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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Tales from the old-timer

Sad News for the Old-Timer



The Peshtigo Times got an E-Mail from a young man who is the grandson of Bob Sielaff, a very old friend from the days when I chummed around with Bob, Freddy Kottke, Bill Mellen and Eddie LeVeille. It read “I hope someone from my family has gotten hold of David, the Old-Timer, who writes for your paper, but my grandfather, Robert Sielaff, was good friends with him when they were kids and older as they played football at PHS.

Well, Robert died in his sleep Thursday afternoon and I thought David would like to know that and I don’t know how else to contact him. Your paper should be getting the obit soon since he was born there and will be put at Riverside Cemetery at some point.”

Another dear friend picked off by the eternal sniper, and there have been many.

The Sielaff home was a social wonderland, with Ralph, Grace, Ruth and Bob attracting many friends to drop in and Ma and Pa Sielaff were jolly souls, who welcomed all of us at all times. No knocking at the door was required. Pa Sielaff was about 6 foot four and worked at the Pulp Mill. He went fishing in the river in his rowboat on fine days, and Ma Sielaff always had a smile of welcome and treats for teenaged visitors.

Bob worked at the Badger Pulp Mill, and married Yvonne Valliere, daughter of a local barber. He soon got bored with his life at the mill and got into the banking business at the Peshtigo National Bank, as did Yvonne. They migrated to a bank in Menomonee Falls, and that was both of their careers until retirement.

It’s tough to lose so many old friends, tough and painful. We old-timers all know that everyone is mortal, and every living organism is born under an indeterminate death sentence, but each loss like this reminds us of it.

We all had happy times together and enjoyed our week-long stays at Thompson’s cottage upstream on the Peshtigo River every summer. We enjoyed our high school conversations and gossip about who was taking who to the annual junior prom and all the other stuff at school, at home and at each other’s homes.

I am grateful to Jon Miller, Bob’s grandson, for letting us know, and I phoned Bill Mellen of Milwaukee yesterday with the sad news. This article will inform the dozens of other of Bob and Yvonne’s old friends in town.


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Peshtigo Times
841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
Email:
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