With pride we present this Inspiration Wall dedicated to the men and women who called Berlin home and whose achievements have benefited their profession, sport, business or the citizens of this earth.
It is hoped that these brief biographical sketches will provide incentive to the students of Berlin, to learn more, to aim for like values, to believe in their own potential, and to reach for the stars. Challenges in the future are many. The accomplishments of these and future honorees are presented as motivation and inspiration for everyone to believe in themselves and go the extra mile.
The project, “Be Proud, Be Inspired” is a joint effort with the Berlin Area Historical Society and the Berlin Area School System.
Nominated 2016. Lumberjack, Farmer, Machinist, Foundryman, Engineer, Inventor, Auto dealer. A man with many interesting stories to tell is Theodore H. Fortnum, more commonly known by his friends as “Tim” so stated an article in a February 1961 issue of the Berlin Journal. Tim was born August 28, 1874 on a farm at Green Lake center, the 9th child of an immigrant family who came to the U.S. from England. He attended a country school up to 8th grade but continued his love of learning with correspondence courses, reading, and life...read more
Nominated 2016. Mark G. Doll graduated from Berlin High School in 1967. He earned a B.A. in Finance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1971 and a M.B.A. degree in 1975. The son of a former Berlin High School principal, Mark was born in Berlin the oldest of three children. He credits his teachers (including his dad, George) with giving him a great base to learn. Following his undergraduate degree, Doll started at Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. in the investment department and worked there in various roles for the next 40...read more
Nominated 2016. Beverly Ann graduated from Berlin High School in 1948. She attended Oshkosh State Teacher’s College and graduated from Palm Beach Junior College in West Palm Beach, Florida. What started out as a little girl’s dream of dancing became a life-long passion and avocation for Beverly. She began taking lessons at the age of eight and continued to adulthood. All during this time she took every opportunity to perform for family and friends. Another talent she developed was learning to play the marimba. In 1942 she appeared...read more
Nominated in 2015.Robert Wright was a member of one of the early families of Berlin, the first one arriving here in 1853. Through all the generations the Wrights held a keen interest in community and worked for its betterment. Robert, of the fourth generation, was no different. After graduating from Berlin High School in 1920, he spent about two years at Beloit College and then went to work for Blair & Co. of Chicago, (an investment company) from 1925 to 1929 until the stock market crashed. In 1930, he and his father, Fred W. Wright...read more
Christine Stark Christepherson graduated from Berlin High School in 1975. She went on to earn a B.A. in music education at St. Olaf College serving as co-concert Mistress of the St. Olaf Orchestra during her time there. An accomplished violinist, she had been a member of the Oshkosh Civic Symphony during grades 7 to 12 honing her skills and experiences. “Mrs. C surely was a force for the good parts of life.” “Mrs. C. made me the person I am today.” These quotes, attributed to Christine, are just a sample of the many from former...read more
Nominated in 2015. After graduation from Berlin High School in 1936, Ben Seaman was working in a factory in Milwaukee when the 2nd World War began. Because that industry was essential to the war effort his entry into the U.S. Navy was delayed. It was while he was on ship in the South Pacific that he read about a new car to be built and sold in the “States.” He wrote to the Kaiser-Frazer company asking about a franchise. He got his answer at another port and the Berlin native became an automobile dealer. Thus, the West Side Garage was born....read more
Nominated 2014 Rolf Peterson graduated from Berlin High School in 1957. Not having an interest in college, he joined the Navy. While serving his country he began to realize he had the intelligence to go to college. After the Navy he enrolled at Oshkosh State College (now UW-Oshkosh). He received a Bachelor of Science Degree and then went on to graduate school at the U. of Iowa. His first year was very difficult and he was on probation and then failed his first dissertation defense. With determination he pressed on and later had his M.A. thesis...read more
Nominated 2014 David C. Good graduated from Berlin High School in 1966. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree from UW-Madison and later his M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) from that school. He spent his residency at the University of Minnesota Hospital, Minneapolis, in Neurology. He is an academic neurologist and has been Professor and Chair of Neurology at Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pa. since 2004. Previously he served on the faculty of Southern Illinois University in Springfield and Wake Forrest University in Winston-Salem, N.C....read more
Nominated 2014 George L. Hess Jr. graduated from Berlin High School in 1955 and served four years in the United States Air Force, later receiving his Bachelor of Science Degree from UW-Oshkosh. From 1960 to 1962 he worked in the electronics field in Buffalo N. Y. and then in Oak Creek, WI on the Modular Guidance System in the U.S. Space Program. In 1962 he joined the C.A. Chier Sand Co. as a partner with his father-in-law, Cliff Chier and brother-in-law, Russell Chier. In 1979, he and Russ co-founded the family owned business now known as...read more
Nominated 2014 Russ Chier learned the meaning of hard work and responsibility by working in the family business, C. A. Chier Sand Co. owned by his father, Clifford Chier. After graduating from Berlin High School in 1955 he went into the business full time learning all aspects of the operation. By the early 1960s he became a partner along with his brother-in-law, George Hess. When Cliff Chier retired the two men incorporated the company (Chier Sand) and in 1979 co-founded Badger Mining Corporation taking it from a local and then regional...read more
Nominated 2013 Alfred James Treder, and family moved to Berlin when he was 5 years old. He has worked various aspects of space and missile Guidance & Control systems for over 50 years, from conceptual design through development and flight. Since the early 1990s he has been a key player in the specification and development of the Guidance, Navigation and Control subsystem for the United State’s part of the International Space Station. His primary responsibility was making sure the Station met its pointing accuracy requirements. Treder...read more
Nominated 2013 All three men, father and two sons attended Berlin schools. They were involved in the C.A. Peck Hardware Co. and Peck’s Hardware Manufacturing Co. Fred drew the patterns for the first rural mailboxes which are still used today. Their involvement in the hardware business led them to help organize the Wisconsin Retail Hardware Association and the National Hardware Association. C.A. and later Louis, served as President for both organizations and had their offices on the second floor of their building on the southwest corner of...read more
Nominated 2013 Judy LaBuda graduated from Berlin high School in 1975. She went on to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Education from University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she graduated with Distinction and a Masters Degree in Behavioral Disabilities – Rehabilitation Counseling Psychology also from UW-M. From 1981 to 1989, Labuda worked as a rehabilitation counselor, rehabilitation supervisor and later regional director for IntraCorp. She earned a third degree, Juris Doctorate (law) from the University of Colorado School of...read more
Nominated 2013 Tom Klein was a 1953 Berlin High School graduate. As a sophomore, he was injured in a high school football game that left him a quadriplegic for the rest of his life. Prior to the accident he was an outstanding athlete in grad school and high school, earning varsity letters as a freshman. Despite his injury he became a successful sports and news reporter for the Berlin Journal and the Oshkosh Northwestern for many years. At one time he covered Berlin sporting events in his motorized wheelchair attending all the sporting events...read more
Nominated 2013 After graduating from Berlin High School in 1973, Julie continued her education earning a Bachelor of Arts in Classics (the study of antiquity) at St. Olaf College and went on to earn her Masters Degree in Divinity in 2012. She has been an entrepreneur and business owner since 1980. Julie started her collectibles design as the co-owner/designer/sculptor at Good-Kruger Dolls Inc. from 1980 -2000, selling dolls both nationally and internationally and earning numerous awards. She has been a free-lance designer for famous companies...read more
Nominated 2013 This 1982 graduate of Berlin High School went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from UW-Platteville. It is his sideline/hobby that has earned him the title of “World Champion” and gained him a strong reputation in powerlifting. Using weightlifting as a training tool during high school and college sports, he entered his first Bench Press competition in 1989 on a dare. The next year he competed in his first National Championship and finished 4th. Since then he has been 13 times USA Powerlifting Drug...read more
Nominated 2013 Connie graduated from Berlin High School in 1965 and went on to receive her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from UW Madison. She continued her education receiving a MSN at DePaul University, EdD from Northwestern Illinois Univ., Physical Assessment program at Loyola University School of Medicine, Labor Management program at Univ. of San Francisco School of Business, and Executive MBA from Harvard. She has made a career of being a Nurse Professor at several universities; Dean at the Medical College of Wisconsin; Entrepreneur; and...read more
Nominated 2013 After serving as Senior Class President and graduating from Berlin High School in 1956 and then Northwestern University in 1960, Jim Carey was not sure where life was going to take him. Then the war in Vietnam and the draft board helped make that decision for him and intent on doing his duty to his country, he joined the Navy in 1962, graduating from Officers Candidate School as ENSIGN Carey, and made two overseas deployments to the South China Sea and Vietnam aboard U.S.S. TOPEKA. He returned to start a business career in...read more
Nominated 2013 Born in Berlin, Wisconsin in 1890, the son of a Scottish stone cutter, Donald L. Brown was an early innovator of aviation, having been involved with the development and building of aircraft engines in aviation’s early years. Although he was a hard worker, it took Brown some time to find his calling. As a young man, he worked an assortment of jobs, including newspaper carrier, journalist, store clerk, assembly worker and steel worker. After attending Northwestern University, he started his engine development career as head of...read more
Nominated 2013 William Blakefield graduated from Berlin High School in 1935 and Ripon College in 1939, later serving in the Army from 1939 to 1978. He was the first commanding general of Army Readiness Region III and deputy commanding general, 1st U.S. Army, Fort George C. Mead, Md. Later he served at the Pentagon, on a White House Select Presidential Committee. His service included acting as an advisor to the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force, as commander of a group in Korea and principal advisor to the Turkish Army in Turkey. He assumed...read more