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Theodore Trecker

Modified on 2015/11/17 19:36 by Joel Havens Categorized as Biographies
     Theodore Trecker     

      Theodore Trecker is the president of the Kearney & Trecker Company , manufacturers of milling machinery, with extensive plant at National avenue and Sixtieth Street. He was one of the founders of the business in 1898 and through the intervening period has been an active factor in shaping the policy and directing the activities of the company, which has become an effective and far-reaching force in the business development of Milwaukee. Mr. Trecker comes to this city from La Salle, Illinois, where his birth occurred October 5, 1868, his parents being Theodore and Elizabeth Trecker, both of whom were natives of Germany. They emigrated to America in 1854, settling in La Salle, Illinois, where Mr. Trecker took up the occupation of farming, continuing the business throughout his life.

      Theodore Trecker was, therefore, reared on a farm with the usual experiences of the country bred boy. He attended the district schools and remained a resident of Illinois until 1886, when at the age of eighteen years he came to Milwaukee. Here he worked at odd jobs for about a year and then served an apprenticeship as a machinist with the Wilkin Manufacturing Company, predecessors of the Filer & Stowell Company. He was afterward employed by the Kempsmith Manufacturing Company, working his way upward through various positions until promoted to the superintendency of the plant. He remained with that firm for eight years with the exception of one year when he was engineer of an engine of the city fire department. Ambitious to engage in business on his own account, he improved his opportunities until his industry and economy had brought him sufficient capital to make the venture. In May, 1898, therefore, he formed a partnership with Edward J. Kearney, establishing the present firm, the business being carried on down in the city for three years. In 1901 they built their present plant, which covers several acres of ground, and they have a very fine modern building, well equipped. When working a full force, they employ about six hundred and fifty men engaged in the manufacture of milling machinery exclusively. Many of their employees have been with them ever since they started in business. They have an excellent band, composed entirely of employees, who hold a concert in the plant every Tuesday noon, playing gratis in order to furnish entertainment for their fellow workmen. Not by leaps and bounds but by steady and substantial development has the business grown to its present mammoth proportions, becoming one of the important productive industries of the city. The policy that Mr. Trecker has always maintained in relation to his employees is one that has gained for him their confidence and loyal support. He is continually looking out for their welfare and his interest, in so far as possible, is a personal one. While Mr. Trecker has sole charge of the plant, he has also extended his efforts in other directions and is now a member of the board of directors of the American Exchange Bank and also one of the directors of the First National Bank of West Allis.

      On the 24th of November, 1890, Mr. Trecker was married to Miss Emma Pufahl of Milwaukee, and they have six children: Theodore C.; Bertha M., the wife of Dr. Theodore H. Burbach of Milwaukee: Joseph L.; Edgar W.; Lydia C.; and Francis J. The eldest son was in the navy during the World war, and Edgar and Joseph were attending college at Prairie du Chien and were under army regulations during war time. The son-in-law. Dr. Burbach, was a lieutenant in the service, stationed at Camp Kearney, California. Mr. Trecker, during the war period, was group chairman of different drives and a director of the Wisconsin Gun Company, which was organized for the building of guns for the government. He belongs to the Milwaukee Athletic Club, the City Club, the Wisconsin Club and the Milwaukee Association of Commerce. His social qualities make him a favorite in the different club organizations with which he is identified and his progressive public spirit makes him a valued supporter of many plans and measures for the general good. His life record is deserving of much commendation, for he started out in the business world empty-handed and has steadily worked his way upward through merit and ability, proving that success and an honored name may be attained simultaneously.

Information Sources

  • History of Milwaukee, City and County, V2, 1922, pgs. 584-587

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