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Jim Koles retires after 48 years with Antigo Block Co., Wick family
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Jim Koles has retired from the Antigo Block Co. after 48 years on the job, a long career that offers unusual rewards and equally difficult working conditions.

It certainly was not easy work, Koles said recently, but added that it is very nice to see what you did for nearly five decades of your life.

Koles, an Antigo native and graduate of Antigo High School, went to work for Walter Wick at the block firm on Milton Street and Eighth Avenue and never left. When he retired, his longtime boss, Wick, was on hand to offer his best wishes.

The Wick family, with two generations operating the firm, have certainly been pleased to have a dedicated employee, like Koles. Dependability, years of experience and knowledge of how to create blocks and associated products with a sharp eye on quality is essential.

Koles explained that after 48 years on the job, starting as a teen, he grew a bit older with the entire Wick family, including his boss, Walter.

This was not easy work, Koles said, but as the decades passed things did improve.

The lifting that dated back to the early years was eased through automation, and the Wick family took great advantage of the advances.

We were probably 10 percent automated when I arrived, Koles said, and 90 percent when I retired.

But even at 90 percent, employees have to lift and work. The blocks weigh about 50 pounds each, and 48 years of lifting and tugging them here and there takes a toll. But Koles appears to be in remarkable shape.

I learned how to make the blocks work for me, he said, adding there are tricks to the trade.

As for retirement, Koles said he and his wife Norma have no big plans. But they do anticipate more relaxation, he will be doing more of the things he loves, including hunting, fishing, and spending time with their family and grandchildren.

While some retire from their lifetime jobs, and walk away without visible evidence of what they were part of, that isn’t the situation with Koles.

He can ride past the shopping centers on the north side of Antigo, the high school, a number of county structures including the Safety Building and so many more it is impossible to count. They all used Antigo Block Co. products.

He, and the Wick family, see that as a focus for their pride.
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From the left, Cal Wick, Jim Koles, Walter Wick and Shirley Tatro at a retirement gathering for Koles, who has been part of the family's Antigo Block firm for 48 years.

Jim Koles retires after 48 years with Antigo Block Co., Wick family
space
Jim Koles has retired from the Antigo Block Co. after 48 years on the job, a long career that offers unusual rewards and equally difficult working conditions.

It certainly was not easy work, Koles said recently, but added that it is very nice to see what you did for nearly five decades of your life.

Koles, an Antigo native and graduate of Antigo High School, went to work for Walter Wick at the block firm on Milton Street and Eighth Avenue and never left. When he retired, his longtime boss, Wick, was on hand to offer his best wishes.

The Wick family, with two generations operating the firm, have certainly been pleased to have a dedicated employee, like Koles. Dependability, years of experience and knowledge of how to create blocks and associated products with a sharp eye on quality is essential.

Koles explained that after 48 years on the job, starting as a teen, he grew a bit older with the entire Wick family, including his boss, Walter.

This was not easy work, Koles said, but as the decades passed things did improve.

The lifting that dated back to the early years was eased through automation, and the Wick family took great advantage of the advances.

We were probably 10 percent automated when I arrived, Koles said, and 90 percent when I retired.

But even at 90 percent, employees have to lift and work. The blocks weigh about 50 pounds each, and 48 years of lifting and tugging them here and there takes a toll. But Koles appears to be in remarkable shape.

I learned how to make the blocks work for me, he said, adding there are tricks to the trade.

As for retirement, Koles said he and his wife Norma have no big plans. But they do anticipate more relaxation, he will be doing more of the things he loves, including hunting, fishing, and spending time with their family and grandchildren.

While some retire from their lifetime jobs, and walk away without visible evidence of what they were part of, that isn’t the situation with Koles.

He can ride past the shopping centers on the north side of Antigo, the high school, a number of county structures including the Safety Building and so many more it is impossible to count. They all used Antigo Block Co. products.

He, and the Wick family, see that as a focus for their pride.
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From the left, Cal Wick, Jim Koles, Walter Wick and Shirley Tatro at a retirement gathering for Koles, who has been part of the family's Antigo Block firm for 48 years.
2018
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ANTIGO DAILY
JOURNAL
612 Superior Street
Antigo, WI 54409
Phone: 715-623-4191
Fax: 715-623-4193
Mail to: Fred Berner
MapOnUs Location: (local)

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JOURNAL
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612 Superior Street,
Antigo, WI 54409
Phone: 715-623-4191
Fax: 715-623-4193
Mail to: Fred Berner
MapOnUs Location: (local)

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