Sunday, April 22, 2012
3 Milwaukee County sheriff's deputies killed in the line of duty nearly a century ago has finally been carved into the department's stone memorial
Photo: Mike Schroedl of Wenta Monument Co. etches the names of three Milwaukee County sheriff's deputies added to a memorial for fallen deputies.
MILWAUKEE, WI - The sacrifice of three Milwaukee County sheriff's deputies killed in the line of duty nearly a century ago has finally been carved into the department's stone memorial.
Somehow these men were missed when the monument was erected in 2002 outside the training academy in Franklin at 9225 S. 68th St.
"It is truly an honor to be able to correct the regrettable error that allowed these deputies' names to be forgotten," said Mark Stieber, president of the sheriff's memorial historical committee. He retired as a captain after 31 years with the county.
The three deputies - Frank X. Heup, George Pazik and William Wank - died in a relatively short time span between 1915 and 1917.
That seems like a long time ago until you consider that the department traces its history all the way back to 1835.
"I have to wonder if there are any more out there. We will have to do a lot of research to make sure we haven't missed any," Stieber said.
Before these three deputies were added this month, the memorial listed eight names and the years they died: Howard Grundman, 1934; Alvin Beckemeier, 1947; Lloyd Rhodes, 1951; Wallace Schilling, 1975; John Trandel, 1981; David Demos, 1997; Sung Hui Bang and Ralph Zylka, 2000.
The Milwaukee Police Department has its own memorial in MacArthur Square behind its headquarters building. There are 60 names listed there, from Frank Pisczeck in 1884 to Wendolyn Tanner in 1996.
Newspaper archives, County Board proceedings and other sources have yielded some details of the deputies' lives and deaths.
Wank was the first of the three to die. On Aug. 17, 1915, he and another deputy were assisting Waukesha County in a search for two suspects in what is now Butler. A railroad switchman, thinking the deputies were the suspects, shot at them, killing Wank and injuring his partner. Wank was survived by a wife, Alma, and five children ranging in age from 8 to 18.
Heup was 39 when he was killed Nov. 1, 1915. He was trying to stop a speeding motorist on Fond du Lac Road north of the city limits when he ran his motorcycle into the back of a horse-drawn buggy. He had been on the force less than a year after serving four years as a firefighter in Milwaukee. His wife, Johanna, was left to raise seven children ranging in age from 2 to 18. Many in the community donated money to allow them to remain in their home.
Pazik also was trying to stop a speeder near 3rd and Locust on May 30, 1917. Another car veered into his path, causing his vehicle to strike a streetcar. Pazik, 34, was engaged to be married at the time.
Stieber was unable to find any relatives of Pazik and Wank, but it was Heup's grandson, Harvey, who discovered his grandfather's absence from the memorial.
Harvey Heup wasn't born until 1933, 16 years after his grandfather's death. Frank Heup's son, Harold, was Harvey's father. Harold and all of his siblings have died, though a daughter-in-law of the deputy, Alva Heup, lives in Milwaukee and is going strong at 97. She drove until she was 96, and even then gave it up only because she didn't want to invest in new brakes for the old car.
Alva and Harvey have heard stories about Frank, but Harvey decided late last year he would do a little research into the type of motorcycle Frank was riding when he died. So the Grafton man went to the Harley-Davidson Museum where he happened to meet a retired law enforcement officer who told him how to find the sheriff's office memorial in Franklin.
Harvey was disappointed when he got there. "There was nothing at all recorded," he said. "So then I started asking questions."
He was put in touch with Stieber, who decided Heup's name also should be added to law enforcement memorials in Madison and Washington, D.C. When Stieber contacted the national memorial in Washington, a researcher there did some digging and learned of Wank and Pazik from old County Board records. All three names will be added to memorials in Madison and Washington, too, Stieber said.
Harvey Heup is delighted. "It means that history is more complete, for the family and also for people in general. To me, it's very important that history be maintained, or else we lose it," he said.
Lost for so many years, these three deputies now are found.