
Nelson Muffler plant, Joe said: ‘I think the calibre of the
men working in the Neillsville plant is of the very highest and
this is the reason for the wonderful success in
Joe has proved himself a man of sterling character, pleasing personality, and a booster for the betterment of Neillsville. In like manner, Neillsville citizens will be forever grateful to Nelson Muffler Corporation for locating here and for establishing such a successful community enterprise.
(Response to this obit provided by Don Schutte on 2/16/2010)
JOE WAS FOR NEILLSVILLE AS LONG AS HE COULD GET WORKERS AT 99 CENTS AN HOUR IN 1960. THERE WAS A UNION VOTE AT NELSON MUFFLER AND IT DID NOT GO THRU AND JOE PROMPTLY FIRED 23 WORKERS WHO VOTED FOR THE UNION. AFTER THAT NELSON MUFFLER DOUBLED THE WAGES AND MANY OF THOSE WHO VOTED AGAINST THE UNION CAME OUT AND RETIRED SMELLING LIKE A ROSE ! !
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