Jerry Thiel of Chilton was inducted into the Wisconsin Auctioneer Hall of Fame at the annual conference and show of the Wisconsin Auctioneers Association (WAA) Jan. 23 at the Wintergreen Resort in Wisconsin Dells.
He has been an auctioneer since Oct. 1, 1973, at which time he became a member of the Wisconsin and National Auctioneers associations. He served six years on the WAA Board of Directors and was appointed by Governor Scott Walker to the Wisconsin Department of Safety & Professional Regulation State Auction Advisory Board in 2011.
Thiel’s work exhibits the core beliefs in the mission of the WAA. He strives to educate, promote and protect the auction industry as well as encouraging others to enhance their skills and professionalism and to promote their concept of marketing. This is done by working with less-experienced auctioneers, when asked for help, in partnerships and joint ventures and sharing his years of knowledge in the auction and real estate professions. Thiel also takes part in maintaining a watch over governmental activities, rules and statues which affect the auction profession.
The start of Thiel’s legacy in the auction and real estate business in northeastern Wisconsin began well before he was born. His grandfather Andy started the business in 1919, working out of the home which Jerry lives in today. Andy sold everything from pies to farms and conducted auctions in almost every county in northeastern Wisconsin. Jerry’s father Randy joined his father in 1946 and worked until 2004, when at the age of 81, he retired. The Thiel Auctioneers of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s conducted auctions on personal property and real estate, sometimes 20 days a month. Jerry, at that time, was going to school and working the auctions with his father and grandfather in set up and as a ringman. After graduating high school in 1964, Jerry attended St. Norbert College and Manitowoc Technical Institute.
In 1973, when Andy became ill, Jerry completed his auctioneer schooling at Mason City, Iowa and moved from the La Crosse area to Chilton to become the third generation of the family business. Jerry was inspirational in promoting and growing the auction, real estate and appraisal business and soon joined the Wisconsin Realtors Association and Calumet County Board of Realtors, where he served as president and as a board member for many years. In 1988 he was named Calumet County Realtor of the Year and is a member of the Wisconsin Realtor Honor Society.
Since the mid 1970s, Jerry has incorporated his four children into the family business, along with many of his grandchildren. Jerry’s oldest daughter Dori has worked as a cashier since graduating college 20 years ago. Brad, Jerry’s oldest son, sets up, rings and oversees a major part of the online auction site developed in 2011. Jerry’s youngest son, Kendall, joined the firm in 1992 as an auctioneer, appraiser and real estate agent. Tamara, Jerry’s youngest daughter, currently cashiers for auctions and is the office manager for Thiel Real Estate. His grandchildren help out all season long.
For over 30 years, Jerry has worked to create a fourth and hopefully fifth generation family-centered auction business which now includes online auctions, the largest appraisal business in Calumet County and a leading real estate firm servicing four counties. In its entirety, the business is the oldest family-owned business in Calumet County-93 years and counting.
Jerry is very active in the community and does numerous charitable auctions each year for local church and school groups and non-profit organizations. He works closely with the Whitetails Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants for Tomorrow, Walleyes for Tomorrow and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation each year donating many hours and prizes to each organization.
Other community involvement includes being a past director of the Calumet Medical Center, past director of the Chilton Chamber of Commerce, past chairman for Cerebral Palsy of Manitowoc County and past director of the Red Cross for Calumet & Manitowoc counties. Thiel is also active in the Calumet/Manitowoc Chapter of American Red Cross, Hilbert Lions, Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus, Wisconsin Realtors Association of Northeast Wisconsin, and the National Realtors Association.