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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

LOETSCHER, John Andrew

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LOETSCHER, John Andrew. (Dubuque, IA, Nov. 25, 1873--Nov. 26, 1962). Hired between 1892 and 1909 to work in the office of his father, Christian LOETSCHER, at FARLEY AND LOETSCHER MANUFACTURING COMPANY, Loetscher remained active in the company for more than sixty-five years. He served as secretary, vice-president, president, and chairman of the board retiring in 1957. He was general manager of the company for nearly fifty years and served as president of its subsidiaries---Midwest Lumber Company (Dubuque), Roberts Sash & Door Company (Chicago), and Farley & Loetscher Company (Sioux Falls). (1)

Loetscher led the company to its national prominence. Manufacturing space expanded until it covered twenty-three acres. In the early 1930s, a plastics division was added to the other company lines. Products of the new division included Farlite laminated plastics, Farlite Farlwood, and Farlite Compreg. These were used in a wide range of products including tabletops, luggage lining, and instrument panels. Employment peaked at 1,250.

In 1928 Loetscher was one of the incorporators and first president of the Dubuque Community Chest–-a special committee of the Chamber of Commerce and predecessor of the United Fund and United Way--which successfully combined the fund drives for the DUBUQUE BOYS' CLUB, YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION (Y.M.C.A.), YOUNG WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION (Y.W.C.A.), Sunshine Circle, MOUNT PLEASANT HOME, HILLCREST BABY FOLD Salvation Army and DUBUQUE VISITING NURSE ASSOCIATION. Loetscher served two terms as president and member of the Board of Directors of the National Woodwork Manufacturers Association, trustee of the LINWOOD CEMETERY Association, president and member of the board of the FINLEY HOSPITAL (THE), and a director and trustee of the UNIVERSITY OF DUBUQUE. He was one of the seven founders of the Millwork Cost Bureau and served twenty years as its treasurer. For more than twenty-five years, he served as secretary of the board of trustees of BETHANY HOME FOR THE AGED. (2)

Loetscher was one of Dubuque's first airplane enthusiasts. Associated with the Dubuque Aircraft Company, he built three airplanes between 1914 and 1916. His first craft was a monoplane. In 1916 he built a flying boat for use in the DUBUQUE AVIATION SCHOOL. Loetscher's flying days came to an end in 1917 when he was injured flying one of his planes. (3)



1. "Dubuque Industrialist John Loetscher Dies," Telegraph Herald, November 26, 1962, p. 1

2. Ibid.

3. Simplot, John. "Dubuque 'Up in Air' Long Time," The Telegraph-Herald, December 6, 1953, p. 7

Linwood Legacies. "The Loetscher Family." Online: http://www.linwoodlegacies.org/the-loetscher-family.html