A Century of Making a Difference: Happy 100th Birthday, Mayor Chet!

Former South Milwaukee Mayor Chet Grobschmidt turns 100 today!

Please join me in wishing a happy birthday to this community icon, on what we’ve proclaimed Mayor Chet Day in South Milwaukee.

WHEREAS, Chester W. Grobschmidt was born June 8, 1920, one of five children of John and Ann Grobschmidt. The family moved to South Milwaukee in 1926. Chet attended St. Mary’s Grade School and graduated from South Milwaukee High School in 1938; and

WHEREAS, in 1938 Chet got his first job pedaling the Shopping News. Four years later, Chet began his 40-year career at Bucyrus Erie, retiring in 1983. Chet served in the Navy during World War II from 1942-46 in New Guinea (Admiralty Islands), and was discharged with the rank of Second Class Metalsmith. Chet was celebrated for his service by participating in an Honor Flight to Washington D.C.; and

WHEREAS, in January, 1948, during the Blizzard of ‘48, Chet married Leone Repech and they had two children, Richard and Karen. Leone passed away in 1982 after 34 years of marriage. In 1992, Chet married Lorraine Schweitzer and expanded his family with four stepchildren: Sharon, Patsy, Jim and Jon. Chet and Lorraine were married for 24 years until her death in 2016; and

WHEREAS, Chet has a long legacy of service to his community. He served as Alderperson for the Fourth District for nine years. In 1966, Chet was elected Mayor of the City of South Milwaukee and served the city in that capacity for 28 years, retiring in 1994. During his time as Mayor, Chet provided strong leadership for the city during a time of significant change.  This list of course is long, a few highlights are in 1982, City Hall moved to its current location at the former Parkway Elementary School on 15th Avenue, and the mayor led efforts to fund and open the South Milwaukee Senior Center, which was renamed the Chester W. Grobschmidt Senior Center in 1996. The new fire station was dedicated in 1981, and Chet was instrumental in the bringing the Med-10 Unit to the city which began service in 1988. He also began the recycling program and led efforts to keep local control over the South Milwaukee Sewage Treatment Plant; and

WHEREAS, Mayor Chet’s dedication to the city and it didn’t end when he left office. Chet was a strong advocate for the beautification of the downtown area.  An avid gardener, he prized his dahlias and would bring some to City Hall every year for the employees to enjoy. He was a member of multiple veterans organizations, involved with the War Memorial and served as president of the Historical Society; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that I, Mayor Erik Brooks and the Common Council of the City of South Milwaukee do hereby declare June 8, 2020, as “Mayor Chet Day” in the City of South Milwaukee in celebration of his 100th birthday, wish Chet well as we recognize this milestone, and thank him for his lifetime of dedicated service to the city. 

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