The late Carl Wishek Sr. could size up a person. The former bank cashier for Farmers and Merchants Bank knew by a person's attitude and work ethic whether that person would be suited to owning a business. The deal was usually made with a handshake in the early days of the bank in the 1920s and '30s.
For his contributions to the community, Wishek was nominated posthumously to the Lodi Community Hall of Fame.
Other inductees this year include Gersh Rosen, volunteer at the county historical museum, for education; Dr. Norman King, Lodi's first board certified anesthesiologist, for health; Jack Carter, long-time owner of Burton's shoes, for business; and John and Gail Kautz, farmers active on many agricultural boards, for agriculture.
Wishek was born Oct. 14, 1898. He was raised in Ashley, N.D., and his parents were quite involved in the community. His father was a banker and helped make the boundaries of the state of North Dakota; the town of Wishek, N.D., was named for him.
Wishek graduated from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania in 1920. He helped with the European relief effort following World War I, delivering supplies to Poland and Russia. He was married from 1935 to 1944 and had two children, Sheila Wishek and Carl Wishek Jr.
He started working for Farmers and Merchants Bank in 1924. He was appointed cashier in 1932 and director of the board soon after. He was cashier for 47 years. He retired in 1979 but continued as a member of the board of directors until his death in October 1988.
"He was an exceptional banker," said Ole Mettler, who started working with Wishek in 1960. "He had an uncanny ability to size up a person. He was successful."
Mettler added that early on, a deal was a handshake, and there wasn't much paperwork.
"He was an intelligent person, very decisive," said Harry Schumacher, who joined the bank in 1946. "He could analyze issues and transations and make up his mind in a few minutes."
In Wishek's obituary published in the News-Sentinel, business owners remembered Wishek for helping them start their businesses. He had given loans with no questions asked, which helped people start businesses such as the Richmaid Ice Cream Co. With his financial help, many Lodi churches and club houses were constructed.
If Wishek had confidence in someone, he would start the person off in a business, and most businesses became successful, Shumacher said.
Wishek was a member of the Lodi Chamber of Commerce, the Lodi Rotary Club, the Eagles, the Elks, the Moose Lodge, the Dakota Club, the Lodi Memorial Hospital Association and the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia. He helped start the Lodi Grape Festival, the American Legion and the Woodbridge Golf and Country Club. He enjoyed playing golf.
Schumacher said one of the things Wishek liked about Lodi was the soil and climate, which he said would produce some of the finest agricultural products anywhere.
"He was a unique individual and strong-willed," Schumacher said. "When he set his sights on a goal, you could be 100 percent sure he would meet it."
Contact reporter Jennifer Snyder at firstname.lastname@example.org.