Luther S. Olsen

Luther S OlsenLuther S. Olsen was born in Berlin in 1951. He graduated from Berlin High School in 1969 and earned his Bachelor of Science Degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1973. He completed the Wisconsin Rural Leadership Program Group IV in1990-1992.

Senator Olsen was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2004, after serving in the Wisconsin State Assembly for 10 years. He started his public service career as member of the Berlin Area School Board from 1976 to 1997, including holding the office of President of the Board from 1986 to 1995. This position gave him his dedication to the education of Wisconsin’s youth while serving in both of the Wisconsin State Legislature.

The statement “also serves” appears many times in his list of offices and assignments to date. Senator Olsen is not afraid to take a leadership role indicated by the number of “chair” or “co-chair” positions he has held on various Boards, Commissions and Committees.

Senator Olsen’s legislative interests have focused on education, local government, small businesses and children. He is considered one of the most knowledgeable people in the legislature when it comes to the school aid formula and has authored a number of bills making adjustments to the school funding system to better meet the needs of school districts around the state. He has authored laws related to special education, truancy and teacher licensure, among many others. He has advocated for businesses in his district by authoring laws relating to rental units, wineries, mobile homes and tourism. He was the author of the state’s Graduated Driver’s License law, which changed the way teenagers get their driver’s license.

The value the people of Wisconsin and beyond feel for his service is indicated by the number of awards presented to him including several “Legislator of the Year” awards.

His favorite saying: “Livin’ the dream!” indicates how much he enjoys working for the citizens of Wisconsin.

Lucy Smith Morris

Lucy Smith MorrisLucy Smith was born in 1850 in Markesan, WI. She was educated at the Musical Academy in Beaver Dam and the Notre Dame Convent, (now Mount Mary College) in Milwaukee. After teaching school for several years, Lucy married Charles Secor Morris, a young entrepreneur of Berlin.

Lucy Smith Morris achieved many great accomplishments. She was a genius in leadership and successfully brought women together to enrich the quality of their lives, while transforming the worlds of culture and reform.

Lucy recognized the potential power of women’s political influence if they organized statewide. Through her efforts, the Wisconsin Federation of Women’s Clubs was founded in October of 1896. Lucy was elected its first president, and held a lifelong passion for the success of this organization.

Second only to her support for the Women’s Club’s success was her interest in the promotion of libraries. During her tenure as President of WFWC, her club members established over 100 libraries around the State of Wisconsin. She was appointed to the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (later named Wisconsin Library Association) in 1896 by Governor Robert LaFollette, and was one of the first women so appointed. Lucy served as its President for 20 years. For her accomplishments in promoting libraries, Lucy was named to the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2018.

Locally, Lucy was involved in several projects. She was instrumental in the movement to start a hospital in Berlin, and she and her husband financed the first manual training and domestic science departments of the Berlin High School. She actively participated in the suffrage movement of the day, and entertained national leaders in her home when they visited the area.

In 1998 a Wisconsin Historical Society marker was placed in Nathan Strong Park honoring Lucy’s accomplishments.

Her life stands out as an example of courage, honesty and kindness and the City of Berlin would be poorer without her contributions.

M. Jean Walker Bruce, M.D.

Jean Bruce 2018Nominated 2018. Jeanie Walker graduated from Berlin High School in 1960 as valedictorian. She received her BS degree in education from UW-Oshkosh and married Robert Bruce in 1963. She taught in elementary schools in Oshkosh, then in Bozeman, Montana while Robert was in college.

After Robert graduated, they moved to Minnesota and then to the Green Bay area where Jean was a stay-at-home mom and an active volunteer for 13 years. When their youngest child was nearing school age, she began taking courses to become re-certified to teach in Wisconsin. A shortage of teaching jobs, combined with her long-standing interest in health and medicine, led her to take courses in physics, organic chemistry, and genetics in preparation for entrance to medical school. She was accepted into medical school of UW-Madison in 1982.

The family faced a number of challenges in order for Jean to continue her studies. Medical school is difficult enough for a young, single student living in Madison, but especially challenging for a 40-year-old woman with a husband and 3 children living in Green Bay. She persevered and received her MD in 1986.

After completing a family practice residency in 1989, she began considering where to practice. After being gone for 29 years, the Bruces deciding to return to Berlin and Jean went into practice with Dr. Michael Shattuck. After 19 years as a family doctor, she retired in 2008.

Dr. Jean is a dedicated doctor, involved grandmother, activist, and school volunteer who is always willing to lend a helping hand. She is an inspiration to students and to anyone wanting to achieve a particular goal. Jean has shown that with hard work and determination your goals can be accomplished.

Dr. Bruce’s words for the Wall: I am honored to have been nominated and selected to be on the Inspiration Wall. I would like to think I am representing the parents, grandparents, teachers, volunteers, and others who inspire children every day. Being inspired to reach goals is important, but, hopefully, we also inspire children to speak up for what they think is right, to ask questions, to listen, and to consider others and their points of view and their goals as well.

Eugene (Gene) Trochinski

Gene Trochinski 2018Nominated 2018. A 1970 graduate of Berlin High School, Gene Trochinski went on to a 40-year career as teacher, coach and administrator, 36 of them in Orange County, Florida. During his tenure at Dr. Phillips High School he built an athletic program that earned 86 conference titles, 96 district, 22 regional, 10 state and four national championships. He was twice named the Civitan (FL) Wrestling Coach of the Year and was inducted into both the Dr. Phillips High School Athletic Hall of Fame and DPHS Theater Hall of Fame. He taught for 15 years and served in administration positions the next 25 years.

Gene was twice selected as Administrator of the Year in a district with over 200,000 students. DPHS was also selected, during his tenure, as having the top athletic program in the State of Florida. As principal of a high profile school, he was able to travel to numerous states and countries with his school’s Center for International Studies Magnet Program and the Visual and Performing Arts Magnet Programs. Additionally, he had the privilege of training with the Marines at Parris Island and meeting presidents from other countries. A new administration building at DPHS, the Gene Trochinski Building, was named in his honor.

He is testimony to the fact that anyone from a small town can go on to excel in more than one educational area. While at Berlin High School he was a four-time varsity wrestling letterman and captained the team his senior year. During his senior year he won the Reedsburg Tournament, Little 10 and Regional titles, advancing to the WIAA State Tournament. He also participated in wrestling at UW-Oshkosh and in 2018 was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from UW-Oshkosh. He received his Bachelor of Science from UW-O in 1974 and attained his Master’s degree at the University of Central Florida in 1978 and his Educational Leadership degree from the same university in 1990.

Since his retirement, he and his wife, Mary Jo, a teacher for 36 years, have been volunteering at a local elementary school, teaching students to read. Both of their children also became teachers. Gene also mentors new middle and high school principals in Orange County Florida.

Two of his favorite sayings are: “Face it. Nobody owes you a living.”
“What you achieve or fail to achieve in your lifetime is directly related to what you do or fail to do.”

Benedict (Dick) Brooks

Dick Brooks 2018Nominated 2018. The Brooks family moved to Berlin in 1948 when Dick was 19 years old. Dick, his dad, Gary, and brothers, Raymond and Glenn were hard-working entrepreneurs who owned and operated various businesses in Berlin: Wisconsin Tanktainer, Carri Craft Catamarans, Artcraft, Prefinished Wood Products and Brooks Yachts. The catamarans and yachts were considered some of the finest available and captured the interest of movie stars and celebrities of the time.

Always an active participant in civic groups and events, Dick’s true love for people created his passion for contributing to this community. He helped design the Veteran’s Memorial in Riverside Park, was involved with the Berlin Veteran’s Foundation, single-handedly painted the American Legion Hall, sang with the Senior Singers, volunteered at All Saints Parish/School, and was a long-time member of the American Legion, Knights of Columbus and Berlin Jaycees.

Dick left his creative mark in memorable ways as he supported the Berlin Booster Golf Outing, Helping Hands for Cancer 5K, 4th of July Duck Race, Senior Triathlon, the annual River Raft Regatta, and even the memorable “Dude Looks Like a Lady” fundraiser. He portrayed ‘Uncle Sam’ in community parades where he was perched at the top of the fire department ladder truck. Dick always believed in staying active and played in the Berlin Softball League and with the Oshkosh Comets Semi-Pro Football Team. He earned awards at various athletic events into his 80’s and was waterskiing at the age of 85.

The Honoree made a positive impact in a fun and giving manner, through hard work and being kind. He was not only an inspiration to the Berlin community, but most importantly to his family; Leanne, his wife of 61 years, their six children and their spouses, and their 15 grandchildren. His ‘family’ didn’t stop there. He spread his laughter and love to all who crossed his path and was truly known by all as the one and only “Grandpa Dick”.

His life’s motto: Happiness!