I am pleased to present my interview with Richard “Red” Moeller, a continuing contributor to the Alumni Association website and recolonizing efforts at Whitewater. I would personally like to thank him for all of the stories and information he has shared…and for this interview.
Red, you are the first Chi Delta Rho / Delta Kappa Brother I have interviewed for the website. Tell us, when were you an Undergrad at Whitewater and what did you major in?
From 1960 to 1964 and I studied Business Education.
What are you doing now, professionally?
I retired in 2004. I taught business subjects from 1964-1970, then headed a program for At-Risk Students at Franklin High School until 1973. In 1974, I purchased Remy Battery until 2004 when I sold the company to two of my sons in 2004.
What are you doing now, for fun?
My family has a home in northern Wisconsin that we use year around. I downhill ski in the winter, fish, bike and trail ride with an ATV in the summer. (*NOTE: the image to the left is Red at his family’s annual mud wrestling championship).
Do you have any accomplishments you would like to share?
In 1975, I was fortunate enough to be honored by Whitewater as a Outstanding Young Graduate. In 1984, my company Remy Battery was named the best place in Milwaukee to buy a battery by Milwaukee Magazine, and in 1998 we were named National Battery Specialist of the Year by Battery Associates (a national battery group.)
You had mentioned you were a teacher…do you have any successes in regards to teaching you would like to share?
While still teaching accounting and typing in the late 60’s and early 70’s, I authored three articles in the Wisconsin Business Education News and Views.
I am very proud of the success of the program for at risk kids I headed just before I left teaching. Many success stories from those kids, including a retired pilot for Northwest Airlines, a retired captain from the Waukesha County Sheriffs Department and several small businessmen.
Where did you go to high school, when did you graduate?
Milwaukee Lutheran High School, 1958
Where are you living now?
Are you married? Do you have kids? Any grandkids?
I am married to Nada Zurich (Whitewater Class of 1965.) Five (or seven) children, two biological sons, one daughter who came to us from Korea at age 16 months, and two sons (brothers) who also came to us from Korea when they were 8 and 6 years old. Also a “daughter” from Moldova (eastern Europe) who came to us at age 18 and who we arranged to go to Whitewater. She is now 31, and American citizen, married and just blessed us with our 9th grandchild. Not done yet–a “son” who also came to us from Moldova after Julie graduated. We sent Anatoli to Whitewater, he is now living in Chicago and is an auditor for Ernest and Young.
Five of our children graduated from Whitewater and one (our daughter, Sarah) graduated from UW-Madison. Tragically in 1987 our oldest Korean son, John, was hit by an automobile while jogging and died. He is still with us in our hearts.
We have 9 grandchildren. The oldest is 10 and 4 of them downhill ski with me. The others are still too young.
How did you get involved with the the Fraternity (Chi Delta Rho/Delta Kappa/Lambda Chi Alpha)? (who introduced you to the Fraternity) ?
My roommate knew someone who was a Delta Kappa and planned to pledge them and convinced me to pledge. In the Spring of 1962 we decided to disassociate from Delta Kappa and return to being a local–Chi Delta Rho. This was an easy decision for the membership to make, Delta Kappa had “lost it’s way” and had some very poor national leaders. So, I graduated in June, 1964 as a Chi Delta Rho. In the Fall of 1965 the fraternity joined Lambda Chi Alpha and we were invited to join for $25.00. I got married that summer and was teaching school making $5000.00 a year ($330.00 a month), my wife was a senior and our rent was $100.00 a month–so $25.00 was just too much to spend. I still regret not joining.
When did you join?
I pledged in the Fall of 1960. There were 6 guys in my pledge class, I am still in contact with five of them.
Did you live in the House, if so, what address was the House at that time?
I lived in the house from the Fall of 1961 until the Spring of 1963. That house was in the brand new development called Fraternity Lane. The developers of that area convinced the DKs, Phi Sigs, and the Tekes (who at that time were a colony–not an official fraternity) as well as, the Delta Zeta, Tri Sigs and Alpha Gama Delta sororitys to move into the Fraternity Lane Development.
What was it like living in the House?
The University (College at that time) required us to have a housemother who lived in an apartment that was part of the house. She would lay out lunch five days a week and prepare a full supper for us four days a week. We would eat together in a “U” shaped setting with the Fraternity Officers and housemother sitting at the head table. The chaplain would lead us in a prayer before meals, and we took turns cleaning up after dinner and helping “Ma” prepare the meal. College rules forbade co-eds from being in our rooms and also forbade alcohol in the house, so we seldom had parties in the house–rather we would rent a banquet room at some bar or supper club–usually in Fort Atkinson. The house was a pretty good place to study–but could get a little loud around 12:30 PM on Friday and Saturday nights. All female students had to be back in their dorms, sorority houses or rooms by 12:30 on Friday and Saturday nights, so it could get a little rowdy when the guys started coming back in groups after they dropped of their dates or just left the bars–why so early–because all the girls had to leave. College regulations required every student, no matter how old, to live in approved supervised (needed a house mother) housing unless they were married or commuting.
Did you hold any offices?
I was Social Chairman during the 1962-63 school year.
Is there anyone you have lost touch with over the years that you would like to catch up with?
Yes –Jim Greenlee who was the sixth guy in our pledge class–our last contact had him living in Wausau, Wisconsin.
Are there any guys you keep in touch with still? How do you maintain contact, phone, email?
We have about a list of 90 Brothers from around 1958-1965 on an e-mail Distribution List that we share fraternity and University news. Many of us get together each summer for a lunch meeting in Wisconsin Dells.
What are your best memories of your Fraternity experience?
I have very many, but an event called a “Beer Supper” is one of my favorite memories. Beer Suppers were spagehtti and beer suppers held on a weeknight with a sorority at some bar. Great times.
Do you have any bad memories?
A lot of Monday mornings the kitchen was a mess–our house mother did not have to cook for us on weekends, so man times some of the guys did not clean up. Also, as Social Chairman, I had to have several meeting with Dr. Droullard (the Dean of Men) relative to some incidents that would happen at a party. All social events (formals, banquets, dances, parties, beer suppers) had to have the prior approval of the Dean of Man and required a faculty member chaperone at the event. There was always a group of young instructors who liked to party and most of the time it was fairly easy to get a chaperone, but once and awhile we had a party without the approval–then it was threats of social probation.
What is the one Fraternity related event that made you say “Wow, I never thought I would be doing this when I joined a fraternity”?
Can you recite the Greek Alphabet?
I sure can–while holding a lit match without it burining my fingers.
Who, would you say, had the biggest impact on your fraternal experience? Why?
Dave Engen, our pledgemaster–a good man–owns about 15 Taco Bells in Los Angeles.
Did you have any nicknames in college? Would you care to share them?
Because of my hair “Red” By the way, it is still red, but somewhat faded.
Any advice you want to share with future Brothers?
I found that the fraternity was a wonderful experience and an opportunity to make life-long friendships. We had our first big reunion back around 1983, about 20 years (give or take) after we had graduated and many of the wives commented on how close our friendships had remainded even though we hadn’t seen each other for that long a time.