This page includes The "Who's Who in the WFSC" columns from the 1997 issues of Across the Fence Post.
January issue No column this issue
Member: Paul T. Schroeder
By Robert J. Mather, Waukesha County Philatelic Society
Paul T. Schroeder recently assumed the position of WFSC East-Central Region VP. He, therefore, was chosen for this month's feature so you might get to know him a bit better.
Paul was born in 1940 in suburban Elmhurst, IL, and spent his youth living in places like Chicago, Peoria, and Morton, IL, as well as in Davenport and Iowa City, IA. He served a stint in the U.S. Army from 1963-65, most of which was spent in Honolulu, HI.
Paul's first contact with organized philately was with the Peoria Philatelic Society and the Illinois Postal History Society. When he moved to Wisconsin, he joined the Oshkosh Philatelic Society and the Wisconsin Postal History Society. All we have to say about that is "Illinois' loss is our gain."
An interest in trains led Paul to join the Mobile Post Office Society in 1974. In 1976, he oversaw and coordinated a cover exchange program for collectors interested in American Freedom Train postmarks. As a result of that project, Linn's Stomp News published Paul's 1 1/2-page feature story on the history of the AFT and the stops it made. The story appeared in an April 1977 issue of Linn's.
In 1974 Paul also joined the Post Mark Collectors Club, a national organization that operates a museum and library in Bellevue, OH, and meets at an annual convention. He served as treasurer of this group from 1982-85 and as president from 1986-89. He was again elected treasurer for another four-year term beginning in 1994. Paul was very active on the PMCC's 1981 and 1991 convention committees. He edited the PMCC's 50th anniversary booklet in 1996, and has contributed numerous feature articles to the group's publication, the PMCC Bulletin.
Since moving to Wisconsin, Paul has become no less active. He has served one term as president of the Oshkosh Philatelic Society and is in his second term as treasurer. He additionally often contributes articles for publication in Badger Postal History, quarterly journal of the Wisconsin Postal History Society.
Paul has been a member of the Oshkosh Post Office's Customer Advisory Council since it was begun in 1993. This is an all-volunteer group that tries to provide the Oshkosh post-master with the customer's perspective of local post office services.
Paul's collecting interests began with stamps but have evolved toward postal history. He is currently very interested in postmarks of all types from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa. He searches for dead post office postmarks, early machine postmarks, unusual hand cancels, and items that illustrate correct (or not correct) postal rates and postal services.
We are certainly glad that Paul has moved to Wisconsin and we appreciate his dedication to the hobby. The WFSC can only be stronger with individuals like Paul who are willing to serve in the various offices and positions that make up the WFSC. Our thanks go out to Paul, as well as our best wishes for the future.
March issue No column this issue
Member: Jim Beck
_By Robert J. Mather, Waukesha County Philatelic Society
The Wauwatosa Philatelic Society hosts WISCOPEX ‘97 and member Jim Beck is the general chairman for the event. Jim has been a WPS member for about six years and has served as treasurer for that group. He resigned that position to be able to devote more time to WISCOPEX.
Jim is 58 years of age and lives in the city of Milwaukee with Patricia, his wife of 34 years. The Becks have four children and five grandchildren. Only the oldest son has an interest in stamp collecting. Jim is an independent sales representative for SEMCO Products of Milwaukee, a job he has held for about 20 years. SEMCO is a manufacturer and wholesaler of filing systems. Before this, Jim was a firefighter at Mitchell Field and prior to that he served in the Armed Forces.
Jim started collecting as a youth in 1948. He was the mascot for the basketball and baseball teams of the University of Wisconsin extension system in Milwaukee (now UWM). As a thank you, the teams gave him an album and a big batch of stamps. As mascot, he got to travel with the teams and he remembers when they played an inmate team at Waupun State Prison. He recalls seeing machine guns mounted on turrets and he also recalls some of the stories that were told about some of the notorious inmates. He thinks he was the first kid of 10 or 11 to be allowed in the place.
Jim specializes in the Franklin Roosevelt issue (Scott Nos. 930-33). He has every plate block known for this issue and it took him about three years to obtain them all. He has five plate blocks of six that are signed by Eleanor Roosevelt. He stopped at a dealer's shop one day. An old man walked in and placed these blocks in his hand saying, "Here's something you'll like." Jim asked how much he wanted for them, and the old man said $15. When Jim replied that $75 was more than he wanted to pay, the man said he wanted $15 for the whole lot! By this time, the dealer, of course, was becoming upset. Today, Eleanor Roosevelt's signature is going for about $600, so Jim really treasures those plate blocks. He is now looking for a catalog and prices realized for the first of the four auctions of the Franklin Roosevelt collections.
Jim also collects A. C. Gilhert erector sets, of which there are three eras: 1913-32, 1933-57, and 1958-63. He restores the sets when he gets them. Additionally, he does woodworking in his spare time. He is a Chicago Cubs fan and an admirer of Jackie Robinson.
His advice to collectors is: "Join a club and help out. Be an active participant in the hobby. Contribute."
We wish Jim all the best for the future and hope WISCOPEX '97 is a huge success, [Editor's note: This review was written in November 1996. On February 23, 1997, Jim suffered heart failure and had quadruple bypass surgery on February 27. Word (as of early March) is Jim is doing fine and WISCPEX '97 is well under control. We wish Jim a speedy total recovery.] •
May/June issue No column this issue
July/August issue No column this issue
Member: Darren Mueller
By Robert J. Mather, Waukesha County Philatelic Society
At 23 years of age, Darren Mueller is a youngster in the hobby, but he is certainly no less enthusiastic about it than those of us who have been at it for a lifetime.
Darren has been a member of the Milwaukee Philatelic Society for nearly four years, having moved from Fond du Lac to attend school at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Prior to his move, he was a member of the Fond du Lac Stamp Club.
Darren was born and raised in Fond du Lac. Today, he lives in the city of Oak Creek with his wife of three years, Kristi, and their nine-month-old son, Ryan. Darren works on inside sales at ADI, a wholesale distributor of alarm supplies. He also works part time for United Parcel Service. Between the two jobs and family responsibilities, he is kept quite busy and has a limited amount of time to pursue stamp collecting.
Darren started collecting stamps when he was five years old through his grandfather, who was his school's principle and a collector. His grandfather always got U.S. Postal Service annual folders for all of the students, and if any student couldn't find stamps to fill out the folder, he would help them out.
Darren's specialty is Fond du Lac County postal history. He also collects stamps of the United States, West Germany, and Iceland. He acquires the majority of his Iceland issues by trading with collectors in the Scandinavian countries. Darren would like to exhibit his Fond du Lac postal history, but is held back by his current lack of time.
Darren is also a member of the Wisconsin Postal History Society, the American Philatelic Society, and the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society. He additionally serves as the sole member of the WFSC's Wisconsin Stamp Suggestion Committee.
Because of his interest in Fond du Lac postal history, his interests have broadened to include historical books, documents, papers, etc., and he actively searches for these items. He has advertised in Fond du Lac and Green Lake counties for old covers, letters, books, postcards, papers, etc., and has obtained some of his material through this means. He says that he is a real hunter and will even go door to door in search of old papers and information. He relates a story of a hat and glove shop that has been in business at Old World Third Street in Milwaukee for well over 100 years. He always intended to stop in and ask them about old papers. When he finally got around to it, he was told they had thrown out two dumpsters of old correspondence and papers just a couple of years earlier.
Darren also tells about doing some consulting work for a private archive, where the party he worked for paid him in old correspondence. He wound up with several thousand covers of German and United States correspondence. Some went to Wisconsin Postal History Society members, some were sold and traded, and Darren retained some for himself.
When asked for words of wisdom, he was a bit reluctant to say a lot because of his age in relation to nearly everyone else in the hobby. He does, however, have an opinion about why young people are not joining the hobby. Stamp collecting is time-consuming and people are not willing to slow down and take that time. He feels letter writing is a lost art, but computers are a valuable tool the hobby can use. The more people with whom you can share your knowledge, the better, whether it be about stamp collecting or whatever.
Darren is proving there is a future for the hobby and we wish him all the best.
October issue No column this issue
November issue No column this issue
Member: Robert T. Voss
By Robert J. Mather. Waukesha County Philatelic Society
Robert Voss has lived in Madison for 14 years and has been a Badger Stamp Club member since moving there. He and his wife, Marcy, have been married for 28 years and have two grown daughters, neither of who is a stamp collector. Bob grew up in the Chicago area. He attended Colorado State University and then enrolled at a seminary in Dubuque, IA. He has been a Lutheran pastor in Colorado state, Washington state, and now in Wisconsin, so he has moved around a bit. Currently, he is pastor of Lake Edge Lutheran Church in Madison.
At eight years of age, the brightly colored stamps of Denmark intrigued Bob. He was introduced to them through his father, who made a business trip to that country. This, together with help from dealer Marvin Bernberg, got him started as a collector. As a beginner, Bob collected (accumulated is the way he puts it) worldwide issues, and most of his stamps are stored in glassines by country. His Scandinavian and Europa stamps, however, are in albums, so it would seem that he is at least a bona fide collector when it comes to those two specialties.
Bob also collects religion on stamps. He has exhibited his Dag Hammarskjold, Martin Luther, and HIV collections. He has exhibited at local and state shows, and even at ROMPEX, where he garnered a bronze award. Four years ago, he became interested in semipostals and is awaiting the upcoming first United States semipostal issue. He recently began working on a collection featuring the Dome of the Rock, a religious building in Jerusalem.
Bob's hobbies include tennis, fishing and music. He plays the guitar with a local folk group and is active in AIDS-related ministries. He is a Packers fan. Being originally from Chicago, he is an avid Cubs fan, but emphasized that he is not a Bears fan.
He lists membership in the following philatelic organizations: American Philatelic Society, American Topical Association, Scandinavian Collectors Club, Europa Study Unit, and Collectors of Religion on Stamps.
In searching for stamps, Bob has found two Canadian errors: a printing error on a $1 issue and a preprinting paper fold. His prize item is a Preacher in the Pulpit cork cancel on U.S. Scott #65. When asked for words of advice for stamp collectors, he referred to a byline on his hobby stationery. It states: "Stamp collecting for the fun of it."
Our best wishes go out to Bob and we hope that he will be "collecting stamps for the fun of it" for many years to come. •
Latest update: June 14, 2005