Small Town Boy Grows Up


As a boy, horses, cutting wood with the neighbors, working on my father's old foreign cars dominated my free time. We were the last people to own horses within the city limits. We didn't have a trailer, so we rode our horses to the county fair every year. Delivering the Milwaukee Journal at twelve was my first crack in the publishing business and my first job.

I graduated from High School in 1969, the year of the Moon Landing. Of course, I was interested in this, because I had been a member of the Civil Air Patrol for a time. I lived in Madison and took pre-college courses at the downtown MATC. That was during the peak of the Vietnam War and welfare rights marches. Once in a while we could smell tear gas in the classrooms.

A friend of mine and I took a long slow trip to California in a beat up old Chevy, where we stayed on the beaches of Santa Monica for a time. We soon traveled to San Francisco, where we worked various temporary jobs and made enough to afford an apartment. Work dried up a few months later as the great energy crunch hit and the country rolled into recession.

When I got back, I went to UW Whitewater, where I worked at the University radio station and took a wide variety of courses, including journalism, theater and photography. Of these, journalism was my last and favorite. We had some terrific teachers, and it tied in with my work at the radio station where I was assistant promotion director.

Nonetheless, I had to drop out to find work. A few years later found me married, starting out with 2 children. With my college experience, I was hired by Kerr McGee Refining Corporation to run a Deep Rock gas station in Fort Atkinson. In those days, regular leaded gas was only 35 cents. We had mini-serve. That meant that we pumped the gas for you. It was a great job in the summer, but when winter got its grip, long-johns alone were not sufficient defense from the bitter Wisconsin cold.

It was about this time when I married Theresa Gutermuth, my first wife. She had two children, Christopher and Michelle.

When the company began to convert all of its stations to convenient stores, I found myself out of work for a time. That was when I began my career as an auto technician. Harry Bouvre had just opened up a Firestone tire store just down the road from the now-closed Deep Rock. I worked for Harry for 7 years, then moved to another ma-pa garage in Whitewater, where Merlin Hare fixed radiators. I worked at M&R Service for over 12 years. In 1980, my son son, Mark, Jr. was born.

Terrie and I parted ways in 1989. For 3 more years, I worked in Whitewater and continued to own my home in Fort Atkinson.

In 1993, I sold my house and Mark, Jr. and I moved to Platteville, where I enrolled as a Technology Education major. I tried to learn as much as I could about computers. I became involved with a variety of activities while there, among them:

In 1996, I graduated and took a position in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where I took a hand at teaching. I taught middle and high school industrial arts, drafting, woods and small engine repair.

One year later I moved back to Fort Atkinson, where my son graduated from high school. I worked for a time at Havill Spoerl Ford, before I started a handyman business and a karaoke show.

I concluded the repair business and began working as a pressman at the Daily Jefferson County Union in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin in 2003. The grueling bindery work finally got the best of me and I went back to fixing cars late in 2009. I am now fleet mechanic and service manager for Brown Cab and Running, Inc. who together own cab companies in 25 cities.

While going to college in Platteville, I frequently drove to Milwaukee to take care of my Grandmother Brauer, my mother's mom. I would stay overnight in Fort Atkinson, going to church at the Episcopal church I grew up in. There I met Marianne Hemphill. We dated briefly and hit it off like billiard balls. Well, we DID like each other, but it seemed as there were so many things in the way.

But fate would have it's way. While working on the Daily Union press who should walk into the shop, but Marianne! It took only a few short conversations and we were right where we left off. On March 7, 2008 we came before the Lord and pledged our lives to each other and Him. Marianne has 2 wonderful children, Gloria and Clarence.

My hobbies have settled down to clock repair, web page design and working with Citroens and their friends.

And of course, I enjoy my family. Christopher has two children, Joshua and Samantha. Michelle has two, Ryder and Jacob. Mark Jr. and his wife Renee have two, Emily and Caleb. Gloria and her husband Steve have one, Jodi and are expecting. Clarence recently graduated from Iowa State.

Modified, March 29, 2013