Fotos from the Past
Fotos from the Past
Researched by Michael J. Caylor Jr.
A timber wolf, illegally shot in Lincoln County this past November, will remain in the area it was taken. DNR wildlife manager William Meier reports the animal was shot in deer management unit 32 in western Lincoln County during the 1979 gun deer season. With a large financial donation from the Lincoln County Sportsman’s Club the mounted wolf will be on display at the Merrill School Forest Natural History Museum.
Winter sports are wrapping up, and the Merrill Blue Jay wrestling team took second at the sectional meet this past Saturday in Chippewa Falls and will now send three boys to state this week. Ellsworth took first place and will send six boys south. Merrill’s Steve McHenry, Todd Wiederhoeft, and Al Renken will all compete in the UW Field House starting Friday afternoon. The girls’ basketball team knocked off Marshfield on Friday night and have finished the season 9-7. They will face Wausau East in regional action tomorrow night in Merrill; East finished the season third in the Valley with a 12-4 record. The boys also cemented a winless season for the Marshfield Tigers after posting an 86-59 victory in that city this past Friday. The 9-6 Jays will host Rhinelander on Friday for their last game of the regular season. Wausau East leads the Valley this year while Marshfield finished last with a 0-15 record.
Tomorrow morning at 10:00 AM marks the opening of Merrill’s newest supermarket, John’s United Foods. John Eckman is the storeowner; he has spent the last 25 years in the grocery business running the former Bob’s Food King at that same location. Eckman purchased the store from his former boss Bob Benzsehawel of Stevens Point, and now his employees and distributors are busy preparing the store for its grand opening. The store will be the first in the area to feature a deli and a mix and bake bakery. A full-page ad shows Eckman, his wife Ann, and his managers Mark Juhlke, assistant store manager, Mark Voigt, frozen and dairy, Phyllis Zuelsdorff, produce, and Earl Carlson, meat manager.
A man known as Mr. Silver M has died. Otto Bacher, 94, passed away Monday at Pine Crest Nursing Home. Bacher came to the United States and settled in Merrill at the age of 11. Dropping out of school in the sixth grade, Otto did not speak much of any English and became a child labor worker at sawmills on the west side of town. Befriended by residents of Merrill, Otto learned to speak English fluently and eventually returned to school. He was a standout in sports and earned his first football letter in 1914 and became the first Merrill student to be a state champion in track. When he graduated from MHS in 1916 Otto attended college in Stevens Point before taking a job in Hawkins and then Green Bay East where he taught history and became the football coach. His assistant, Curly Lambeau who had recently left Notre Dame, became a little better known in that sport. Bacher has said he did not recall any of the season records for his Green Bay teams but noted he and Lambeau often had trick plays which led to success. Bacher worked in the aircraft industry during WWII and went back to teaching after the war. When he retired his fondness for his hometown brought him back to Merrill where he became involved in the Silver M club, eventually becoming their president. He received his Diamond M in 1989 and became known in the local school circles as a pep rally regular who always ate dinner with the football team before the big game. The Otto Bacher Invitational which began in 1986 is one of many signs that although Bacher may have died his legacy and spirit will live on in Merrill. “Our Jays will shine tonight.”
Bacher’s death cast a pall over the annual Silver M awards banquet which was held on Monday night. Coach Greg Schofield, who is recovering from a stroke, was able to attend the banquet and was the highlight of the season. Pete Deates was named defensive stand out while Jeff Bonnell was the offensive top player.
Here is a sign of spring, the Dairy Queen is now open.
The Wisconsin State Medical Society has honored Dr. Jack Millenbah, retired Merrill physician, for his 50 years in contributions to medicine. Millenbah recalls his early years and how his solo practice required many long hours. House calls were the norm back then, and Millenbah spent many late nights traveling to check on patients. He said the most satisfying part of his career is watching the 3500 + babies he delivered grow up. Despite being retired Millenbah is still active in the local medical society; he and Dr. Walter Lewinnek are the only Lincoln County physicians to attain lifetime status in the state medical society.