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Henry Holt Uihlein Sr.

Uihlein, Henry Holt Sr. Henry Holt Uihlein Sr., businessman, teacher and a friend of many, found peace on August 30, 2011, at the age of 90. Beloved husband of Marion "Polly" Uihlein. Loving father of Henry Jr. (Tracey), Christopher (Julie Swietlik), Philip (Tracy) and Richard (Lauralee Arnold). Proud grandfather of Jennifer Straszewski (Ed), Marnie Omer (Jonathan), Rebecca Scott (Paul) and Philip. Loving great - grandfather to Anna and Tyler Straszewski, Aston Omer, Ella, Keegan and Kellan Scott. Step-grandfather to Aaron, Adam, and Kathryn Sklenar, Chris and Josh Christmas, and Danielle Richardson. Preceded in death by his parents Claudia and Herman Uihlein, brothers John and Herman, and sisters Mary, Helen and Claudia (Mitzy). Further survived by loving sister Virginia, nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. Whatever one may state as Henry's accomplishments, they would not have been possible without the love, understanding and support of his beloved wife, closest friend and companion for over 69 years, Marion "Polly" Strauss Uihlein. Henry and Polly married on June 13, 1942 and proceeded to continuously rewrite and enhance the script for one of the greatest "Love Stories" ever told. Henry attended Milwaukee Country Day School until the 9th grade and then attended and graduated from Cranbrook School in Birmingham, Michigan. Immediately after his marriage to Polly, Henry attended the University of Virginia where he played varsity football. World War II interrupted college as he enlisted in the United State Marine Corps, completed Basic Training at Camp Pendleton and served in the South Pacific. After World War II, Henry enrolled in and graduated from Babson College in Boston. Henry was an avid outdoorsman who loved hunting, riding and enjoyed the competitive participation and camaraderie of sports. Henry played semi-professional hockey in the later 1940's and early 1950's for the Milwaukee Flyers. He was one of the original few individuals that built and promoted youth hockey during the later 1950's, 60's and 70's within Milwaukee. In 1986, Henry was inducted into the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame for both his play on the ice and his support of youth hockey over the years. While not losing that competitive spirit as he progressed into his 50's and beyond, the friendly "gamesmanship" of sports in which he participated became an increasing theme and a true source of joy. Henry's love of Montana, and the many Montanans he met, started as a teenager when he worked as a wrangler at the 9 Quarter Circle ranch located in the Gallatin Valley near Bozeman, Montana. This Guest ranch was then operated by his sister Mary Uihlein Cunningham and her husband Bob Cunningham. Bob was from Montana and became a close friend and hunting companion of Henry's for many years. Henry's twin brother, John, owned and operated a cattle ranch in Ennis, Montana from 1946-1982. Montana became a true source of adventure and comfort for Henry throughout his life whether hunting in the fall, visiting friends, or spending time with his family during the summers. A true business entrepreneur, after World War II Henry became the President of Ben-Hur Manufacturing Company, then located on Keefe Avenue in Milwaukee, and led them to become the third leading producer of residential freezers in the United States in the mid 1950's. Ben-Hur manufactured product under its own label plus private labeled product for Admiral, Gibson, Sears (under their Cold Spot label) plus others. Due to the freezer business becoming a commodity market that was becoming dominated by a few large multi-national companies, Henry decided to liquate Ben-Hur in 1959. Starting over again in 1960 as the Henry Uihlein Corporation with only four other individuals, and his vision that the American consumer wanted a lifestyle based on added convenience, he pioneered the concept of the first residential freestanding and built-in automatic ice maker that did not require a drain. The introduction of the ice maker would eventually obsolete the then much used ice cube trays. In 1962 Henry recapitalized the business and renamed it U-Line Corporation. It was Henry's vision, leadership, and energy that provided the basis for this small independent refrigeration company to become the leader in the United States of built-in under the counter refrigeration products. Henry always showed a desire to help others further themselves whether that be through coaching, counseling or just a good old fashion discussion about his impression on "how the bear moves through the buckwheat". He continued his mission to help others when at 71 years old he retired from U-Line Corporation and started work at a nationally known organization by the name of Service Corp of Retired Executives (SCORE). Their objective was to help new businesses starting up or existing businesses that needed advice and counseling when things were not going well. Henry utilized his 50 plus years of experience to help individuals either launch a new business or successfully address a corrective course for an existing business. Henry retired from SCORE at the age of 84. Individuals that had been helped by Henry's counseling unsolicitley approached his sons over the years to tell them how his words and guidance had enabled them to achieve their objectives and desires with their individual business endeavors. Always mindful of helping others, both Henry and Polly had a strong sense of community. In 1952, he and his beloved wife made a commitment dedicated to providing educational opportunities for children. Due to their long-term vision, their commitment to helping others will continue for years to come. His love of life, family and friends will live on in the many whom he embraced. He will be missed by the many that knew and loved him. There were times when Henry's sons could remember him stating parts of an Irish saying as he spoke to them and friends. Below is the Irish saying in its entirety. "May the road rise to meet you May the wind always be at your back May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rain fall soft upon your fields And until we meet again May God hold you in the hollow of His hand" The family would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to Prestige Health Services and the many caregivers who provided Henry with much respect, thoughtful caring and compassion. A special thank you to Wheaton Franciscan Hospice for their dignified care. Visitation will be held on Friday, September 9, 2011, from 4:00 to 7:00 PM, at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church 7845 N. River Road, River Hills, WI. A celebration of Henry's life will be held on Saturday, September 10, 2011, at 10:30 AM, at the church with the Rev. Debra Trakel presiding. Private burial. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Henry's name may be made to Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, PO Box 12486, Milwaukee, WI 53212 or Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin, 13195 West Hampton Avenue, Butler, WI 53007.
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Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from Sept. 4 to Sept. 6, 2011
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