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Hobby Loses Joel Edler

Joel Edler at his desk at Krause Publications, where he worked for 22 years. (Photo courtesy George Cuhaj.

Joel Edler at his desk at Krause Publications, where he worked for 22 years. (Photo courtesy George Cuhaj.

Joel T. Edler, a 22-year member of the Krause Publications numismatic staff from 1984 to 2006, passed away peacefully on July 27, 2021.

Having experienced declining health in recent years, he and his wife, Judy, had moved into Living Oaks assisted living center in Iola, Wis., earlier this summer. Born in Freeport, Ill., on Aug. 19, 1941, Edler was a graduate of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. He is survived by his wife, nine children, 17 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Engaged in sales functions throughout his professional career, Edler enjoyed sales stints with the Motorola Corporation and the Fort Howard Paper Company in Green Bay, Wis., prior to becoming engaged with sales pursuits in the numismatic field. His involvement with numismatic sales was inaugurated in 1982 when he joined the Fox Valley Coin & Gun Exchange dealership in Kimberly, Wis.

Edler joined Krause Publications in 1984 as advertising manager of Post Card Collector. When that publication was sold a couple years later, he transferred to the Krause Publications numismatic publications staff, where he served as advertising manager of Numismatic News and other titles for many years. Upon retiring from Krause in 2006, he served as a consultant to Whitman Publishing for a couple years.

Subsequently, he also established Iola’s Country Store, featuring “Collectible Antiques, Books & Magazines,” operating out of a Main Street storefront in downtown Iola. In the early years, the shop offered a diverse and enticing assortment of vintage collectibles that attracted his interest. In later years, he famously proclaimed, “I’m open three or four days a year during the annual Iola Old Car Show.”

A lifelong collector with a focused interest in numismatics, pressed metal and cast iron toys, including toys that he had personally preserved from his childhood, and vintage real-photo postcards, Edler attended his first American Numismatic Association convention in Chicago in 1956 at the age of 15. From 2000 until his retirement, he served Krause as its U.S. coin and paper money pricing supervisor. During that time, he also served as co-author of the U.S. Coin Digest and the Standard Catalog of United States Paper Money.

Edler served as president of the Village of Iola from 2006 to 2021, having been appointed to the office in 2006, and thereafter elected to seven recurring terms, 2007-2012, stepping down from the office this past April. He had first been elected to the board in 1999.

At the time of his passing, Edler was actively serving as a governor of the Numismatists of Wisconsin (NOW), having served on the board continuously since first being elected in 2008. He served as co-host and bourse chairman of four NOW shows hosted in Iola, from the 45th anniversary event hosted in 2005 to the 55th in 2015, and was a longtime member of the Nicolet Coin Club in Green Bay.

An active member of the Iola Historical Society, Edler served as the originator and annual organizer of an antique Appraisal Fair event (2008-2019), conducted in conjunction with the organization’s annual Iola Strawberry Fest, which has been ongoing since 1985. A member of the Iola Lions Club, he was an Iola Old Car Show host committee volunteer.

An avid sports fan, in his earlier years Edler officiated basketball and football at the high school level, after having played center for the Northern Illinois’ Huskies in college. While his lifelong avid football allegiance was to the Chicago Bears, he was also a Green Bay Packers season ticket holder.

“I really enjoyed sharing 30 years of travels attending coin and token shows throughout the Midwest with Joel, a collector par excellence, professionally and in retirement,” Clifford Mishler observed in reflection. “We often paused along the way to take in an antique shop or mall seeking something irresistible. He was both a most pleasurable companion on these drives and a knowledgeable associate for assessing the merits of potential acquisitions.

“On those occasions when our drives carried us across the Mississippi River, going or coming,” Mishler continued, “he would without fail begin singing his impromptu strains of Hammerstein and Kern’s ‘Ol’ Man River.’”

An accomplished singer, he was called upon to provide the vocals for countless weddings, funerals and church Christmas programs for area venues.

A memorial service and Celebration of Life took place Aug. 8 at the Glacier Wood Golf Club banquet facility in Iola, with arrangements by the Voie Funeral Home and the Reverend Dale Wilson officiating.

To plant Memorial Trees in honor of Joel Edler, visit www.voiefuneralhome.com/obituary/joel-edler.