Farley & Loetscher
I met Dick when I was in college and we got married in 1956. Farley & Loetscher was still open then and it was thriving. They didn’t have the 1350 employees they had in the 20s but they had a thousand employees and they were known for quality and service. Dick had developed a casement window and so when he and I were married he traveled quite a bit all over the country as an expert on this casement window.
All the Loetschers worked there in Farley & Loetscher. Dick said it was sons and the husbands of the daughters and the in-laws and the outlaws. But they were smart. All the Loetschers were smart. Now, I’m not one, so I can say that.
You know, Dick could run every machine in Farley & Loetscher. When he was younger, he would take his bike down there from Lincoln School and he would sit on a bench and watch them work the machines. His father even bought him a lathe when he was nine years old. And so by the time he was in high school he could run everything in the factory. He loved it there and he always thought that Farley & Loetscher was where he would spend his life. But, when he was in his early thirties it sold. There were two reasons for that: the main one was that the Dubuque Pack and John Deere had come in and they offered higher wages and Farley & Loetscher couldn’t compete. And the other reason was, the second generation of Loetschers, they were getting older and they wanted their money. So … they sold the company to the Pritzker family from Chicago. The Pritzkers were planning to run it, but, like a lot of things, it just didn’t work out and the plant closed.
Dick handled it very well, though. He was hired by Caradco for a while, but he resigned from that position. There were no hard feelings, but they had always been competitors and things just didn’t work. After that he started out on his own in land development and building. So, he made the adjustment and he went on. It was a big adjustment, but he made it.