News: Neillsville - Chamber Fetes Locals (Dodte/Seif - 1980)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Seif, Dodte, Karnitz, Wasserburger, Schmitz, Lulloff, Grap, Miller, Mallegni, Rakestraw, Kirsch, Gesche, Poeschel, Becker, Barth, Roberts

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 10/16/1980

Neillsville Chamber Fetes Locals (Dodte/Seif - 1980)

A longtime farmer and a longtime businessman were honored, Monday evening, at the annual banquet of the Neillsville Chamber of Commerce.

Given special recognition were Dale Seif, a farm implement dealer, and Bernard Dodte, rural Neillsville farmer. Ken Karnitz in presenting the awards to the men stated that they had been “real assets to the area.”

Karnitz pointed out that with the demise of the Wasserburger Store in Neillsville, Seif’s business was the oldest continuing firm in the city. Seif, who was born and raised in Neillsville, followed in his grandfather’s footsteps in the farm implement operation and has been associated with the company for 53 years. The last 21 years he has been the owner.

“He was there when people needed him, Karnitz said about Seif.

Seif stated that the award came as a “complete surprise.”

Also sharing the spotlight was Bernard Dodte, 89, a lifelong farmer.

Dodte was born and raised on the same Rt. 5 farm that he resides on to this day. Although leaving the brunt of the farming to others, he still remains active by doing chores, repairing machinery and cutting wood for winter. Dodte, gets around with the assistance of a cane.

Karnitz explained that Dodte was the second person in the area to raise purebred dairy cattle. That effort began in 1923. Bernard was married in 1931.

Dodte said that he had “trouble in fining words,” but he had a “habit of borrowing expressions from other people.” He then told a humorous story to the capacity crowd that ended with relating his award to “the spirit in which it was sent.”

Attending the event with Seif and Dodte were their wives. Held at the Wildcat Inn, the chamber function also included special recognition for Henry and Leo Wasserburger, who recently announced the closing of their Seventh Street store after decades of operation. It was the second time in three years that the Wasserburger brothers had been honored by the chamber. Also honored were members of the Neillsville Winter Carnival Committee.

Norm Foster, president of the chamber, revealed in his remarks that the organization has not had a sterling year. When it came to whether the chamber progressed, he said, “I am not sure I can say that.” He pointed out that memberships had declined in the organization and that one of his prime objectives was (getting a permanent chamber office and part-time secretary) “didn’t work out that way.”

Foster stated that gossip in the community had inferred that the chamber of commerce was in financial trouble. “The chamber is not broke,” he told the listeners. He also listed his hopes for future years for the organization and they again included a permanent office, paid staff and closer ties with industrial development efforts in the city.

The president listed a number of accomplishments for the chamber. They included an Easter egg hunt, Christmas movies and Candy, athletic banquet, promotion for an aerobatic show, a new sign on the west side of the city, an active retail committee, the efforts of Mr. and Mrs. LaMar Schmitz at Christmas time, tourism promotion increased and sponsoring Miss Neillsville.

Robert Lulloff, mayor and merchant, served as master of ceremonies for the event. Wayne Grap offered the table grace prior to the chicken and beef dinner.

Members of the present board of directors for the chamber are Lyle Miller, Sandy Mallegni, Bruce Rakestraw, Ken Karnitz, Harry Kirsch, Lowell Gesche, Darrell Poeschel, LaMar Schmitz and Terry Becker. Serving as officers besides Foster are Bob Barth, vice president and Kathy Roberts, secretary-treasurer.



© Every submission is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.


Show your appreciation of this freely provided information by not copying it to any other site without our permission.


Become a Clark County History Buff


Report Broken Links

A site created and maintained by the Clark County History Buffs
and supported by your generous donations.


Webmasters: Leon Konieczny, Tanya Paschke,

Janet & Stan Schwarze, James W. Sternitzky,

Crystal Wendt & Al Wessel