Letters (May 20, 2009)

Goessel loses a friend of the community


Notice came that Robert Wiesian of Milwaukee, Wis., passed away April 15.

Wiesian became acquainted with residents of Goessel in about 1984 as he wrote to the mayor, at that time Dave Schrag, inquiring how the town came by its name.

I responded in a letter about the Captain Kurt Von Goessel sinking with his ship the Elbe in 1895, and Postmaster Dr. Peter Richert then naming the new post office ?Goessel?

Wiesian wrote back, explaining that he was a relative of the captain, and they knew all about him and his family. Wiesian filled in many details of this family and story not previously known in Kansas.

Robert Wiesian was a retired newspaperman. He worked as an editor and publisher of three local newspapers and production manager of five local newspapers for the Appleton Post organization. He retired as a fore?man-supervisor of the composing room of the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel.

He was also an avid genealogist. He first organized a reunion of American relatives of Captain Goessel to come to the Goessel Threshing Days in the late 1980s.

In 1995 he also organized a visit of 25 relatives and descendants of the captain who came from Germany to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the naming of the Goessel post office.

Wiesian served in the military in World War II under General George Patton and unknowingly traveled through some of the area where his relatives lived. After he established acquiantances in Goessel, he acquired and donated a large photo (24-inch by 36-inch) of the captain, which now hangs in the Goessel High School Library.

Wiesian was 86 years old. He is survived by his wife Elfriede, two daughters, six grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.

Brian Stucky


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