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Pause to remember Chet Krause

 Chester L. Krause

Chester L. Krause

Numismatic News founder Chester L. Krause was remembered at a short ceremony July 6 at the Iola, Wis., Car Show.

Achievements of his long life, which ended at the age of 92, June 25, 2016, were cited by Clifford Mishler, his successor in running the company as well as a current columnist for this paper.

It is difficult to compress nine decades of accomplishments into 10 minutes, but Mishler did his best.

I was delighted to listen to Krause’s story – farm boy to carpenter to publisher. It is an American story. It is our story too as coin collectors. Without Chet’s efforts to bring us together, who knows what might have happened over the past 65 years since the first Numismatic News came off the press dated Oct. 13, 1952.

He changed my life. I’ll bet he changed yours.

But coins were only part of Chet’s story. He had many interests. He used them as maps to where he wanted to go in the publishing field.

The July 6 ceremony was held at the annual car show, which Chet founded in 1972. The first one was a six-car event at the annual Iola Lions Club chicken fry. This year’s event is expected to attract over 100,000 people during the course of three days. That’s a very large number for a town that has a population of 1,301, according to the sign posted at the edge of town.

Chet always remembered his small-town roots. He spent his life here in Iola. He always was a community booster. He shared his success.

The idea for the car show occurred the year after Old Cars newspaper was founded by Chet. It became so large and so successful that it was given to the community in the form of a non-profit corporation. The many volunteers who work to make it happen are rewarded. Charitable groups to which they belong share in the proceeds year in and year out.

This was just one form of Chet’s generosity. He also gave money to many worthy causes.

That part of his life will be recalled on the car show grounds with a carving on a granite bench. It will say:

“He was a believer that one should give until it feels good.” That was his motto. He said it often. He lived it.

His image will also appear on the bench along with his name.

At the ceremony, unfortunately, the bench was not present. It was not ready. Mishler promised it would be in place here in Iola on the car show grounds by next year’s show.

That will give all of us another opportunity to remember an extraordinary man who exercised such large influence from such a little place. But it is a little place that all collectors can call home.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today

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