The Puelicher Legacy
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For three generations the Puelicher name has been synonymous with banking excellence.
John H. Puelicher was born in Milwaukee in 1848, the son of a tanner who immigrated to America from Germany in 1848. John Puelicher left school at the age of 13 to work in a variety of Milwaukee stores before joining Marshall & Ilsley Bank as a discount clerk. Throughout his life, John Puelicher worked to acquire the education he did not receive as a youngster. While still a Marshall & Ilsley bank clerk, he founded the Milwaukee Chapter of the American Institute of Banking. Over the years, as he rose steadily through the ranks at Marshall & Ilsley, he kept his eyes on the broader picture. He ascended to national prominence in banking circles during the First World War, when he was credited as a driving force in Wisconsin's support of the war effort as state director of war savings. In 1920, he became president of the Marshall & Ilsley Bank. Under his leadership the bank began an employee education project that resulted in his appointment as chairman of the Education Commission of the American Bankers' Association. He later served the Association in many top posts, including president.
When John H. Puelicher died in 1935, he left a legacy as a business and civic leader that was continued by his son, Albert A. Puelicher was named president following his father's death. Marshall & Ilsley Bank changed substantially under his leadership, opening branch offices and offering new departments and services. Like his father before him, Albert Puelicher oversaw the bank's activities in financing his country's needs during a world war. Throughout World War II, under Albert Puelicher's leadership, the bank made loans to industries making war material and performed other vital functions such as selling war and victory bonds. At the time of Albert Puelicher's death in 1963, the organization, by then known as Marshall & Ilsley Corporation, was poised for additional growth.
His son, John A. (Jack) Puelicher began working at Marshall & Ilsley during the summer following his junior year in high school. After completing his education an serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Jack Puelicher returned to the bank in 1946. He was elected president of Marshall & Ilsley Bank in 1958 and president of the Corporation upon his father's death in 1963. When he retired in 1992, Marshall & Ilsley Corporation had $7.9 billion in assets, 37 affiliated banks and 131 banking offices located throughout Wisconsin.
Three generations of Wisconsin bankers created a remarkable legacy of progressive banking practices and commitment to education. The Puelicher Center for Banking Education was established at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business in 1995 to honor that legacy. The Center and its innovative programs were made possible thanks to generous gifts from the Puelicher Family, their friends, and associates, who contributed more than $3 million for the Center's establishment and permanent endowment.