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Four Somers residents were recognized at the Nov. 9 2023 Village Board meeting with the “Making a Difference” award. Their plaques are now on display on the remodeled Somers lobby.

Award recipients are:

Minnie G. Ozanne

In 1896, Minnie entered the field of journalism, and for the next 63 years, was the Correspondent Reporter in the Town of Somers for the Kenosha News, Racine Journal Times, and Milwaukee Journal writing the column “Neighborhood News.” The column served as a permanent record of Somers pioneer families and the building of our community. At the same time, she was a teacher at Burr Oak and Bullamore Forks elementary schools in Somers from the late 1800s and early 1900s. She served as Somers Historian, writing and publishing a book titled “My Memories,” copyrighted in 1948, which chronicled early settlement history, first churches, mail service, original pioneers, sawmills, butter factories, barns and all the original Somers schools.

Ernest & Dolores Tabbert

Ernest “Bunky” Tabbert, Jr. served on the Somers Fire Department for 51 years, including 17 as Chief. He followed his father’s footsteps, Ernest Sr., who was the Department’s first Chief serving from 1934 to 1961. Bunky was also a charter member of the Somers rescue squad, organized in 1977, where he quickly enlisted his wife “Dee” who joined him as a volunteer for many years. Her family is also steeped in the history of Somers. Her father was Somers Postmaster from 1945 to 1959. Dee has served as a Somers poll worker, in addition to Chief Election Inspector for many years.

Ruth N. Teuscher

Ruth Teuscher received her bachelor’s degree in 1922 from the University of Chicago in addition to attending graduate school at Columbia University. She taught English and authored 13 books. In 1935, Ruth purchased 40 acres in Somers on Green Bay Road just west of Petrified Springs Park. Together with her sister Margaret, they spent years preserving and improving their land. In 1966, Ruth donated her home and acreage named Hawthorn Hollow to the Chris Hyslop Foundation to be preserved as a nature sanctuary. Ruth was also instrumental in offering Hawthorn Hollow as a place to preserve and care for the original 1847 Pike River School, the 1859 original Somers Town Hall and the 1906 second Pike River School House buildings.

Larry Gitzlaff

In 2007, the Somers Town Board received an offer from Larry Gitzlaff to donate a parcel of land to us as a future Town Park. The Town Board accepted the donation of 23.91 acre-parcel, located on Highway E, as a valuable addition to our park system. The land, appraised in 2007 for $657,500 represents a 33 percent increase to Somers total park land. Mr. Gitzlaff’s foresight in making this generous gift will make it possible for future generations to enjoy a park in a central location within our community.

Village Attorney Jeff Davidson pointed out at the meeting that this was the largest land donation by an individual in Kenosha County’s history.

The award was created last year. A submission form was created for anyone who would like to nominate a resident for the award.

Betty Edquist was the first recipient of this award. Her plaque reads as follows:

Betty Edquist

Betty’s career in Town government began as a special assistant to her husband, Glenn, who was a Somers tax assessor in the 1960s. She was hired as a deputy Town Clerk, a job she held until Frank Newman retired in April of 1970 at which time she was appointed. She was elected in her own right in 1971 and was re-elected 9 times before she retired in 1987. In 1989, she was elected to a term as Town Supervisor. Much beloved, she received a citation on her retirement from the Wisconsin State Assembly for having ‘served with distinction’ as the Town Clerk of Somers for 19 years.