Today is the birthday of Henry Uihlein II (February 3, 1896-June 8, 1997). He was the grandson of Henry Uihlein, who for many years was the president of the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company early in the 20th century. Henry II was also a director of the family business for several decades until its sale in 1982.
This paid death notice was printed in the New York Times in 1997:
UIHLEIN-Henry II. Of Lake Placid, NY. Died June 8, 1997, at his winter home in Indian Wells, CA, at the age of 101. He is survived by his wife, Suzanne M. Uihlein, and by his nephews, Robert and August Rohe. Mr. Uihlein was preceded in death by his first wife, Mildred Anthony Uihlein, who died on July 9, 1990. He was a grandson of Henry Uihlein who was a longtime president of the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company early in this century, and was himself a director of the company for several decades until its sale in 1982 to the Stroh Brewing Company. Mr. Uihlein was born in New York City on February 3, 1896, and attended public and private schools there. A promising collegiate career was cut short by tuberculosis and resulted in his spending several years in Lake Placid, NY, where he was restored to health by the altitude and climate. He married Mildred Anthony of South Orange, NJ, on June 10, 1927, and after an extended European honeymoon, they settled in Montclair, NJ, where he founded a real estate corporation. Summers were spent in Lake Placid. In 1933, the Uihleins moved to New York City where Mr. Uihlein attended to his father’s affairs until he died in 1939. In 1941, the Uihleins made Lake Placid their permanent residence, purchasing farm land from the Lake Placid Club which became known as Heaven Hill Farm. Over the succeeding decades, Mr. Uihlein developed a blue ribbon pure-breed Jersey cattle herd, a prize maple syrup operation, and a first class seed potato farm. Stock from his Jersey herd consistently took top prizes at American Jersey Club Shows. Several years ago, the Jersey herd was donated to the Miner Institute of Chazy, NY, where they continue breeding under the Heaven Hill name. Also several years ago, the maple syrup and potato operations were donated to the College of Agriculture of Cornell University under which auspices they continue to be operated as demonstration and research facilities (and in the case of the potato operation, as a disease-free source of seed potatos.) In addition to his interests in fishing, hunting, stamp collecting, and skeet shooting, Mr. Uihlein supported the sport of speed skating in Lake Placid by sponsoring a number of contestants and events, thus contributing to to Lake Placid’s reputation as a winter sports resort. He was an official timer at the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid and an active supporter of the 1980 Winter Olympics for which he was made an honorary member. In 1983, he was named to the Lake Placid Hall of Fame. Henry Uihlein also liked classic automobiles and undertook the restoration of 2 1939 DeLage automobiles. These automobiles, one a coupe and the other a convertible, are one of a kind and were the stars of the French Pavillion at the 1939 World’s Fair. More recently, they have taken top honors at the Concourse D’Legance at Pebble Beach, CA, and other national competitions. Mr. Uihlein has also been actively involved in philanthropy. In addition to funding the Cornell College of Agriculture gifts noted above, he played a major role in the creation of the Uihlein Mercy Center, a geriatric hospital and home located not far from Heaven Hill Farm in Lake Placid. He also has an administration building named after him at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Palm Desert and has served as an honorary Trustee of the Center. He has also actively supported the work of the Mayo Clinic. He will be missed by his many relatives, friends and all those whose lives he touched during his many years. Services will be held on Saturday, June 14th at 11:00 a.m. at the Uihlein Mercy Center Chapel in Lake Placid, interment to follow at North Elba Cemetery, Lake Placid, NY. Memorials may be made to Cornell University College of Agriculture, Uihlein Mercy Center, Lake Placid, NY, Eisenhower Medical Center, Palm Desert, CA, and the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. For information, call the Clark Funeral Home in Lake Placid, NY.
This biography was written in 1982, when Uihlein was inducted into The Potato Association of America:
Henry Uihlein II, born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 3, 1896, is a member of the family that owned and operated the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Company for over 100 years.
Soon after Henry was born, his family moved to New York City, where his father continued the family tradition of engaging in the brewery business. He attended public schools and then the Horace Mann Preparatory School in New York City, a part of Teachers College, which was affiliated with Columbia University. As a youth he was active in athletics, participating in baseball, ice hockey and track.
Henry aspired to a career in medicine and with that in mind enrolled at Cornell University. However, misfortune struck. He became seriously ill with tuberculosis and his father was advised that it was unlikely that Henry would live more than six months. So in 1916, in an effort to regain his health, Henry went to Lake Placid, New York, which was famous for its health sanatoria. There he gradually regained his health and as soon as he was able, resumed his interest in amateur athletics. He focused his energies and support behind speed skating, bringing national and international meets to the tiny Adirondack village. His efforts to promote winter sports in Lake Placid continued through the ’20′s, in spite of being involved in a very serious auto accident. Mr. Uihlein played a significant role in bringing the winter Olympics to Lake Placid in 1932.
In 1927, Mr. Uihlein married Mildred Anthony, whom he had met two years earlier at the Lake Placid Club. They recently celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary. After a number of years actively engaged in business in New York City, the Uihleins returned to Lake Placid in 1940, bought Heaven Hill Farm and directed their energies toward farming. Their first Jersey cattle were acquired in 1942, the beginning of a champion show herd which eventually numbered 250 head. Their sire, Brownys Masterman Jester, bred at Heaven Hill Farm, set an unprecedented record by winning five Grand Championships at the National Jersey Show. Seven head of their cattle achieved “Hall of Fame” records. Their love of Jersey cattle continues today and Heaven Hill enjoys an international reputation for their premier breeding stock.
Concurrently with the development of their Jersey herd, the Uihtein’s entered the seed potato business in order to help the war effort. Their annual production eventually reached 30,000 bushels of top quality certified seed. In 1961 Cornell University approached the Uihleins seeking to lease or purchase their Tableland Farm to establish an official seed potato farm for New York State. The Uihleins countered with an extraordinary offer–they had decided to give Cornell approximately 300 acres of prime potato land. This, along with subsequent gifts of land, became known as the Uihlein Farm of Cornell University.
In 1975 Cornell again approached Mr. Uihlein seeking his support for building a laboratory and greenhouse on the Cornell-Uihlein Farm for the specific purpose of producing pathogen-free potato seed stocks by meristem and shoot tip culture. Having always maintained a keen interest in all aspects of the research program and the production of disease-free seed stocks, Mr. Uihlein very generously agreed to fund this facility. Ground was broken in 1977; the Henry Uihlein II Laboratory was dedicated in June of 1979. Maple syrup production on Heaven Hill was an annual affair since the 1940′s, Heaven Hill having many thousands of mature sugar maples. In 1964 Henry Uihlein conceived the idea of starting a demonstration and research project under the direction of Cornell’s Department of Natural Resources for the production of maple syrup. In addition to funding the construction of the sugar house, equipment and deeding 165 acres of maple forest to Cornell, he has continued to subsidize this project.
The Uihlein’s, in a further demonstration of community spirit, donated 35 acres of land and partial funding for a $4,500,000 nursing home for the aged and chronically ill. This facility, known as the Uihlein Mercy Center, is widely known for its beauty and excellent care. Among his many other activities and interests, Mr. Uihlein served as a Director of the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co. for 32 years, then as Director Emeritus and Lifetime Honorary Director. He has also served as Director of the Jos. Schlitz Foundation and as a trustee and president of the Lake Placid Educational Foundation. Mr. Uihlein was honored by the American Jersey Cattle Club in 1968 and was designated “Master Breeder of the Year.” He was on the Lake Placid Olympic Organizing Committee for the 1980 Winter Olympics and has been active in numerous other organizations.
Very few individuals outside the research community have contributed so much to support the development of a basic aspect of the potato industry. Mr. Uihlein’s contributions of land and buildings have made possible a foundation seed farm of unique quality. For over twenty years, scientists, farmers, and consumers in New York State and beyond have benefitted from his personal interest in and active support for research to produce disease-free potatoes.
For his vision and enthusiasm, his high level of interest and unstinting generosity to seed potato research, it is most appropriate that we honor Mr. Henry Uihlein II with an Honorary Life Membership in The Potato Association of America.
And thanks to his contribution of bringing the Olympics to Lake Placid, he was inducted into the Lack Placid Hall of Fame.