The Monberg Family, long time patrons of the Portage Lake Golf Course (PLGC), have generously gifted Michigan Tech with the funds to install an 8-foot Exterior Time Clock at the Golf Course. The gift from the late Warren and Joan Monberg came with a letter from their son, Eric:
“Warren Monberg was born in Chicago, Illinois. He served in WWII, where he commanded a tank in the European Theater of Operations. Joan was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin and was in the Women’s Army Corps during WWII. In 1948, Joan and Warren married—one year before their first child’s birthday.
After the war, Warren attended the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago with the help of the GI bill. While attending college, Warren studied architecture with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, one of the most influential architects of the 20th century. After graduation, Warren worked for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), an American architectural, urban planning, and engineering firm formed in Chicago in 1936. He worked at SOM until he met Herman “Winks” Gundlach who hired Warren to design his Woodland Road home which was once the Michigan Tech president’s residence until being converted into a sustainability demonstration house. Winks reportedly liked the house so much that he offered Warren a job as a Vice President in 1955. Warren moved to Hancock with his wife, Joan, and three children, and started playing golf at the Portage Lake Golf Course shortly thereafter. His father, Otto, was a golfer and an architect so “it was in the genes.”
All told, Warren and Joan had five children; Eric, Nicole, Mike, Dan and Marc. Of their children, Dan is described as the best golfer; he was on the varsity golfing team at Winona State University and may have been club champion at PLGC.
Warren and Joan were good friends with Verdie and Ginnie Cox and they both were active in the men’s and lady’s leagues. Warren’s regular partners were Forrest “Old Blue” Wilson, Jim Tormala, Bob Ellis, Evan Hughes, Dan Hackmeyer, Verdie Cox, and Herman “Winks” Gundlach. Warren and Joan loved to participate in the series of Short Stop tournaments that were held in Ontonagon, PLGC, Ishpeming, Iron River and other sites in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula. When the Monbergs were attending, the Short Stop Tournaments were big social events with dinner, dances, friendly betting on Calcutta’s (an open auction held in conjunction with a golf tournament, horse race or similar contest with multiple entrants) and some very competitive golf. Galleries of hundreds of people followed the championship nine hole match which often featured one the members of the Tizziani family, Pete Lenz, or Tom Cox from Houghton, Michigan.”
Eric Monberg goes on to say, “I have fond memories of playing during the summer, after work at Gundlach’s, with my father and one of our many Golden Retrievers. The dog always went for a swim in the pond on the second hole! At any rate, they really loved the life they led that involved PLGC and I can’t think of a better memorial for both of them than the starter’s clock.”
Eric and his brothers hope to relive some of the joy they remember from their youth, while visiting the memorial clock at the Portage Lake Golf Course this summer.