The Goldendale Sentinel, Goldendale, WA., April 11, 1963, page 4
Included portraits, one of which is titled:
GERHARD NEILS, who retired as sales manager of the J. Neils Lumber Company division of St. Regis March 31, following a lifetime with the company, standing in his office beside a picture of his father, the firm's founder. - Sentinel photos.
KLICKITAT COUPLE TO TO BE HONORED BY COMMUNITY ON RETIREMENT AND REMOVAL FROM KLICKITAT
Gerhard F. Neils, long-time sales manager at the large
J. Neils lumber and timber operation, with plant located at Klickitat, and
a leader in community, county and state civic functions, has made a difficult
decision to retire and leave the county.
Gerhard F. Neils was born in Sauk Rapids, Minn. on March 22, 1898. The J. Neils Lumber Company was first organized at Sauk Rapids and was moved to Cass Lake, Minnesota in 1900, so Gerhard went with his family, when he was two, to make his home at Cass Lake until he was grown.
He received his grade school training at the local parochial school and went on to Concordia College, in St. Paul, for his high school work. From the time he was 14, his father put him to work for the company during his summer vacations. He started as water boy, then advanced to tally man for shop lumber, took inventory, towed rafts and barges on the lake, sorted green lumber, and "did almost any kind of work" where he was needed. Gerhard was the youngest of the four Neils sons, who went into business with his father. In those days, his wage was 20 cents an hour for a ten-hour day - and no extra pay for overtime.
In 1916, he entered the School of Business at the University of Minnesota; but in the fall of 1918 he was elected for officers training in the United States Army and served until he was discharged after the Armistice. He went back to school and graduated in the spring of 1921.
Back at Cass Lake, he became timekeeper and was in charge of retail trade. In the fall of 1922, he became sales manager and handled the sales of about 40 million feet of Norway, white and jack pine.
In 1922, J. Neils purchased the Klickitat operation in anticipation of closing the Cass Lake mill in 1923 . Gerhard remained at Cass Lake until all the lumber was sold and then moved to Klickitat in November, 1924, taking over the important position as sales manager, which he has held, without interruption, until his retirement. Many of the Cass Lake employees and their families also moved to Klickitat and some of them are still employed in the operation.
The community of Klickitat, in 1924, had most of the aspects of a frontier town. It had a few houses and a boarding house. In 1924, another boarding house was added and, progressively, over the years, houses were added, streets improved, and utilities bettered - until now it is one of the nicest small communities of its type anywhere.
In 1927 disaster struck with fire at the sawmill. The sawmill and planer were rebuilt and behind the steady improvements. Gerhard had considerable influence in guiding the operation effort and design for the objectives of quality of product, quality of service and over-all reputation of the company for the end objective of customer satisfaction. These long-range objectives and achievements have been a great contributing factor in the success of the Klickitat operation.
In 1931 a box factory was started to utilize low-grade lumber in the manufacture of fruit boxes. To keep pace with customer satisfaction and operating efficiency, Gerhard - in 1956 - developed the plan for the new equipment and production line in the planing mill, which today is considered one of the industry's best.
Gerhard Neils has consistently sold the production of the plant with far-sighted policies and guidance. His retirement will be regretted by his associates and his personal customer friends. He is well known in the lumber industry throughout the states from his many sales trips and his close daily participation in the lumber business.
The good wishes of the Klickitat -- Camp Draper J. Neils communities - and the county - are extended to this friend and leader of Klickitat county. Long-time friends of Gerhard and Selma Neils are invited to a farewell open house, to be held at the Klickitat High School gymnasium, Friday, April 19, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The Neils' will make their new residence in Oswego and Neskowin, Ore.
On rare occasions, a woman comes along who has a fore-sighted, creative approach to living, which is combined with the required persistence and energies that develop worthy causes and historical permanence and whose benefits are available to everyone and forever lasting. Selma Neils has been doing just this since 1924, on arrival in Klickitat County.
When asked what had been some of her more important activities since her arrival in that community in 1924, Mrs. Neils, whose husband recently retired from J. Neils Lumber Company as sales manager, replied, "Oh, just say I graduated from the University of Minnesota, married, had three children and had ten grandchildren."
Residents of Klickitat County know that Selma's scarcity of words hide a long list of community contributions which the townspeople will long remember.
After she graduated in economics and started working on her master's degree, Gerhard persuaded her to take an MRS, instead of an M.S., and brought her to Klickitat - a town without a church or high school; its grade school consisted of two rooms and was staffed by two teachers.
In the late 20s, the PTA was organized, with Mrs. Neils' help, and she served as its third president. At the last meeting of the PTA, she was honored for her long service by being presented with an inscribed gold charm for her charm bracelet and by being the principal in a humorous "kangaroo court" skit in which she was charged with the many improvements Klickitat had gained under her guidance. In atonement for these charges, she donated her refrigerator to the school that same evening.
It was during her term as president of the PTA that the senior banquets were started to honor seniors and their parents. This is an event ranking second to graduation in the school and the community.
Educational interests have priority in the Neils family and Selma is proudest of the 15 years she served on the school board. Many things transpired while she served in this capacity, a partial list being the start of a library, remodeling of the school building, black-topping the play area of the school, painting of the school with volunteer labor, and land-scaping the grounds.
Mr. and Mrs. Neils' interest in education continues to be active and they have helped many deserving Klickitat high school graduates through college.
In 1929, the women of Klickitat met at the Neils home and formed the Klickitat County Women's Club, with Miss Laura Soaper and Elise Creceluis helping in its organization. The Women's Club has accomplished many worthwhile community works, from completely furnishing the kitchen in the gymnasium after the gym was built in 1936, to arranging the first rock display in the area at their Hobby Show. Their most recent project was their Klickitat Women's Cook Book, which was printed and sold in December, attaining a wide distribution.
Selma's mail project, through the Women's Club, has been her establishment, in 1936, of a reading program throughout the country. This program is directed by the extension division of WSU, with ESO credit given under the National Women's Federation Program.
In connection with the reading program, the club has donated over $500 in books to county libraries.
Mrs. Neils organized the Community Betterment Program under the auspices of the Women's Club. Some of the Betterment Program's projects have been the Christmas lighting contest, the Community Christmas tree and carol singing, care of the athletic field, summer recreation, a swimming program, volunteer help for outdoor recreation, summer pageant, summer baseball, volleyball, painting instruction, and summer speed-reading courses.
Grace Lutheran Church and the pastor's home were built after the Neils came to Klickitat, and the couple were actively engaged in the planning. Mrs. Neils was president of the Ladies Aid three different times; taught in the Sunday School and summer Bible School, having organized the latter when the community was without a Pastor. Under the sponsorship of the Lutheran Institute for the Blind, Mrs. Neils organized a Braille class to help copy Sunday School material to forward to the blind.
The Red Cross Bloodmobile originally started coming to Klickitat after a serious illness of Selma's necessitated numerous transfusions. After recovery, she encouraged the community to join the Red Cross Blood Program and, through her efforts and those of the Union, Ruben Libke and Dr. John Reynolds, then of The Dalles, the program was established in Klickitat.
Mrs. Neils has been an active Red Cross worker, especially during the depression when she helped sew dresses, make quilts and knit. The wooden buttons for the clothing were made by their son, Gerhard Neils Jr..
The Klickitat County Women's Republican Club was another of Mrs. Neils' project and she also served as Republican State Committeewoman for many years.
The Historical Society, of Goldendale, is indebted to the Neils for their help toward establishing the museum in that city. The Klickitat Room in the building has just been wallpapered with an authentic paper of the early 1900s, chosen by Mrs. Neils during a trip to San Francisco, and she has donated many objects to the museum. She is currently organizing a white elephant sale of items taken from the Neils home. The sale was held on April 10, at 1:30 p.m., at the home of Mrs. Hugo Larsen, for the benefit of the Women's Club Scholarship and the Historical Society.
After April, Selma and Gerhard will alternate their residence between Oswego and Neskowin, Oregon. Although leaving the county, they will continue to be considered first citizens of Klickitat County
The Goldendale Sentinel, Goldendale, WA., April 25, 1963, page 6
G.F. NEILS FAREWELL EVENT GATHERES 400 AT KLICKITAT
KLICKITAT (Special) - That Klickitat school gym was bright
with colors of spring flowers, evergreen trees, a mural of the mill complete
with a lumberjack on the pond and the shay engine and white trash cans
resplendent with large pink flowers on them, when over 400 relatives and
friends gathered Friday, April 19, to bid Auf Wiedersehen to Gerhard and
The open house, given by St. Regis, brought back fond memories for the older as well as the younger generation, who have worked beside and played beside G.F. and Selma, and watched Klickitat develop from virtually a frontier town to one of the more modern mill towns of the west.
Bobby Kasnick's orchestra from The Dalles played from 7 to 9 p.m. for dancing. They also accompanied the soloists, Roberta Jeffreies of Portland, and Wesley Boardman of Camp Draper, and played for the community sing, which was a part of the program. Carol Bales and Richard Miner led the singing with the exception of the German numbers sung, which were ably led by Hugo Schmidt and G.F. Neils Jr.
Two of the numbers sung were given new words more fitting to the occasion by Mrs. Paul Wonderly and could be called, "St. Regis has a rule, you know," and "There'll be a hot time in Klickitat tonight."
Bob Graeme's Dip and Dive Square Dance Club, junior and senior members, presented a couple dances for the enjoyment of those present.
Paul Wonderly, resident manager, was master of ceremonies. After short talks by Mr. and Mrs. Neils, at the close of the evening, Carol Bales on behalf of the office personnel from Klickitat and Glenwood and the foreman, presented G.F. with a wind gauge, and Mrs. Ada Hall presented Selma with a silver charm bracelet from local women's groups with which she had been associated.
Refreshments of coffee, punch and cake were served from a table centered with an arrangement of blue, white and yellow flowers and a large sheet cake with an outline map of Washington and Oregon with the names of the Neils present Klickitat and future Lake Oswego and Neskowin homes marked by a small shay engine, motor boat and golfing equipment.
That guest book was signed by friends from Portland, Goldendale, Lake Oswego, Glenwood, The Dalles, Centerville, Lyle, Miles City, Montana, Seattle, Bend, Ore., Hood River, White Salmon and Laurel.
A few of the out of town guests included Mr. and Mrs. Walt Rathert, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Neils, Miss Anna Neils, Mrs. Roberta Jefferies, all of Portland; Hugo Schmidt of Boulder City, Nevada; Clem Ulbricht, Lake Oswego; Mr. and Mrs. Walter Neils of Libby, Montana; Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Neils, Mr. and Mrs. Willie Taraha, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Grubb, Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Lofgren, Mr. and Mrs. Tye Murray, Mr. and Mrs. Conboy, all of Glenwood.
Mr. and Mrs. Bill Ownby, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Phillips, Archie Radcliffe, Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Wilson, Mayor and Mrs. George Nesbitt, Mr. and Mrs. Lowell Johnson, Dr. and Mrs. G.J. Timmer, Bill Radke, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Bratton, Mr. and Mrs. George Klein, Mrs. Pete May, Mr. and Mrs. Harold Fariello, Mr. and Mrs. Don Bridgefarmer, all of Goldendale; Mr. and Mrs. Henry Miller, Centerville; Mr. and Mrs. Hubert Warner and John Tobin.
Commented by many were the decorated pine trees featured throughout the hall, bright with colorful "blossoms" at branch tip.
© Jeffrey L. Elmer