Memorial dedicated to New London icon
By Roger Pitt
“That’s putting the cart before the horse.”
I can hear those words as Sig stopped at the End Stool during one of his daily inspections of New London.
Sig died Oct. 27, 2013 at 98.
Sigurd Krostue was an icon, entwined in virtually every aspect of New London after he and his first wife, Virginia, adopted it as their home in 1946 after serving 1944-45 as a captain with the 127th Bomb Wing, 490th Burma Bridge Busters in China, India and Burma. He retired in 1952 with the rank of Major in the U.S. Air Force Reserves.
Sig became a New London Lions Club member shortly after establishing his law practice in the city.
“He was our oldest member and the club wanted to recognize him,” said Dave Rusch, who joined the club in about 1960.
The Sigurd Krostue memorial will be dedicated at a ceremony 6 p.m. Aug. 10 at its site at the northwest corner of the Pearl Street Bridge. There will be no unveiling because there is no way to hide a work in progress being etched in stone with hammer and chisel in a huge rock on site.
It also needed county and state approval to use the site.
Sig liked things in order – “horse before the cart” – but believed more in a satisfactory outcome.
Rusch, Roger Steingraber and Bill Krejcarek routinely meet Fridays and the memorial project was on their agenda – a word Sig often used to describe his daily schedule.
Sig was Rusch’s attorney when he became a partner in the funeral home and furniture business.
“We had a meeting in his office to go over the agreement,” Rusch said. “It was on the second floor of Pichelmeyer’s Drug store and it was torture going up those steps.
“There must have been 30 steps and they were steep … almost like going up a ladder. I think Sig lived so long because of climbing those steps.”
Steingraber cited Sig’s affinity for the young of New London. “He often talked to my daughter Molly, asking if her dad had bought her a car. He would tell her ‘you would look good in a red convertible.’”
Fred Zaug recalled Sig and his dad, Jerome, routinely engaged in arguing about politics or anything else. “They were good friends. They just liked to argue. The first Braves game I saw in 1956 was with Sig and his son Bob.”
If there was an example of an enigma, Sig would be on the poster.
Sig was often described as growly, gruff and difficult to approach. He was opinionated. He left little doubt where he stood on any issue, whether you liked the answer or not.
Sig was a public figure, never shirking a leadership role in public office, public service or the many organizations he belonged to. He put his heart and effort into anything he believed in.
He seldom missed an activity involving New London school students and was an avid Bulldog backer, being recognized as the No. 1 fan. He frequented boys league and softball games. He helped organize the Boys League as a member of the Lions.
He was an early supporter of renovating Hatten Stadium, currently in the third of four phases. A neighborhood park bears the family name.
He was a dedicated cheerleader for the virtues of New London.
Criticizing the city and activities fired the wrath of Sig, something that would stick with you.
Sig was active in the Legion and VFW. He had an affinity for those who served. He was on the Waupaca County Veterans Service Commission from 1979 to 1997.
He was New London City Attorney from 1948 to 1968.
Sig was elected Mayor in 1968 and served two terms at his volition. His years as city attorney, doing much of the groundwork on policies and regulations governing the city, enabled him to get things done.
He also left his mark on New London commerce. He was instrumental in creating New London Economic Development that helped establish local industry – including Curwood. In addition, he teamed with Dr. Herman Schmallenberg and Ed Wohlt in several ventures, including banking and communications.
Sig approached the End Stool one day carrying a brown bag containing a picture. He was overwhelmed and ecstatic that the New London girls, “made a special effort to pose with him following the championship basketball game” in Madison.
A brown paper bag wouldn’t hold the memorial rock, but I know Sig would be proud and ecstatic about that recognition.