William F. (1891 - 1936)
Contact: Crystal Wendt
Surnames: Schiller, Lewerenz, Bradbury, Barton, Keller, Eberhardt, Betz, Preston, Wolff, Christoferson, Rivard, Rossman, Andrews, Zimmerman
----Sources: Neillsville Press (Neillsville, Clark County, Wis.) 20 Aug. 1936
Schiller, William F. (15 Sept. 1891 - 1936)
This community was deeply shocked Monday that William F. Schiller, one of this city’s most prominent business men, had succumbed at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire where he had made a valiant, but losing eight weeks’ fight against a pneumococcus infection and complications. Although everything known to medical science was called upon to combat the illness and friends railed with offers of blood transfusions, Mr. Schiller, who had been run down in health for several months previous, was unable to throw off the effects of the infection, finally lapsing into a coma with death coming shortly after 4 a.m. Monday. With him when the end came where his wife and sister, Miss Mildred Schiller, both of whom had been constantly at his side for the past two weeks.
Mr. Schiller was taken ill June 22 while conducting a funeral at Dorchester, and on the trip home with Q. W. Lewerenz, complained of pains in his back. Upon reaching Neillsville he consulted Dr. E. L. Bradbury who ordered that he be taken to Eau Claire immediately. An examination indicated that appendicitis or ulcers were probable and the next morning an operations was performed, shortly after which Mr. Schiller showed symptoms of pneumonia. Almost immediately his condition became critical, but as the weeks passed his many friends held out hope that he was winning his fight to live. However, within the past 10 days the reports of his condition became alarming and several days before his death it was stated that were no hopes. As a final recourse, however, a call for volunteers for a blood transfusion was given out here, Thursday by O. W. Lewerenz and 24 residents of this community went to Eau Claire in response to the call.
Mr. Schiller, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Schiller of this city, was born at the family home North Grand Avenue, September 15, 1891. After attending St. Mary’s parochial school for a time he entered the Northside public school, completing the eighth grade. Early in life he displayed a keen business sense and sought out all sorts of ways to earn money during his youth. For a time he carried a shoe shining box around the business section and as there were several boys engaged in the same line at that time Mr. Schiller organized them into what was probably Neillsville’s one and only "union" to protect this mutual interests. From this small beginning it was only a few months before he was the owner of a shoe shinning stand in front of the Dick Townsend Barber Shop. During spare time he became a "junk dealer", buying rags, zinc and copper from the boys. From this enterprise he entered the somewhat more hazardous business of cleaning chimneys.
Along in 1910 Mr. Schiller apprenticed himself to H. H. Eberhardt to learn the undertaking profession. In the spring of 1912 Mr. Schiller rented a store building on the North Hewett Street, now the George Keller residence, and opened an ice cream and candy store, as a means of raising money to attend the Johnson School of Embalming in Milwaukee. His little store was well patronized and before the summer was over Mr. Schiller had accumulated enough cash to finance his schooling, selling his business to Kenneth Austin.
Upon completing the course and passing the state board examination Mr. Schiller went to Glendive, Mont., taking a position with Lowe Brothers of that city.
On July 22, 1913 he was married at Glendive to Miss Rose Barton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Barton of this city. To this union three sons were born, Robert, Joe and Billy.
In 1926 Mr. and Mrs. Schiller and their sons returned to Neillsville, buying out H. H. Eberhardt’s business, Mr. Eberhardt retiring. Mr. Schiller proved himself an excellent businessman and enjoyed a large patronage. In 1928 he opened a branch store at Greenwood, placing his brother, Tony, in charge. In 1930 he purchased the property at Court and East Fourth Street which he remodeled into one of the finest funeral homes in this section of the state, and architecture and landscaping being entirely of his own design.
Mr. Schiller was an unusually sympathetic character, considerate of the feelings of others and did many acts of kindness which never became public. He not only was generous to his immediate relatives, but quietly assisted many whose need circumstances came to his attention. Within the last year or two Mr. Schiller had expressed a wish to buy a farm on which to live, planning on turning over his business to his son, Robert, who recently completed a course in embalming and undertaking. Mr. Schiller spent little time in recreation, although as a hobby he was interested in collecting rare coins, Indian relics and articles of pioneer life.
Surviving Mr. Schiller are his widow and three sons, his parents and one brother, Tony, Greenwood; and five sisters, Della, Mrs. William Bertz; Frances, Mrs. Preston; Anna, Mrs. Ed. Wolff; Glendive, Mont.; Mildred Schiller, teacher at Madison, and Margaret, Mrs. Thorwald Christoferson of Scotts Bluff, Neb. Mrs. Christoferson and two children have been visiting her parents for the past several weeks.
Those who are expected here for the services which will be held Thursday at 9 a.m. at St. Mary’s Church are Mr. and Mrs. Ed. Wolff, Mr. Christoferson, Mr. and Mrs. J. Rivard and daughter, Rhea, Madison; Mr. and Mrs. Fred Rossman, Eau Claire and Miss Lilly Anderews, Baraboo. Services will be conducted by Rev. Odo Zimmerman, O. S. B. with burial in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
The Press joins with the community in extending deepest sympathies to the bereaved relatives.
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