Obit: Bartl, Ami M. #2 (1917 - 2008)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Bartl, Wink, Mullenbach, Hutchinson, Szatalowicz, Apfelbeck

----Source: Thorp Courier (Thorp, Clark Co., WI.) October 22, 2008

Bartl, Ami (1917 - 2008)

An funfzehnte Marz, 1917, eine Tochter nie J. Peter und Anna Wink Mullenbach geboran war. We don’t know if the announcement of the birth of Ami Mullenbach Bartl was made in English or German but we do know that she was born into a loving bilingual family. The pregnancy was stressful as an earlier child had arrived still born and Ami was born in the midst of a blizzard, causing concern as to whether or not the doctor would be able to get to the Mullenbach farmhouse to assist in the delivery. Although her mother refused to speak in German with her after she was 4 years old, she retained a feeling of comfort when she heard music sung in German.

The next couple years were happy ones for the Mullenbach’s as they made plans to purchase their first horseless carriage and in 1919 were adding an addition to their barn to make it 96 feet long when, on November 2, 1919 tragedy struck. As J. Peter Mullenbach was attempting to cross the railroad tracks in Boyd with his team of horses, he was struck by the train. Ami and her mother moved to Thorp where they rented the apartment at what is now 201 East School Street. In 1929, Anna Mullenbach thought it would be wise to place some of her money in a house. She, therefore, built the house at 306 W. Main Street and moved into it in October, 1929; a few days before the crash on Wall Street. Ami developed into a beautiful woman, graduating from Thorp High School and going on to study business at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN.

She worked for what became the Wisconsin Unemployment Service and for the income tax department. One Sunday she and her mother went to church and heard the priest announce the three banns of marriage for her and Joseph James Bartl. She had planned to attend his graduation from Officer Candidate School but was undecided about marriage. They were married at Ft. Benning, Georgia on May 19, 1942, and lived in Maryland for a little more than a year. Pregnant, she returned to Thorp to deliver a son. Her husband was overseas at the time. When he returned in 1949, she obtained a divorce. Her husband, an attorney, sued her mother for "alienation of affection" and attempted to have papers served on her mother while her mother was recovering from a heart attack. And in the same year her son came down with polio. In the midst of all this she looked up an old friend from whom she had rented a room before she was married. Ellen Hutchinson was then working for North American Life and Casualty Company and insisted that Ami meet her boss, the Eau Claire Branch Manager. Ami argued with him over the pros and cons of stock life insurance companies (like North American) vs. mutual life insurance companies. She lost the argument and became the first woman to gain entry into North American’s President’s Club. She referred property and casualty business to the Louis Walsdorf Agency with the understanding that she would be able to buy his agency when he retired. When the time came, Mr. Walsdorf refused to sell to her arguing that no woman could run an insurance agency and he wouldn’t feel right taking her money.

She was able to obtain company contracts anyway and soon was running a good sized agency. Periodically, she continued to sell life insurance. In 1988, with interest rates high, she placed many clients into high yielding annuities and, for the year, ranked No. 4 in the nation in life sales for Auto-Owners Insurance Company out of more than 7,000 Auto-Owners agents. In 2000, her son, J. Peter, came back from Massachusetts and joined her in the agency. She still had an active insurance license when she died, making her one of the oldest, if not the oldest person in Wisconsin with such a license.

In addition to leaving behind her son, she was Godmother to Sharon Szatalowicz.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, October 23, 2008, at St. Bernard-St. Hedwig Catholic Church in Thorp. Fr. Keith Apfelbeck will officiate and burial will follow in St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery, in Boyd. Visitation will be held at Thorp Funeral Home, on Wednesday, October 22, 2008 from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. with a 7 p.m. prayer service, and at the church, on Thursday, from 9 a.m. until time of service.



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