Carl F. Wuerthner

By dhowell - Posted on 02 January 2008

The Centennial Parade Marshal in 1967 was Carl F. Wuerthner. The 93-year-old former village president has a feeling for this community. One of the things he enjoyed most was getting 1,045 signatures on a petition for a mail box on Main Street, while on crutches.

He has served as the Maccabee Supreme Lt. Commander in the United States and Canada. Wuerthner is the son of the late John and Caroline Wuerthner. He attended Manchester High School and Brown Business College in Adrian; then he worked for his father in the clothing store here.

He and a brother Gustof bought an interest in the business in 1909 and it became known as John Wuerthner and Sons. They added a wholesale business in 1924 which Carl operated until 1952, when he sold to a partner Richard Alden. Walter Schaible bought the store in 1941.

Wuerthner remembers that the first bicycle was owned by E. A. Carr. He became interested in local politics in 1907, when he helped organize the Young Men's party. He organized the Progressive Party in 1919 and has been a guiding influence ever since. In 1944, he was elected Village President, serving three terms. He is the only Village President to be elected to an office of the Muncipal League of Michigan, having served as Vice President.

He was active in the Chamber of Commerce and in two summers was instrumental in collecting $2,712 from merchants here to show movies on Main Street on Wednesday nights to bring people into town from the surrounding area.

Wuerthner was one of the committee from the village named to raise $15,000 to bring the Double A Products Co. to Manchester in 1939. This is Manchester's largest factory. He was secretary of the building committee and has watched the growth of the plant with satisfaction.

Wuerthner made his first trip to Europe in 1949 on a conducted tour and left the group to spend 34 days with relatives. Surprised as to their lack of good clothing, he made a mental note to try to help them when he returned home. He made it a community project and asked people to bring usable clothing to his home. The first shipment was 50 parcels-894 pounds; the next shipment was 192 packages.

When the Village Council passed a resolution to unanimously instruct the village attorney to find the heirs of Carr Park and return the park to them, it was Wuerthner who stopped the move. Every child who plays in Carr Park can thank Mr. Wuerthner for his farsightedness.

He is active in the Washtenaw County Historical Society. At 83, he was named vice president of the Union Savings Bank. He is active in the Emanuel United Church of Christ and a member of its Senior Citizens.

On June 28, 1966, while in Lansing he was handed a copy of the Michigan House of Representatives Resolution 452. This commends him for his many active years of participation in civic, religious, commercial and political activities in the community and in the state. The resolution states in part: "That the highest praise and commendation be extended to him for his lifetime of active participation and service to the community, church and state and that he be held out as a sterling example of citizen responsibility and participation to be followed by all citizens....

Riding in the centennial parade was nothing new to Mr. Wuerthner. He rode in one in South Africa in 1956 and still wears the hat and shirt with its centennial motif that he wore then.