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Farm couple honored by grandchildren

For the Wittmann clan, a dairy farm near Brillion was the place childhood memories took shape.

That also was where grandma and grandpa – Alfred and Anna Wittmann – lived and taught subtle life lessons. One of the important ones concerned giving back.

To honor those lessons, the couple’s 16 grandchildren established the Alfred and Anna Wittmann Memorial Scholarship Fund within the Community Foundation’s Brillion Area Family of Funds.

“We have a close family,” said Kriss Wittmann, who lives in the Denver area.

The grandchildren still get together at the farm where they used to milk cows, bale hay and pick rocks from the fields. A cousin owns it. There are no longer any dairy cows there and some of the fields are leased to other farmers, but the farm remains the family’s center.

Kriss said her grandparents were always willing to help those in need. Alfred was 76 when he died in 1981. Anna Wittmann died in 1997 at age 86.

“It just matters that we continue to pay it forward for people,” Kriss said.

Their fund is a future fund now, set up to give scholarships to graduates of Brillion High School when it grows large enough. Future funds can be started at the Community Foundation with a gift of $1,000 or more. Scholarship funds must have assets of at least $15,000 before they can award scholarships, while other endowments must reach at least $10,000 to distribute grants.

Jeff Wittmann, brother of Kriss, suggested the scholarship fund late in 2015. He said after three years, they’re about a third of the way to the $15,000. They have family reunions every other year and talk about the fund, encouraging the grandchildren to give.

Jeff works as an account representative at Endries International and said he had a good mentor for giving to the community in the company’s former owner, Bob Endries, who was key to setting up the Brillion Area Family of Funds. “I learned a lot from Bob,” Jeff said.

He described his grandparents as hard-working people worthy of the honor.

“They had hard times and they are our roots,” he said.

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