As we’ve documented elsewhere on this site, the carriage stone was most likely installed by brewmaster Charles Miller, who built the 22 Morris house in the early to mid-1890s. Miller owned the Mauston Brewery, which operated across Winsor Street on property that backs up to the Lemonweir River. Miller built the home with the finest materials, including stained-glass windows (which are still present in the house).
Rossin included his speculation about the cemetery base in a revision to his history book on the Mauston Brewery. The cemetery stones have the same diamond pattern carved into the sides as the carriage stone (although the Hanneman stone only had the pattern cut into two sides). Perhaps Miller bought a precut base from the Mauston stonecutter, or had one custom-made from granite for use in front of his home. Rossin said when Morris Street was recently torn up for construction work, the carriage stone was moved. When it was put back, it was turned 90 degrees.
In the late 1800s and early 20th century, it was common for dearly departed citizens to be buried under much larger monuments than is typical today. The weight of the monuments required they be set on a heavy base for stability. The bases were often made of the same type of stone as the top section. Monuments were installed on either gravel or a concrete pad.
Rossin also sent us some historical news clippings that make reference to the home at 22 Morris Street. One tells a great story of some area boys who used the carriage stone to climb onto George Cole’s cows and ride them to the pasture near the Mauston Greenhouse. Another clip says construction of what would later be the Hanneman house began in late summer 1893.
Sometimes family history discoveries involve a careful eye, and sometimes a bit of dumb luck. Or, as in this case, a little of both. While searching for some city directory information on the web site of the Cudahy Family Library, I started watching a 36-minute film about life in that suburban Milwaukee County city. Titled “Life in Cudahy,” the film was made in 1938.
About six minutes into the presentation, I spotted a teenage face that looked really familiar. The young man was a mechanic working on a car at Koehler Service. In another shot, he stood in the background as a man and (presumably) his young daughter, look at their vehicle. This just had to be my mother’s older brother, Earl J. Mulqueen Jr. (1923-1980). The film was posted to the library’s YouTube channel. I formatted the excerpt below for wide screen and applied some color correction.
Station attendants wore pinstriped coveralls with Wadhams Oil Company black caps and ties or bowties. It was an era when service stations delivered actual service (with a smile) to every vehicle that came in for fuel: checking fluids and wiper blades and cleaning windows. Koehler’s also offered emergency service, as evidenced by the attendant who drove off on a motorcycle carrying a gasoline can in one hand. This was no doubt before the EPA and OSHA were around to clamp down on potential dangers.
Earl was the second-oldest of the 11 children of Earl J. Mulqueen and the former Margaret Madonna Dailey. The Mulqueen children were taught hard work, so it’s not surprising Earl had a job at age 14 or 15. Money was tight during the Great Depression, so any extra income was no doubt a valued help to the family. My mother, Mary Mulqueen, was 6 or 7 years old at the time the film was made. Earl was either a student at St. Frederick’s Catholic School in Cudahy or a freshman at Pio Nono High School in St. Francis.
Earl was brand new on the job the year the film was made. He worked as an automobile serviceman, according to his U.S. military file. He greased, lubricated and fueled automobiles, assisted with transmission and differential repairs and engine overhauls.
Just a few years after the film was made, Earl enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at the outset of World War II. He went on to fight with the 2nd Marine Division in some of the bloodiest battles of the war, including at Guadalcanal and Tarawa. He lost his left leg in May 1944 when a massive chain-reaction explosion at Pearl Harbor’s West Loch blew up dozens of ships and injured hundreds of sailors and Marines who were preparing for the Allied invasion of Saipan. Dozens were killed.
After returning from the Pacific, Earl spent his last months in the Marine Corps making promotional appearances at War Bond drives around Wisconsin. His accounts of the battles in the Pacific kept audiences spellbound and helped put a number of war-bond drives over the goal line.
After the war, Earl got married and went on to a long career in automotive repair. Once he had recovered enough to begin working, his parents purchased Koehler Service station for him and the name was changed to Earl’s Automotive. This not-so-little detail was shared by my aunt and Earl’s sister, Joan (Mulqueen) Haske. Earl ran the business until about 1960, when he moved his family to Colorado. After his wife Evelyn died of cancer in early 1963, Earl returned to Cudahy to again take up work in automotive service.
It is amazing to think his first job was documented by a film crew in 1938, only to be rediscovered in 2020, 40 years after his death.
Small-town newspaper wedding announcements often provide all sorts of details that might otherwise be lost to history. While scanning a box of photographs I discovered a 1958 clipping about my parents wedding from The Reminder-Enterprise, a weekly newspaper in Cudahy, Wisconsin. The late David D. Hanneman (1933-2007) and the former Mary K. Mulqueen (1932-2018) were married at St. Veronica Catholic Church in Milwaukee. At the time, Mary was a teacher at St. Veronica Catholic School.
The text of the article is below the line, followed by a gallery of photos from the wedding and reception. A memorial Mass will be said for Dave and Mary at 11 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020 at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Catholic Church in Sun Prairie. August 9 is the 62nd anniversary of their wedding.
Miss Mary K. Mulqueen became the bride of David D. Hanneman at St. Veronica’s church on Saturday, Aug. 9, at 11 a.m.
The Rev. Johnson performed the double ring rites as the bride’s father gave her in marriage. Her parents are Mr. and Mrs. E.J. Mulqueen Sr., 3854 E. Cudahy Ave. The groom’s parents are Mr. and Mrs. Carl Hanneman, of Mauston, Wis.
A gown of Cupioni silk, in princess style, was worn by the bride. Panels of Chantilly lace were fashioned in the front and in the back. The back of the skirt extended into a short train. A Sabrina neckline and long sleeves were also featured.
The bride carried white orchids attached to a mother of pearl prayer book. The prayer book was given to her by the sisters of St. Veronica’s parish.
Joan E. Mulqueen was maid of honor for her sister. Bridesmaids were Lavonne Hanneman of Mauston and another of the bride’s sisters, Ruth. They wore aquamarine sheath dresses fashioned of delustred satin with tulip overskirts. They wore aquamarine feather headpieces.
The maid of honor carried yellow spider mums with a rust and yellow mixture of leaves. The bridesmaids carried bouquets of yellow spider mums shaped in a spray. Slippers in the color to match their gowns were worn.
Donn Hanneman of 8518 Stickney Ave. was best man for his brother. Attendants were Thomas Mulqueen of 3723 E. Edgerton Ave. and Jack Richards of Madison. The groom and attendants wore Oxford suits, (black suit coats with gray vests and striped trousers).
Earl J. Mulqueen Jr., Patrick Mulqueen, Thomas McShane and Donald Dailey were ushers.
About 300 guests attended the wedding dinner and reception at the St. Frederick’s hall following the church ceremony. Mrs. August Lachal and the ladies of St. Frederick’s prepared and served all the food.
The young people will live at 3263 E. Layton Ave. when they return from a two week honeymoon in northern Wisconsin and Canada.
The bride attended Cardinal Stritch College and Marquette University. The groom attended La Crosse State College and the University of Wisconsin.
The wedding date proved to be an anniversary date for several members of the families. Ruth Mulqueen, sister of the bride, and Lavonne Hanneman, sister of the groom, both celebrated their 21st birthday on the wedding day. A cousin of the bride celebrated their 20th anniversary on that day. The wedding was also a reunion of Donn Hanneman and Thomas Mulqueen who served together in the U.S. Navy and have not met for 14 years.
There was a time when letters were the primary means of long-distance communication for families and friends. Even short updates were dashed off on a card or a sheet of special stationery. Long-distance telephone calls were expensive and typically reserved for special occasions or emergencies. For family historians, finding old letters can unearth all sorts of details about life way back when. Sometimes the reveal big details, but often the small things that are otherwise lost to time.
I recently scanned a series of letters my mother wrote to her in-laws, my grandparents, Carl and Ruby Hanneman, who lived in Mauston, Wis. At the time, Mom was living in her hometown, Cudahy, Wis. In the first note, she was not yet married to Dad, but in the other ones they were newlyweds. They were married on Aug. 9, 1958 at St. Veronica Catholic Church in Milwaukee, where Mom was a teacher. I’m sure Mom kept up this correspondence beyond 1959, but only these letters survived (no doubt they were kept safe by my Grandma Ruby Hanneman).
The letters reveal that my Dad had a temporary job at Sears before he started his career selling pharmaceuticals. It sounds like it was a bit of a grind with regular night and weekend hours. Sometime in mid-1959, he got a new job in sales. I can’t tell from these letters, but I know back in that time frame Dad started working for E.R. Squibb & Co. Mom and Dad had an apartment on East Layton Avenue in Cudahy, which they later traded for a brick ranch home in Greenfield before moving to Grand Rapids, Mich.
The letters contained some good chuckles, too, like this train wreck of a sentence: “I hope this restful letter finds you all rested, at least a little bit rested, as well as I am rested.” Not what you’d expect from a woman who taught reading. But I considered the possibility that it was intended as a joke.
The regulars mentioned in these letters include my maternal grandparents, Earl J. and Margaret M. Mulqueen; Mom’s younger brother Joey Mulqueen; Dad’s sister Lavonne (Hanneman) Wellman; Evelyn Mulqueen, wife of my Mom’s brother Earl J. Mulqueen Jr.; Donn and Elaine Hanneman (Dad’s brother and sister-in-law); Mom’s sister Ruth (Mulqueen) McShane and her husband Tom; Mom’s sister Joanie (Mulqueen) Haske and her husband Dick; Mom’s sister the nun, Sister Madonna Marie; and Jack Richards, one of three groomsmen in Mom and Dad’s wedding.
The text of the letters is below:
Undated letter (prior to Aug. 1958)
Dear Mr. Hanneman,
I hope you’re fine and dandy – Lavonne and Mrs. Hanneman too! The reason for this little note is to ask a favor of you. Would you please order the man’s matching wedding band & my rings? I don’t know which catalog it was from but it’s an Honor ring. I’m sure Lavonne will know which set it is! As far as size is concerned, Dave’s ring is at Novak’s in Mauston to have the size adjusted. I’m quite sure it’s an eleven. You could check there on size. It’s just the plain silver band. If you run into any difficulty please call me – Sh. 4-5862 any nite about 5:30 or 6:30. I will then pay you as soon as I see you.
Also, my folks will be coming up this week-end if nothing unforeseen comes up. They will leave here about noon on Saturday. Joe would come with them. I don’t know if David & I will get there. We’ve been busy getting our place ready. I got sick from the paint. Ugh!!
Dave is fine – his foot is okay. Last Friday he had a wisdom tooth pulled. Don & Elaine & the kids are fine too. I must close now as I want to get this in today’s mail. I would certainly appreciate you ordering Dave’s ring. If you are unable to get it, I’ll match one as close as possible from a store here in Milwaukee. Tell Lavonne the dresses are in at Boston Store, but there’s no hurry to try hers on. So long for now,
Nov. 11, 1958 (postmark)
Mr. and Mrs. C. Hanneman
22 Morris Street
Hi! Hope all is well with you. Everything is fine down our way. I’m writing this at school at noontime, so one of my “monsters” can run it to a mailbox.
Dave plans on coming up this week-end to get in some deer hunting. We probably will get there on Friday night about 9:00. If for some reason our plans are changed, we will call you.
My mom is doing very well. Will have to leave all news for the week-end, as I don’t have too long a lunch period. Love to you both again.
See you soon,
Mary and Dave
Dec. 31, 1958 (postmark)
Mr. and Mrs. C. Hanneman
22 Morris Street
We rec’d your letter and was glad to hear too you had such a nice trip back. I’m sure you’re quite busy with your newly acquired family. The reason you couldn’t reach us Sunday afternoon was that we went over to Dick’s house while he changed clothes, and then Joanie and Dick and we went to the orphanage and visited with Sister Madonna Marie. She was very lonely for company and we had a nice visit with her and her boys. We came back about 6:00 and made a spaghetti supper. We drew names for the dishes and Joanie & Dick won. It was all Joanie’s idea.
Well, the main reason for my my writing is to inform you that Dave & I won’t be able to be with you this week-end. Hamilton at first said he could even have Friday off, but later changed his mind & said he wanted to take inventory on Friday & Saturday. That means Dave will even work Saturday. We’re disappointed because we did so want to do something different. We may, if he’s not too beat, drive to Madison and see Jack Richards, but even that is just a maybe!
I’m very happy you all enjoyed your visit with us as really the pleasure was all ours. You know you’re welcome anytime. That bed is up permanently, so there’s always plenty of room. I talked to Donn & he & Elaine are cleaning house like mad as long as there are six feet less to be underfoot the broom!!
Today (Dec. 31) Dave is working and I want to go downtown with my mom and just look around, then do grocery shopping, and then press our clothes for the party tonight. I must close now, wishing you & Carl a very Happy New Year filled with the best of health & happiness.
Tell the kids Happy New Year from us too. Carl, here’s to you (drawing of a drink glass) cheers!!! Hope to see you before too long. Still want to ice fish & skate on the Lemonweir!
Apr 29, 1959 (postmark)
Mr. & Mrs. C. Hanneman
22 Morris Street
I’d been intending to write sooner than this as I knew you probably were wondering how the dedication went. Well, all went very well indeed! Sister’s visit also but she was coming down with the flu bug that’s been hitting everybody. I wasn’t feeling too sharp that day either and was sick by ten that night. I missed the first three days of school last week & dragged myself back on Thurs. & Fri. I still have bronchitis or something. I’m seeing the doctor this week-end. Ten children from the class were out today, so that “bug” is really getting around. Some nice sunshine might help the situation, though.
We can’t thank you enough for being so thoughtful to remember to send the films & slides along. We were most anxious. They don’t look too bad at all.
We’ve been very busy with choir rehearsal two nites a week. I’ve had to have a dress made for the concert & had to “run out” for fittings. I’ll be glad when it’s over, because it has involved so much chasing. I’m just not in a “chasing” mood.
Dave & I were both very surprised to hear about Jack Richards. If you hear anything else, let us know.
Dave has been busy at his temporary job & much busier answering ads, having interviews and weighing advantages & disadvantages. Nothing is definite yet & I feel he should take his time, as there’s no reason at all for a rush!
We hope Bob & Ruth Schroeder had a good time here. They seemed to. Too bad both games were called because of rain.
We also hope this letter finds you both feeling well and in good spirits. We haven’t talked to Vonnie yet but should tomorrow (Wed.) or Thursday. Dave doesn’t get home until 6:15 or so, by the time we eat and relax a bit, it’s time for choir. He works nites a few nites a week & Sat. until 6:00. Sometimes we go to choir at 9:30, practice until 11:30 & don’t get home until midnite. We’re both tired.
Ruth & Tom are back from Florida and had a wonderful time.
I must close now and get ready for bed. David is writing a letter to some friends from Davenport, Iowa. This is catch up on letters nite.
I don’t know when we’ll be coming to Mauston since Dave works Saturdays. I may have a Monday off soon & we could come Sun. & Mon. or when the job he wants comes through & he quits Sears. Til then, take good care of yourselves, enjoy life & remember we think of you often! Carl, don’t work too hard – go fishing! Catch me a big one & eat it all!
May 20, 1959 (postmark)
Mr. & Mrs. C. Hanneman
22 Morris Street
I hope this restful letter finds you all rested, at least a little bit rested as well as I am rested. What I’m trying to figure out right now is where the fine line is drawn between resting and being plain lazy!! I’m close to one or the other.
Dave arrived home quite excited about his job and week in Minneapolis, but very tired. He really is impressed with the company, their policies & all the people he’s met. This week he’s working with his boss from Minn. in the Milw. area and doing quite well.
He thinks he will be going up into Green Bay and Escanaba next week, but isn’t too sure. We sold the car to Lou Ehlers Buick (where he bought it) on Monday. On Sun. we picked up his company car. It’s a beautiful bronze Bel-Air Chevrolet. He’s very pleased with it. Tonite we’re having dinner with his boss. They’re letting me pick the spot. I can’t decide where to go, but I want to go someplace where I haven’t been.
I have to get a desk for Dave, take the bed out of the spare room & set him up a place to work with a filing cabinet for his records.
We got our TV back and it works very fine, finally!
Elaine came down for supper last nite. She left the children home. She really seemed to enjoy the evening very much. She looks at bit thin, but says she and the kids feel fine. Donn called her from New York here. The Mason girl sat with the kids.
I must close now and wash my hair & try to make myself beautiful for this evening. Thank you again Vonnie for coming down last week with me. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you.
I probably will be going back to school next week. I hope so. I have to have some blood tests done which will tell exactly how the liver situation is, but I feel pretty good. I hope everybody home there feels fine too! We probably won’t be up to see you folks until the first or second week of June. I will write before then & let you know what’s happening.
Til then, so long. Enclosed is a check for films. Carl, don’t argue about it!! (Teacher speaking)
Sept. 1, 1959 (postmark)
Mr. & Mrs. Carl Hanneman
22 Morris Street
Thought I would write and say “thank you” both again for your generous hospitality shown Joe and myself when we visited you. He really was quite excited telling of the good time he had fishing running the boat on the river!
It’s Monday evening, the end of the month as I write this. It has finally cooled down here. I hope you people have had relief too! Dave’s hay fever has been quite bothersome this past week. But he left for Michigan this a.m., which means he’ll have relief while there.
I had intended to go with him but didn’t, since I’m helping Evie with the new one – (a boy, 9 lb. 3 oz – last Wed.,), a beautiful contented baby. I kept house for her from last Wed. thru Sat. while she was in the hospital. They’ve asked Dave and I to be sponsors this coming Sunday – his name will be Brian David Mulqueen. Also, I didn’t go with him because I’m going to teach 5th grade for a good part of September for a sick teacher, and so I’m busy this week getting the class room in good shape for the big day – September 9.
I hope you’re still coming down over the Labor Day week-end. Would be very nice to return some hospitality to you for a change!!
I’m going to help my mom tomorrow a.m. She’s having her Jesuit mission club for a luncheon. I have plenty to do during the day – but right this moment I’m kind of lonely for Dave. I think though I’ll survive until Friday. Must close now – I hope I hear from you if you don’t come down. We would much prefer the latter!
A group of sparrows perched on the edge of the bird feeder outside Lloyd Miller’s window, pecking at the seeds like there was no tomorrow.
Oblivious to the man watching them from just feet away, the birds went about their business, then flew away. They are a living reminder of just how much Miller’s life has changed in the past four years.
For much of his life, the 71-year-old Miller never had time for little hobbies like bird watching. From his early days as a cavalry instructor in the U.S. Army to his career as a salesman and Racine’s city development director, Miller was a busy man.
Then came cancer.
“I never had a bird feeder before. Now, I’m feeding the birds at $10 a week,” Miller says with a chuckle. “I’ll have to win the lottery.”
Aside from the pinkish patch of scar tissue on his head and his lack of hair, you would never know this man tangled with a rare, life-threatening cancer.
He has a firm handshake, a hearty belly laugh and a warmth that twinkles from beneath his spectacles.
Life has changed
The bird feeder is one of the little ways Miller is a different man now. He isn’t bothered by the little things anymore. He’s more tolerant. He finds it a lot easier to tell his wife and friends that he loves them.
And although life has brought him persistent heart problems and a cancer that came back four times, Miller considers himself lucky.
“I do not consider myself dying of cancer,” he says, softly tracing an invisible pattern on the kitchen table with his index finger, “but living despite it. I do not look at each day as a day closer to death, but another day to be appreciated and enjoyed.”
Lloyd Miller is a cancer survivor.
He is one of the 50 percent of cancer patients who live through the terrifying diagnosis, the fear, the uncertainty, the sickening treatments and the real risk of death. He is part of a growing group with a determination to live life fully, with a new appreciation for what was almost lost.
Miller’s rare form of cancer is in remission, four years after it was discovered. And although there still is a risk the cancer could come back and attack his lungs, he doesn’t let it worry him.
“I feel so comfortable, it’s almost a sin. I don’t think about it every day.”
But for much of the past few years, Miller had little choice but to think about cancer.
The first inkling of trouble came in 1987 while he was on a cruise with Sue, his wife of 16 years. A sunburn-like patch of blisters appeared on the left side of his scalp. It didn’t concern him, until his eye began to swell so badly he had to soak it to get it to open. Upon returning to Racine from Miami, Miller went to see his doctor in Kenosha. The doctor took a biopsy, then delivered the kind of heart-stopping news everyone fears.
“I knew I was in trouble. I expected bad news. It was bad news. Believe it or not, I was afraid,” he said. “The word ‘cancer’ just sent chills through me.”
The doctor referred Miller to the University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center in Madison, one of the nation’s major cancer centers, with a medical staff of 350.
Doctors took 60 biopsies from Miller’s scalp in an effort to find what kind of cancer had taken hold.
Rare cancer diagnosed
The diagnosis was angiosarcoma, a rare cancer of the blood vessels that spreads to the connective tissues. Miller had extensive tumors throughout the left side of his scalp.
Doctors started Miller on a regimen of radiation treatments using a high-tech system in which treatments are planned using 3-D computers that help aim the radiation most effectively at the cancer. He traveled to the UW daily for treatments — journeys that would eventually total 33,000 miles.
The hospital staff drew targets with ink on his now-bald head. They took measurements and calibrated the 6-million-volt radiation machine.
The treatments were terrifying for Miller. Much of his head was covered in a lead mask that shielded healthy tissue. For a man with severe claustrophobia, the enclosure was pure hell.
“I would have killed them if I could have gotten loose,” he said. “When I got out of there, I said, ‘Never again, not me. I’ll die.’ ”
For his next trip, doctors gave Miller what he called “goofy pills” that helped him relax so much before treatment that by the time he arrived in Madison, he didn’t care what happened.
Treatments burn the scalp
The 30 treatments burned Miller’s scalp, causing an unsightly, migrating sore that covered a quarter of his scalp before it started to recede. But the therapy worked and the tumors died off.
Miller said death crossed his mind during those first days in treatment.
But his main physician, Dr. Timothy Kinsella, deputy director of the cancer center, told Miller to let him worry about the cancer.
“I’ll tell you when to worry,” Kinsella said. Those six words put Miller at ease. Kinsella never told Miller to worry.
“He was the Good Hands doctor,” Miller said, cupping his hands like they do on the Allstate insurance commercials. “He made me understand I was going to be all right.”
Despite the daily doses of radiation, Miller kept up his work schedule.
Staying on the job was important because, as Miller put it, “If a guy lies down in bed, I think he’s a goner.”
Shortly after the first round of radiation, doctors discovered nodes on the right side of Miller’s head. The cancer was back, which meant 30 more visits to the linear accelerator.
Eventually, the cancer spread to both sides of Millers’ neck and on the center of his head. Each time it appeared, Kinsella beat it back with radiation.
Miller became quite a regular on the first-floor clinic at the cancer center. He made the coffee in the waiting room, and brought Racine kringle for the staff. When he wasn’t in treatment, he spent time in the pediatric cancer ward.
One day, Miller was charged with cheering up a young boy who was quite sick from his cancer treatments. Miller pulled out a toy ball that laughed with the resonance of Ed McMahon when it was tossed into the air. “That was my secret weapon,” Miller said. “He liked it so much I gave it to him.”
They still remember Lloyd Miller at UW Cancer Center.
Help and prayers
And so Miller has beaten the odds, it would seem. It’s only now that one of his local doctors told him that after the initial cancer diagnosis, he wasn’t sure Miller would survive.
Now he spends time as a freelance real estate development consultant and likes to play golf at the Kenosha country club. Miller says he got through his ordeal with cancer with a lot of help from scores of friends and a lot of prayer.
“I think I’m a better man now than I ever was,” he said. “I’ve come so close to the unknown.”
His health has not been without complications since the cancer therapy stopped. He recently underwent his 11th balloon angioplasty, a procedure in which a tiny balloon is inflated in the arteries to clear blockages.
Miller’s story caught the attention of the American Cancer Society, which profiled him in an hourlong documentary on cancer survivors in 1990. The program also featured a 23-year-old student who lost his leg to cancer, then ran across country to raise money for cancer research.
Tears well up in Miller’s eyes when he watches the tape, as he watches his wife describe him as “our hero, Lloyd,” and as he watches himself talk about cancer.
“An experience like this lets you know what life’s all about,” he said. •
EPILOGUE:Lloyd G. Miller died on March 6, 2004 at his retirement home in Orlando, Fla. He was 83.
Jeff Peterson will never forget Valentine’s Day 1985.
A battalion chief with the Racine Fire Department, Peterson was on his way to St. Mary’s Medical Center on a routine call that night. En route, he noticed a sharp pain in his groin, a pain that steadily worsened. By the time he arrived, he needed medical attention.
“By the time I got to St. Mary’s, I could hardly walk,” Peterson, 49, recalled.
Doctors who examined him originally thought he was suffering from torsion, a painful twisting of the vas deferens leading from the testicles. But efforts to relieve the pain were useless.
Peterson underwent exploratory surgery that night at St. Mary’s. He was under local anesthetic and was able to ask the surgeon what he saw. There were lumps on one of the testicles, he was told, and it could be cancer.
“I thought I was going to die,” he said. “I thought I had a death sentence.”
Surgeons removed the diseased testicle, which they believed was the original site of the cancer. He went home the next day, still reeling from the diagnosis.
Smoke inhalation a factor? Peterson did not smoke and he wondered how he could develop such a rare cancer, which strikes about 130 Wisconsin men a year. But he recalled his early days in the fire department, days when “you were a candy ass” if you wore an oxygen mask to a fire scene.
More than once, he recalled coughing up black phlegm after coming out of a fire. Now, he wonders what those early days did to him.
Peterson was admitted to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where doctors put him through a battery of tests. The news was not encouraging. The cancer had spread to Peterson’s lungs and the tumors were growing fast.
“They had grown from the size of the head of your pen to the size of a small orange in three weeks or so,” he said.
Doctors decided to attack the lung tumors with chemotherapy. Peterson returned to Racine and went on a regimen of chemotherapy. One week of treatments was followed by three off weeks to let his body recover.
Peterson lost his hair from the nauseating treatments, but he decided to go back to work at the fire department, where he was in charge of training programs. Being at work was therapeutic.
“I found if I sat at home, the only thing I could think about is, ‘Am I going to die?’ ” he said. “I needed a diversion. That diversion was going to work.”
Diversion is not all he found at the fire department. He also found inspiration and the will to keep fighting.
Heroic inspiration The source of the inspiration was Dan Christensen. Christensen was always the first to greet Peterson and ask him how he was doing. Christensen told him things would work out, he’d be OK.
Encouraging words are always good to hear, but Christensen’s words carried extra meaning for Peterson, because his fellow firefighter was dying from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — Lou Gehrig’s disease.
“It was just remarkable, a person could take life, so little of which he had left, and still give so much to the people he had around him,” Peterson said.
Even as Christensen lost his motion control as his muscles deteriorated from the disease, he kept up the pep talks for Peterson. He visited him in the hospital and always had an encouraging word. He may not have known it at the time, but Christensen, who died in August, helped save his friend’s life.
“He made me keep on fighting,” Peterson said. “That’s a major part of beating cancer. You have to take one day at a time.”
There was plenty of fight ahead for Jeff Peterson.
The nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy put him back in the hospital. He developed blood clots in his lungs. Then, he developed a fungus-like disease in his lungs that put his life in jeopardy.
He remembers that meeting with doctors well. The combination of complications could be fatal. The doctor had tears in his eyes.
“ ‘You’re not rid of me yet,’ ” Peterson said he told the doctor. “I made up my mind I was not going to be that statistic. I was going to be a statistic on the positive side.”
Doctors started treating the lung fungus with steroids, but the going was still rough. Peterson got angry when some of his visitors treated him like he was a sure bet to die.
No giving up There were a few times in the hospital, when he was weary from the chemotherapy, that Peterson felt like giving up. Dying. But then sleep would come for a few hours, putting a little more fight in his soul.
By late 1985, Peterson turned the corner on his disease. The tumors responded to therapy and the fungus was subsiding. Peterson was winning.
That was six years ago. Peterson has been cancer-free ever since. The disease challenged him and nearly killed him, but it also gave him a sense of how precious life is.
“Cancer gives you a new outlook on life. Every day to me is a bonus,” he said. “I used to take a lot more things more seriously than I do now. You know the time here is so short, you should make the best of it every day.”
These days, Peterson spends part of his time delivering talks to high school boys about testicular self-exams, something even he was ignorant about before he got cancer.
“It’s a subject not many kids want to talk about, but it’s got to be done,” he said. “That’s one of the points I was extremely angry about. My own physician never told me to do a testicular exam.”
He also spends time whenever called upon to help cancer patients adjust to the disease. He won’t let them give up, just like Danny Christensen wouldn’t let him give up. One man he saw recently was ready to throw in the towel, but Peterson convinced him it was worth the fight. The man is doing fine now.
“That’s one of the boosts that makes me smile every day,” he said. •
EPILOGUE:Peterson retired from the Racine Fire Department in early 1999 after more than 30 years as a firefighter, including a stint as chief.
It was Christmas 1986, and little Sarah Mazzie was making out her wish list for Santa Claus. At the top of the list wasn’t a Barbie doll, a Cabbage Patch Kid or a doll house.
At the top of Sarah’s list was written: “good health.”
“That amazed me, a child that age asking for good health,” said Sarah’s mother, Mary. “It was in that little scrawl handwriting, ‘Good health.’ ”
The 6-year-old Racine girl had her priorities straight. In the 20 months since she was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, Sarah learned what it was like to be sick, to endure painful treatments and lose her hair. “Good health” has been on her Christmas list ever since.
Bruce Camitta doesn’t look much like Santa Claus. He doesn’t have the Santa-like spare tire, and his thinning crop of hair doesn’t resemble St. Nick’s white mane.
But for Sarah, Camitta might as well have been Santa Claus.
The professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa had developed an experimental leukemia treatment that would save Sarah’s life.
Camitta’s treatment used high doses of chemotherapy, followed by an extended period of lower doses, administered after patients had gone into remission. Patients often respond well to initial treatment, but Camitta’s goal was to prevent recurrence of the cancer.
Sarah was his 27th patient in the trial at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in suburban Milwaukee, and one of the 80-plus percent for whom the treatment has worked. She has been cancer-free ever since.
“He says I’m a pioneer girl,” said Sarah, now a pretty 11-year-old sixth-grader at Mitchell Middle School. She’s proud that she helped break medical ground and beat the cancer that could have stolen her young life.
“I don’t think about it,” she said of the leukemia. “It’s not hard, I’m just lucky they had medicine.”
Wearing a red shirt, black jeans and deck shoes, Sarah sits in a director’s chair at her family’s home on Newman Road in Mount Pleasant. Her long, black hair, dark eyes and striking smile tell no tale of cancer.
She twists her hair with her fingers, fidgets in the chair and toys with the family cat. This isn’t Sarah Mazzie cancer survivor, it’s Sarah, regular 11-year-old.
“I like playing sports,” she said. “I play baseball, soccer and I go horseback riding.” She also likes tennis and swimming.
Those words seem music to the ears of Gary and Mary Mazzie, who just seven years ago faced what all parents dread — the loss of a child to a deadly disease like cancer.
In January 1985, Sarah’s parents first noticed changes in their daughter, including a persistent low-grade fever, and pains in her arms and legs. Doctors at first thought it was a virus.
“She canceled her own birthday party because she didn’t feel well,” Mary said. “I knew something was wrong.”
Things didn’t reach crisis level until the family was on vacation in South Carolina that spring. Sarah was listless, and all she did at the beach was lie on blanket. She couldn’t even walk.
‘The bottom falls out’
The Mazzies rushed back to Racine and, after Sarah had a blood test, were told to get her to Children’s Hospital. They were told to go to the oncology department.
“At that point,” Mary said, “the bottom falls out.”
Mary remembers the day the doctor called to confirm the diagnosis of leukemia. She walked out into the back yard and screamed. After walking around a bit, she called her husband at work.
“She couldn’t even talk,” Gary recalled.
Inside Sarah’s body, the cancer was causing white blood cells called lymphocytes to grow erratically. Billions of faulty cells were crowding out normal white cells in her bone marrow.
“The doctors tried to tell us there was much hope with this type of cancer,” Mary said. ‘At that point, it’s very difficult to believe that.”
Gary said there was “some doubt in my mind” about trying an experimental treatment, but the couple decided to put Sarah in the trial group being gathered by Dr. Camitta.
Sarah would he treated with standard chemotherapy until the disease was in remission, then undergo six months of intensive chemotherapy and two years of oral anti-leukemia drugs.
Camitta said the goal is to keep drug levels high over long periods to reduce the number of leukemic cells in the system. Treating a child who is in remission with intensive chemotherapy was considered a somewhat “rogue” idea in the medical community at the time, he said.
Mary stayed in the hospital with Sarah each night, and Gary visited after work. Sarah was hospitalized for 21 days, and after about two weeks of chemotherapy, her cancer was in remission.
Sarah then came back to the hospital every two weeks for an infusion of methotrexate and 6-mercaptopurine, the drug combination Camitta had chosen for the experiment. Every other week, she went to the clinic for a checkup.
Doctors periodically had to insert a needle into Sarah’s spine to check for leukemic cells, and to inject chemotherapy into the spinal fluid. They also took marrow samples from her pelvis by inserting a sharp lance into the bone.
Sarah said the bone marrow biopsies were scary.
“When they were taking the blood (marrow), it hurt in my leg,” she said.
Sarah would lie on the examining table, hugging her favorite stuffed dog, Amos. She imagined that she was somewhere else, somewhere with no pain, doing something fun.
“One time I thought about the Fourth of July parade. Another time I thought about being at the beach,” she said.
Making something positive
Camitta said he was impressed that such a young child could remain so calm during treatments and tests. “She was super,” he said.
The treatments during those first six months made Sarah sick. The drugs dropped her count of infection-fighting white blood cells. She got headaches, and mouth sores. And her hair fell out.
To help make something positive out of a bad situation, Sarah took the hair that had fallen out off of her pillow each morning, and strung it out on the bushes outside. She wanted the birds to use it to build their springtime nests.
Although she was “kind of scared” about her hair falling out, Sarah adjusted. Most of her friends knew why she was losing her hair.
“When I was in kindergarten, someone thought I was a boy,” she said. “I knew it was going to grow back. I wore a lot of hats.”
Sarah’s parent said she handled the treatments well. She didn’t cry, or fight with the doctors. Her only response was to become silent and withdrawn on the way to the hospital. Occasionally she shed a few quiet tears.
Drug treatments continue
Once the first six months of drug treatments stopped, Sarah went home from the hospital. She began taking pills every day, and her mother gave her a shot every Wednesday.
Getting the pills down took some creativity on the part of her parents. The pills were mashed in food, coated with sugar and even mixed with syrup and shot down her throat with a syringe.
“They were just giving me so many medicines, and they all tasted bad,” Sarah said. “There was one l wouldn’t take. They put it in my food, tried to trick me. But I’d always find it.”
The Mazzies religiously followed doctors’ orders in giving Sarah the medicine. The pills continued until Oct. 2, 1987.
Ordeal is over
Then it was over. Or was it? Mary kept quizzing doctors to see if any other children in the trial had a relapse of cancer. They told her not to worry.
Of the 73 children who underwent the treatment in the first two trials, more than 80 percent have remained cancer-free over long periods, Camitta said.
“That’s as good as anything else available, and we’re only using two drugs,” said Camitta, who has a giant teddy bear perched on a file cabinet outside his office. But many more children will have to be tested on the trial nationally to confirm the results, he said.
Camitta won three ardent believers on Newman Road in Mount Pleasant.
Gary said the family is stronger for the ordeal, and he realizes just how fragile life is. Whenever he has a bad day at work, he just looks at a picture of Sarah from back then, and is reminded of what is most important to him.
As for Sarah, she’s gotten on with her life, and will turn 12 in February. Asked if she has any advice for other children with cancer, she doesn’t hesitate in her response.
“I’d tell them you’d probably get better. If they cured me, they should probably be able to cure kids now.”
EPILOGUE:Sarah B. Mazzie graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2002 and earned her Juris Doctor degree from the DePaul University College of Law in 2006. She was a partner in her own law firm and has worked for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Now 40, she is a U.S. immigration judge in Minneapolis. Her parents Iive in Racine.
Top photo: Sarah Mazzie in her classroom at Mitchell Middle School in Racine. — Journal Times Photo by Mark Hertzberg.
Handwritten letters are a lost art, so it was particularly thrilling to find one inside a card from my paternal grandparents, Carl and Ruby Hanneman, sent for my first birthday in June 1965.
My grandmother was a prolific letter writer, note scribbler and update scrivener. She wrote in a stream of consciousness. Sentences didn’t always have punctuation and could stretch on for half a page. But she captured details that might slip past a less-careful correspondent. Like exactly what time on Tuesday she and Grandpa Carl got their car back from Floyd “Snuffy” Clark at the auto body shop.
Unlike a photograph, a personal letter brings out the writer’s personality. Reading the note in the birthday card, I could almost hear my grandparents voices. They switched off writing in the card. Grandpa went first, telling how Grandma loved the birthday card and money sent by my parents. Then Grandma Ruby took over and provided a full update on the happenings on Morris Street in Mauston, Wis.
June 27th, 1964
Dear Little Baby Joey,
The little sweetheart — one year old! Grandpa Carl and I send our love with big hugs and kisses to you — God blesses always Baby Joey —love, love, love from Grandpa Carl and Grandma Ruby xxxxx
Dear Baby Joey & Little David, Little Lori & Mama Mary and Daddy David:
Grandpa: Ruby got her beautiful birthday card and money from all of you and she wants to say thank all of you so much — it was too much after all the others you have given me —
Grandpa wants me to go to Carpenter’s now to eat it is 7:30 p.m. & bad storm warning out & it’s thundering now.
Grandpa Carl had a nice Father’s Day — we stayed home and we ate at Noneng’s new restaurant — he got nice cards and things, too, and it was stormy bad weather then, too. David we got your nice letter & the check — Dad destroyed the other one. Pretty soon will have you all hear (sic) again. I think I will go to Aunt Emma this week. Donn is driving Tom, Jane & Mary Ellen on July 3rd. I go back on Sunday. The youngsters will stay here & at Lavonne’s for several weeks.
I called Marvin’s, talked to Mabel — I am not going to Aunt Emma’s this week. Marv is taking a week of his vacation & they leave Fri. a.m. for Tomahawk — so that upsets my plans. Now I won’t be able to go until later in July.
Mary is to have planter warts treated on bottom of feet 1st and 2nd of July. They had planned to come this Sat. & with my planning to go to Arpin we changed it. Now I wish they would come sooner.
There was a big extra addition on Parade of Homes in Mad. Sun. paper for open house. 15th annual Mad. Parade of Homes from June 20th thru June 27th on Madison’s far west side. I hope David knows about it by now. I have the booklet saved for him whenever he comes this week.[Nota bene: I believe we were still living in Grand Rapids, Mich., in June 1965, but would soon move to a house on Lake Wisconsin. This was shortly before construction began on my parents home in Sun Prairie, Wis.]
Dad has been feeling much better. Mr. Clark (Snuffy) had the car Mon. & fixed all the rust spots & put new chrome on front — we got it back Tues 22nd at 4:00 p.m.
Thurs. a.m. 24th:
Dad drove to Camp Douglas & Hustler this a.m. to solicit more ads — he wants to go to Necedah tomorrow a.m.[Nota bene: Carl helped put together the printed guide for the Juneau County Fair. One of his duties was ad sales.]
Mary I keep thinking about your Mom. I hope and pray she is getting along nicely & eyesight will be helped.
How are our three little cherubs? I really did miss them and Grandpa did too. He felt badly because he had to be in bed so much while they were here. They are little loves and we enjoyed all of them so. David wrote that Little David asked about us. How does Baby Joey manage in the little walker? If the back wheels rotated like the front ones do, I bet he would really walk soon.
Have some birthday cake for us & we will be singing Happy Birthday to Joey here — all love & XXXes to all.
Dad & Mom xx
Top Image: The front of the birthday card at left, with a photo of Carl and Ruby Hanneman from around 1960.
High school yearbooks are an excellent source for family historians to find sometimes-hidden facts and images from a loved one’s past. And as I discovered with my late father’s copy of the Mauston High School 1949 yearbook, it’s wise to stroll through the pages multiple times so as not to miss things.
Mauston High School’s yearbook is called Hammer. It was first published in 1916. Dad (David D. Hanneman) enrolled at Mauston High in the fall of 1947 and graduated in spring 1951. As we’ve noted elsewhere on these pages, he was part of the 1947 football squad that won the West Central Conference title with a 7-1 record. The 1949 Hammer covered his sophomore year.
The biggest surprise came on the page featuring the student newspaper, The Blue Quill. Dad is listed as one of two staff artists. I had viewed this yearbook before, but never noticed this. We have no issues of the The Blue Quill, so we don’t know what he and co-artist Donald Krueger sketched for the news, feature and sports pages. I’ve seen a few simple sketches and doodles he drew on the yearbook autograph pages, but nothing else. Art talent ran in the family, we covered elsewhere regarding Grandpa Carl F. Hanneman and his drawings for the Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School Ahdawagam.
There were no surprises in the yearbook on the athletics front, where Dad always excelled. The 1948 MHS Bluegold finished in a tie for second in the West Central Conference with a 5-1-1 record in football. The team was on pace to win its second consecutive title, but a late-season 7-0 loss to eventual champion Sparta knocked them into second. The Bluegold finished the season with a 12-12 tie with Viroqua after the visitors stormed back in the final 54 seconds to secure the draw to ruin Mauston’s homecoming.
The1949 Hammer featured a football team photo. I recalled that Dad had saved a large-format print of the photo, with many of the player names written on the back. Years ago I scanned the image (below) and even used it to promote my genealogy business.
For his sophomore year, Dad was on the B Squad for basketball. His final two years he played center on the varsity squad.
Dad was also pictured with the science club, Sigma Gamma Pi Beta. He served as vice-president during his sophomore year. It was the only year he is listed as a member of the science club.
Not surprisingly, Dad was a member of the Boys Glee Club. He enjoyed performing arts even more than athletics, and won more medals and awards for his singing than his prowess on the field and the basketball court.
Dad was among the members of the M Club, made up of winners of athletic letters. He won letters for football, basketball and track.
One of the most touching things in all of Dad’s yearbooks was the autograph left each year by his younger sister, Lavonne. Dad was four years older and took seriously his job of protecting Vonnie. They had a special bond. Here she wrote a tribute note, erased it and penciled in another one, circled by a heart. After her 1986 death at age 48, Dad told me these notes held very special meaning for him.
Below is one of the frequent doodles found in Dad’s yearbooks. He was part of a double quartet that competed every year in Wisconsin School Music Association events.
Top Photo: Mauston High School as it appeared in the center spread of the 1949 yearbook. The yearbook cover design is shown upper right.
This article appeared on Page 3 of the national edition of
The Chicago Tribune on October 25, 1985.
By Joseph Hanneman
Special to the Tribune
MADISON, Wis. — The national president of the Ghost Riders motorcycle club and two other club members have been convicted of first-degree murder, arson and insurance fraud in a fatal tavern fire near here in 1983.
Convicted Wednesday were Alvin Hegge, 45, president of the club, based in Washington state; Scott Howard, 30; and Will Highfill, 41. Howard and Highfill also were convicted of endangering safety.
A Dane County Circuit Court jury deliberated for nine hours before delivering the verdict. The men were sentenced to life imprisonment on the murder charge. They will be sentenced on the other charges later.
Catherine L. Christian, 22, died in the March 1983 fire at Rosa’s Cantina, 5 miles southeast of Madison. Prosecutors contend the men planned to set the fire at the financially troubled tavern to collect insurance money and kill Christian, who the prosecutors say the three men believed to be a police informant.
Defense attorneys contend the fire was accidental, caused by faulty wiring.
Rosa’s Cantina became a hangout for the Ghost Riders when they tried to establish a chapter in Madison during 1982 and 1983, but those plans were abandoned shortly after the fire, according to court records.
Dane County Assistant District Atty. Robert DeChambeau, one of three prosecutors, said the verdict will significantly hurt the club.
“The Ghost Riders are pretty much through,” he said.
Hegge’s lawyer, Ralph Kalal, criticized the prosecutors for using convicted criminals to testify against Hegge. Kalal said the prosecution’s case was built “on a foundation of shifting sand. Yet the prosecution makes Mr. Hegge out to be the kingpin who ran the entire operation. It doesn’t make sense.”
Two other members of the bikers group were convicted last spring on lesser charges in the case.
Washington state officials say they have waited for the trial here to end and will now extradite Hegge and Howard to face federal and state charges in Spokane.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Hegge in connection with the shooting death of a Spokane police officer in 1983, according to the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office. Officer Brian Orchard was killed during a police stakeout of Ghost Riders suspected of selling stolen weapons. Two club associates have been convicted of the murder.
Hegge also has been indicted in Spokane on a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver cocaine, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Spokane.
Howard also was indicted on federal charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver cocaine, unlawful transport of firearms and use of a firearm in a felony, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Spokane. Both men will stand trial Dec. 9 on the federal charges.
Law enforcement officials who track the Ghost Riders in Washington state say the club has been one of the fastest growing groups in the country, but will be hurt by Hegge’s conviction.
Brent Pfundheller, a detective with the Washington State Patrol in Olympia, said Hegge was a strong group leader. “He was definitely in control of the Ghost Riders,” he said. “If he said to do something, it was done. You didn’t cross Al Hegge.”
The Ghost Riders are considered to be very dangerous and are monitored closely by law officials, said Larry Boyd, chief sheriff’s deputy in Grant County, Wash., where the group was formed in the mid-1960s.
With chapters in Washington state, Billings, Mont., British Columbia and Alberta, Canada, police estimate the group has between 75 and 150 members. •
EPILOGUE:Alvin Hegge was sentenced to life in prison for murder conspiracy and given 30 years for arson and theft by fraud for his role in the Rosa’s Cantina fire. He was also sentenced to life in prison for the second-degree murder of officer Orchard in Spokane, Wash. Highfill was sentenced to life in prison plus 34 years. Howard was given a life sentence for murder and arson in Wisconsin; and a six-year sentence for a drug conviction in Washington state.
Top photo: A view of Rosa’s Cantina on the 1983 day the fire killed Catherine L. Christian, 22. — State Journal photo by Joseph W. Jackson III.
I was among a team of reporters who covered the Ghost Riders trial for the Wisconsin State Journal.