One becomes two
The 50-year history of V&H: Part III
By Kris Leonhardt
After returning from Texas with his wife and a very young son, Jeff Hamus resumed work at the dealership, becoming the general manager in car sales.
Floyd Hamus’ other children also remained active in the business, with daughter Lisa working as office manager, daughter Shirley working in various jobs in the dealership, son-in-law John operating as heavy duty used truck manager, and son-in-law Monte working as manager of the concrete pumping sales division. The dealership operated as a family-run business.
Meanwhile, Terry Frankland worked his way up in the company from parts manager to general manager in heavy truck sales.
“When dad retired in December 2000, that’s also when myself and Terry Frankland bought the heavy truck and auto business,” explained Floyd’s son Jeff. “At the same time, my wife, Michelle, and I and my sister and her husband, John and Lisa Thornton, and my sister Shirley and her husband, Monte Lamer, purchased all of the properties,” which they continue to own today.
“In 2001 we bought the acreage on the north side,” added Jeff. “That’s when we built the car store.”
The car business now resides on the north end as the heavy truck business remains on the south side of the city.
“In 2004 I sold my portion of the heavy truck business to Terry,” said Jeff, and the business became two separate entities.
“We wanted to give back to the community,” said Floyd. “We wanted to be more involved in the community because this is where we made our living and raised our family.”
Giving back first came in the form of donating a substantial amount for a 60-foot by 156-foot barn at the Central Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, which was affectionately named after Floyd’s wife, Pat Hamus. It is known as “Pat’s Barn.”
Floyd was then asked to sit in on a committee that was looking to remodel the Wildwood Pavilion, formerly known as the White City Pavilion.
“I said that it had to be a brand-new building, otherwise I wouldn’t touch it,” explained Floyd.
“We had Dan Helwig draw up the building,” Floyd said. “Once Dan had the design on how it should look and how many people it could hold, myself and Terry said that we would be the leaders on trying to get the money for it.
“We invited a group of 12 businessmen for breakfast and asked them to join the committee,” said Floyd. “When breakfast was over, I said, ‘This is a free breakfast, but it is not a free lunch for all of you today.’ Then Dan Helwig set up the plans.
“Ted Trierweiler said, ‘We figured there was something up your sleeve.’”
Within 30 days, Floyd, Frankland, Bill Heiting, and their team had all of the money pledged to build Wildwood Station.
Floyd and Pat continued additional work in Wildwood Park, adding the main bathroom near the pavilion as well as other park fixtures, before focusing on the north side of Marshfield to work on a much larger project.
Hamus Nature Preserve and Recreation Area
“We owned the property. When we were building the new car dealership, we bought close to 80 acres,” said Floyd. “We had 30-plus acres left that was swamp, woods, and wetlands. There are trees in there that are 150 years and older.”
The Hamuses worked with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and the Wisconsin DNR and turned the over 30 acres into the Hamus Nature Preserve and Recreation Area. The property on which the park lays was later purchased by Marshfield Utilities and became part of the city park system.
While the city handles the major maintenance of the park, Floyd and Pat remain involved in sustaining the beauty and appeal of the recreation area.
Bring on the bears
With the Hamus Nature Preserve and Recreation Area now established, Floyd and Pat then turned their attention back toward the Wildwood Zoo.
“When their last bear died of old age, money had been set aside to purchase another bear,” said Floyd.
Plans had been drawn to triple the size of the existing bear exhibit in anticipation of two new bears.
“At that time we were trying to get two grizzly bears there,” explained Floyd. “We got a call back that they couldn’t find any.”
When notified that three Kodiak bear cubs might be available, plans for the exhibit were too far advanced to accommodate three cubs, and the zoo was only able to commit to two.
Again, Floyd instituted his “free breakfast” fundraising plan and helped provide the funding for the construction of the new habitat.
Though retired, Floyd and Pat Hamus remain committed to approximately 20 charitable organizations.