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The most significant winter storm of the season swirling outside and the guest of honor unable to attend didn't curtail the several members of Culver's Chamber of Commerce hunkered down in Cafe Max on Main Street to celebrate the contributions of just-retired Chamber secretary Bobetta "Bobbie" Ruhnow, and "talk shop" a bit in the process.
The Chamber meeting had originally been slated as a surprise toast to Ruhnow, who spent nearly 15 years as secretary and has just been replaced by Brandy Pohl in the position. On hand was a massive basket with gift cards and other items from local businesses, which will be given to Ruhnow.
Chamber president Tony Sellers discussed some of Culver-born and raised Ruhnow's contributions to the community overall, noting her grandfather Milton Ewald was one of the first presidents of the Culver Chamber, which launched in 1925.
Ruhnow has two children, four step-children, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren; she married Bud Ruhnow, who passed away last year, in 1994.
She has served on the Culver Plan Commission, Culver Board of Zoning Appeals, is a lifetime member of the Finney-Shilling VFW Auxiliary, spent 12 years as clerk treasurer of the Town of Culver, and has been a correspondent for the Culver Citizen and Plymouth Pilot newspapers.
Susie Mahler, owner of Cafe Max, read part of a statement from former
Chamber president John Thompson, who was unable to attend, noting "One of my best memories was of Bobbie...she had a strong work ethic, and encyclopedic memory, and a great sense of humor."
Chamber member Ralph Winters said Ruhnow is "one of the classiest people I know. We disagreed on things and it never hurt our friendship."
Noting Ruhnow is a "staunch Democrat," Winters said she "had compassion and a real grasp of what was happening, of what brought us to today."
Mahler echoed comments as to Ruhnow's sense of humor, adding, "you could disagree and walls didn't go up. And she has an incredible memory. She was awesome, and Brandy will do great too."
Sellers said Ruhnow is a "wealth of information."
Added Pohl, "When Bobbie trained me, I was surprised and impressed with how much she knows about technology. Her husband had worked with computers."
Also praised by attendees were Ruhnow's many newspaper articles over the years.
In other discussion, it was noted a community-wide calendar has been set up via the Culver Citizen, and will be shared with Chamber members in hopes of finalizing its structure and methodology.
Carol Saft of the Culver museum committee followed up on a discussion from the last Chamber meeting of the possibility of a museum and visitor's center combination. She noted a luncheon has been scheduled for March 12, to which members of the Chamber, town council, and various others involved in business and municipal activities have been invited to sit at the table to discuss hopes, possibilities, and the like.
"I hope our town would see the benefit of a visitor's center and not just expect grants to take care of it," said Mahler. "We're fortunate to have the Academy and lake residents contributing, but I hope the town would step up to the plate."View more articles in: