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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Peshtigo Chamber Annual Awards Banquet Sunday

Issue Date: March 21, 2013

Four honorees will be saluted for their 2012 efforts and achievements at the Peshtigo Chamber of Commerce Richard Roland Persons of the Year Awards Banquet Sunday, March 24 at Schussler’s Supper Club in Peshtigo. Cash bar will be open at 5 p.m., with dinner and awards starting at 6 p.m. Recognition will also be given to Chamber of Commerce directors and new members.

The Peshtigo Chamber of Commerce began an annual recognition award tradition in 1976 when Linus Seger, pharmacist, was honored as Person of the Year. The award was later changed to the Richard Roland Recognition Award in memory of Richard Roland, a Certified Public Accountant, who was active in community affairs. His community involvement included Director of the Chamber, Director of Peshtigo Lions Club, and Secretary of the Peshtigo Area Development Partnership, Inc. He also served as Treasurer of Peshtigo Little League, coached Babe Ruth League and was Peshtigo Cub Scouts Cubmaster. He served during Vietnam action as a Lt. Junior Grade in the U.S. Navy and died unexpectedly at the age of 48 on Jan. 15, 1992.

The nominees and areas selected are:

Spiritual: Clergy, staff or volunteers in ministries associated with the religious community.



Barbara Walters

Barbara Walters, 170 N. Emery Ave., Peshtigo, has been involved in church activities nearly her whole life. Born on April 20, 1954 to the late Bob and Shirley Pearce, after graduating in 1972 from Peshtigo High School, she received her nursing degree from UW-Oshkosh in 1976.

On June 19, 1976 she married Rick Walters at St. Mary’s Church in Peshtigo. The couple has two daughters, Dawn, 32, who teaches special education in Marinette, and Danae, 28, who is employed at University Hospital in Madison in the lung research area.

A member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Peshtigo, she has been an organist there for 35 years, is choir director, on the Worship Committee, and plans all music for SS. Joseph and Edward Church in Walsh and St. Mary’s Church in Peshtigo. She has taught Religious Education and the Bethel Bible Series, and was on the Parish Council.

In 1975 Walters began working at PineView Health Center as a Certified Nursing Assistant while in college. After graduating from UW-Oshkosh, she stayed on at PineView as a registered nurse. In 1993 when PineView became Rennes Health Care, she was named Director of Nursing. She has served as administrator at Rennes-East since 1998.

Walters said she is honored and humbled to receive the Chamber award. She added that faith is very important to her, and she tries to live faith with her family and at work. She said Sister Helen Plum has inspired her how to deal with families during difficult times. Walters said she tries always to treat people the way she would like to be treated.

Her nominator stated, With the changes in the parish over her many years of service, with the person or persons in authority and the many volunteers that walk through our doors, she has remained a true Christian in working together. She is not one to complain and is so dependable to all of her commitments.

In her spare time, Walters loves to golf and read.

Youth Activities: Those who work with young people in a community setting such as coaches, scouting, and/or 4-H leaders, and volunteers in support of youth activities.



Lyle and Cheryl Lange

Involved in youth activities for many years, Lyle and Cheryl Lange live at N3368 River Bend Dr., Peshtigo. Lyle was born May 13, 1961 to the late Lloydell and Dorothy Lange, and Cheryl was born Sept. 9, 1963 to Walter and Serena Dzurick of Porterfield.

Lyle is a 1979 graduate of Marinette Catholic Central High School, and then graduated from Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton with a degree in Electronics. He has been employed for 14 years as a service technician by Northeast Photocopy (NEP) of Appleton, covering Marinette, Menominee and Oconto counties.

Cheryl is a 1981 graduate of Marinette High School, graduated from UW-Stevens Point in 1985 with a bachelor degree in Elementary Education, and received her masters degree from Viterbo College at LaCrosse in 1992 in Education. Since graduating from college, Cheryl has taught in the Peshtigo School District and presently is a 3rd grade teacher at Peshtigo Elementary Learning Center.

The couple was married on June 16, 1990 at St. Mary’s Church in Peshtigo where they are still members. They have three children, Stephanie, 18, who attends UW-Milwaukee, Timothy, 16, a sophomore at Peshtigo High School, and Alexander, 12, a 6th grader at Peshtigo Elementary Learning Center.

Lyle is a member of the Knights of Columbus, Peshtigo Gun Club, Trout Unlimited and National Wild Turkey Federation. When he isn’t working with one of his organizations he enjoys hunting and fishing.

Cheryl has been involved in Cub Scout Pack 4054 for 10 years. Her major role was being a den leader for 5 years. She also organized Family Camp at various parks, annual Pinewood Derby, and Blue and Gold Banquet. She was previously assistant director in elementary plays at Peshtigo Elementary Learning Center and has also taught Faith Formation and catechism at St. Mary’s Parish on and off for many years.

Lyle was treasurer of Cub Scout Pack 4054 for 3-1/2 years, assistant Cub Master for 3 years, worked sound and lighting for Peshtigo High School and Peshtigo Elementary Learning Center plays for 26 years, did sound and lighting for Christmas programs at St. Mary’s School, and he is the woodworkers handyman of Pack 4054. He also worked with the annual Pinewood Derby and Blue and Gold Banquet. He was also the cook at Cub Scout Camp. Never hot dogs, scouts have been blessed, according to nominators, with wonderful meals like homemade spaghetti, Chinese stir-fry, and turkey dinner with all the fixings. Not to mention he constructed a homemade charcoal burning oven, in which he makes homemade bread to go with every meal.

The couple are also both involved with Boy Scout Troop 1054.

The Langes stated that through their involvement in Scouting they have made many close friends, and scouting is a very family oriented organization.

According to a nominator, Lyle lives by the motto, There’s no such thing as a bad day, every day is a good day. It’s just what level ‘good’ is today!

When asked what they thought of the honor received, they said they were surprised, very honored and humbled.

Education: Teachers, aides, or administrators in public or private school or business people, parents, or others who have worked to improve education.



Lisa Grenier

Lisa Grenier, a Special Education teacher at Peshtigo School District, lives at 1219 Pierce Ave., Marinette. She was born Oct. 1, 1976 to Al and Jean Saunier in Marinette, and graduated from Menominee High School in 1995. After attending UW-Marinette, she graduated in 2000 from UW-Oshkosh with a degree in Special Education.

On July 11, 1998 she married Eric Grenier at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Menominee. The couple has two daughters, Skyler, a 6th grader, and Lynsey, a 4th grader, both in the Peshtigo School District.

After college she began her career in Special Education at the Peshtigo School District.

When asked how receiving this award made her feel, Grenier said, she feels very proud and rewarded for doing something that she loves to do. Each day starts out fresh, there is no typical day for her. Her work involves one on one teaching, small group teaching, social aspects and outings with her students.

The main academic classes she teaches are reading, math, and written language. Most are for students with academic delays. She credits two paraprofessionals who work with her. Their support has given her the ability to expand the program.

One of her nominators stated, She treats her students with respect and advocates for them when she sees that changes are needed. Another stated, She has shown her teaching ability by handling some of the more challenging students, and giving them the greatest chance for success possible. A third nominator said, She is their lifeline and she treats them with respect.

Grenier is a member of St. Mary Church in Peshtigo where she teaches catechism, and is a leader for Girl Scout Troop 4343 in Peshtigo. She enjoys vacationing with her family, loves pets, and takes a lot of walks.

Business: Business people who have served their communities through developing employment opportunities, providing assistance to other businesses, or volunteering time and expertise.

Peshtigo Times

For over 80 years the Peshtigo Times family has been printing the news and promoting businesses and community events for Peshtigo and surrounding areas. It all started on Aug. 1, 1929, when Leo J. Pesch, better known as L.J., and his brother-in-law, Martin J. Smith, bought Peshtigo’s weekly newspaper from J. L. Dahlen. That publication was in fact the descendant of two earlier newspapers in Peshtigo - the old Peshtigo Times which had been started in 1877, and then the Peshtigo Argus.

Two years later Pesch acquired sole ownership and eliminated New from the newspaper’s name. He and his descendants have been running the firm’s publishing and printing business ever since.

Under his leadership as owner, editor and publisher, the weekly newspaper has won countless awards from the Wisconsin Press Association for its quality news coverage, photography, editorials and advertising. Boasting the largest circulation of any weekly newspaper in Wisconsin north of Milwaukee, the Peshtigo Times has carries the name of its home city every week to over 15,000 homes and businesses in all corners of the globe.

Starting in business in the darkest days of the Depression was a challenge that Pesch overcame by investing countless hours of hard work, and by drafting all four of his children to work in the family business as soon as they were old enough.

L. J. Pesch was born July 26, 1904 to John and Mary (Schrantz) Pesch in a farmhouse on Hale Road, next door to the one-room Hale Road School, which he attended until 6th grade. He learned about the newspaper and printing business as an employee of the Appleton Post Crescent.

On Aug. 24, 1925 he married the former Anna M. Smegoski. They had five children, Mary Ann Gardon, Leo Pesch, Jr., Carol Schubart, and Patricia Schneider. Their first child, Nicholas, died at birth.

In 1976 Pesch was honored as Man of the Year by Marinette Council of American Legion Posts at its annual banquet for promoting the American Legion and its activities through the Peshtigo Times. He was particularly proud to have had the honor of interviewing John F. Kennedy during his pre-presidential primary campaign in 1960. After 52 years of maintaining an outstanding newspaper and printing service, Leo J. Pesch was laid to eternal rest on June 2, 1981 after battling a lung disease. His family members continue to run the Peshtigo Times and continually seek better ways to service their customers.

Mary Ann Gardon, Pesch’s oldest daughter, started working at the Peshtigo Times at the age of nine and was on the payroll for 10 cents an hour. At age 14 she began helping with the bookkeeping and in one capacity or another she has been part of the family business for many years.

Her brother Leo, better known as JR or Lucky Leo, was an award-winning sports editor and photographer for the family newspaper over many years, and continued in that role until his death in 2004. He was named to the Wisconsin Newspaper Association’s (WNA) Hall of Fame in 2006. The WNA bulletin said Lucky Leo’s predictions of game outcomes were so accurate that coaches used them in their pre-game team pep talks. He devised a system of keeping running scores in such a way that vivid reports of games could be written from a sheet of statistics tabulated and submitted by game scorekeepers. He also had a talent for creating gently teasing nicknames for area sports personalities and their teams - names like Ranger Mountain, Coach Whatshisname, Elephant Backfield, Kangaroo Kid, Flea, and more. His photos, whether sports or news, also often revealed his flair for gentle humor.

Sister Carol, now deceased, became a nurse, but her husband, Jim Schubart, known to his friends as Big Jim, handled advertising for the newspaper until he passed away in 2002.

The youngest Pesch daughter, Patricia Schneider, retired from full time employment with the family business several years ago, but remains active on a part time basis. Her husband, Ralph, continues to assist with groundskeeping and snowplowing duties.

Mary Ann took over as news editor after her father’s death. Co-workers say she is generally one of the first to arrive in the morning and the last to leave at night. She says she loves to work.

Her husband, Charles Gardon, now semi-retired, also remains active on the writing staff. Of their 11 children, sons Chuck and Mike Gardon carry as officers in the Peshtigo Times family tradition. Everyone in the business, family and employees alike, wear many hats and pitch in to help wherever needed.

Through the years, many of Pesch’s grandchildren have also worked part time at the family business in one capacity or another. There was always a job if they wanted one.

Gardon said the family has also been blessed through the years with good and loyal employees, and without them the business would not have survived. She echoes her father’s philosophy that the most important factors in their business are maintaining and deserving the public trust and protecting the public’s right to know. Staff members are always willing to listen to concerned citizens and will go the extra mile to publicize community projects and bring balanced reporting on political issues everywhere in the newspaper’s circulation area.


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Peshtigo Times
841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
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