Highland News Leader

A Thought to Remember: Ed Frisse gets ‘Tip of the Hat’ for 2015

Edwin “Ed” Frisse’s picture in the Highland Sesquicentennial Book on Page 108 shows him in his Army uniform as a staff sergeant in World War II.
Edwin “Ed” Frisse’s picture in the Highland Sesquicentennial Book on Page 108 shows him in his Army uniform as a staff sergeant in World War II.

A happy New Year to all of my readers, family, relatives and friends.

This October and December have not been good months for the Harris family. Our good friends, Eugene B. “Gene” Korte died on Oct. 28, and his wife, Mary Tschannen Haldi Korte, died on Dec. 21. Then, Edwin “Ed” Frisse died on Dec. 3. Ed. will be my “Tip of the Hat” for 2015.

Both Gene and Ed were from large farm families. Gene lived near Pierron, and Ed. lived south of Highland, then near Grantfork.

In World War II, both men served in the European Theater during the Battle of the Bulge. Gene was in the 2nd Infantry Division, serving 31 months. Ed worked at Wicks Organ Co., then served almost three years during World War II. He was assigned to the 11th Armored Division, a part of Gen. Patton’s Tank Corps.

After World War II, Gene was employed by Ellsworth “Pat” Steiner at Steiner’s Men’s Wear on Main Street in the shoe department. Then, Gene purchased the shoe department when Pat retired, becomng the owner of Korte Shoe Department of Hug’s Men & Boy’s Wear. (Today, it’s where Lee’s Fine Jewelry, Loans & More is located, at 919 Main St.)

After the war, Ed was the bookkeeper and general handyman at Spengel’s Furniture Store. He then started with Highland Machine and Screw Products Co. at 6th and Cypress, which was started by Claude Miles in 1944, as he purchased the machine division of Basler Electric. Cletus Zimmermann became a partner in Highland Machine in late 1944, and they hired Edwin Frisse in August 1946 for their office. Then, Highland Machine built its new 6,000-square-foot building on Gisler’s Hill at 700 5th St. That new building was built by Louis Jacober Sr.

“Claude Miles died in 1951, with Cletus Zimmermann becoming president and Edwin Frisse as vice president. Zimmerman started selling portions of the company to Ed in 1963. Then, when Zimmermann retired, Ed had control and remained chairman of the Board.

“Clete Zimmermann also invested in some land for the buildings that Ralph Korte was building in Highland, as Ralph and Clete purchased the old shoe factory buildings, Williams Chevrolet buildings and Dr. Holcome office building, so that the First National Bank, Schuette’s Piggly-Wiggly building and Jim Ranken Pharmacy could be built in the 1000 block of Broadway, on the south side of Broadway.” (Thanks, Sue.)

“By April 1965, Ralph Korte and Ed Frisse purchased the two lots at the northeast corner of 9th and Laurel for the first of their six apartment complexes that they built as partners. Ralph also built the next three buildings for Highland Machine, located west of their original building. They had almost 50 years as partners in these apartments.” (Thanks, Ralph.)

Ed was instrumental in the Highland Manufactures Association in building the swimming pool at Lindendale Park. Ed also helped secure and invested in John Lutostanski Sr.’s Tri-Onics and Mike Kilgore’s Highland Spring & Specialties. These are just a few of his many, many accomplishments. He also helped many of his employees when they needed assistance, plus many others who needed his help. He was truly a great friend, a humble man, a great family man and a valuable asset to Highland. I’m proud to make Edwin Frisse my 2015, “Tip of the Hat.”

(Quotes from Sue Frisse Sullivan, Ralph Korte and my files.)

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