The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has an interesting story on the death of Mille Totushek, a former South Milwaukee resident and accomplished photographer.
From the story:
She grew up in South Milwaukee. Her first camera was a little black Brownie, a reward from her grandmother for picking raspberries. Later, while still in high school, she applied for a part-time drafting job at Bucyrus-Erie.
“I wanted to be an architect or an interior decorator,” Totushek said, speaking in a 1976 newspaper story. “They didn’t have an opening, so they asked me if I’d like to start temporarily in the photographic department.”
The temporary job lasted 10 years.
“I was doing machines and going up on cranes,” she said. “I’d crawl into their open furnaces to take pictures of their bricks.”
She would go on to study photography at the Layton School of Art and open a photo studio in Oak Creek. From the story:
Totushek repeatedly won the annual grand award for the Wisconsin Professional Photographers Association. Other honors included the Professional Photographers of America’s mentor award. She was a regular judge for photo competitions, both in Wisconsin and elsewhere. She continued working into her 70s.
There are some wonderful memories of Mille in this Heritage Funeral Home online guestbook.
The Totushek name is well-known in South Milwaukee. Mille was the sister-in-law of former South Milwaukee School Board member and area musician Robert Totushek, who died in 2001. You can read his obituary here.