Past Presidents

The Founder

GRUETZENBACH-WILLY._smallWilly was born in the city of Wuppertal, Germany in 1916. He worked in his father’s business, served in the German Army, married in 1941 and returned home safely in 1945. He says, “I was lucky, I ‘ve been lucky all of my life”.
ln 1951, he moved to the United States to Hackensack, New Jersey. One year later he moved to Plainfield, New Jersey and his wife joined him there where they opened a series of 6 “sweet shops”. Willy became acquainted with German American Clubs that were situated nearby. This experi­ ence planted the seed in his mind that didn’t ferminate until Willy and his wife moved south seeking the warmer climate of Florida, settling in Cape Coral in 1962.
During the year of 1963, Willy’s idea came to fruition when he described his ambition to start a local German American Club to 12 of his German American friends. With the kind of spirit that Willy still displays today, the 13 men held their first official meeting at the
Cape Coral Yacht Club with Willy becoming the club’s first president, ulti mately serving a total of 15 years in that position. Willy and four of the other members drafcd the club’s first set of by-laws. This new club was chartered i n 1964 and a short time later, the members pur­ chased 25 acres of land for the amount of $23,000, financed by the members with five-year notes that were repaid on schedule.
Sadly, our Willy passed away on November 19, 2013. He was 97 years old.
Willy’s four children, two daughters and two sons, who are rightfully proud of his overall accomplishments during his lifetime. His pride was subtle, never approaching a braggadocio level. Until his last days, Willy could still be seen at the club, with his bright smile and sparkle in his eye. If you asked him what he believed was the key to his many successes and his answer typically was – “I’m a lucky guy, I’ve been lucky all of my life”.

Karl Uhde
1968

Rudy Epperlein
1978 – 1979

Paul Szego
1982 – 1983

Bill Sickles
1984 – 1985

William Tamedl
1986 – 1988, 1996 – 1997

Klaus Kohl
1989 – 1991, 2000-2003

Uwe Kellner
1992 – 1993

Harold F. Bajusz
1994 – 1995, 2004-2007

Hermann A. Voss
1998 – 1999

Gerhard Veith
2008-2011

Hubert Prem
2012-2015