Category Archives: Mary and Emil North Family

Gladys North 1913 –

Gladys North
1913 –

Gladys was the last child of Emil and Mary North born in November of 1913.

Gladys never married. Her two nieces lived with her for a time after her sister died. Gladys had her heart set on raising the girls but on a trip to see their father Pat in California, he kept the girls with him.

As a young woman, Gladys tinted pictures at Paramount Studios in La Crosse. A job she was very good at. This was before colored film and all the colored pictures were still hand painted. Later she was employed at Northern Engraving. When they moved out of town Gladys took care of the elderly in St. Joseph’s Home. After working there many years, the home was changed to self care in 1981 and Gladys retired.

Three years after retiring, Gladys became ill with Alzheimer’s Disease and went into a nursing home in La Crescent.

Marie (North) Johnson 1911 – 1952

Marie (North) Johnson
1911 – 1952

The daughter of Emil and Mary North, Marie was born in October of 1911. She was a pianist and played the piano in several orchestras.

Marie was joined in marriage to Pat Johnson. Pat was a cook on the Wabash Railroad. During World War II, they were stationed in Maryland where he served as cook on a submarine. After the war they came back to La Crosse for a short while before following a dream to move to California.

The Johnson’s had two girls. When they left La Crosse, Patty was age six and Jean was two. While the children were still young, Marie died of cancer at age 41. Patty and Jean came back to La Crosse to live with their aunt Gladys for a while before rejoining their father in California.

  1. Pat Johnson in married to Rick Webster who is a silk screen supervisor for a name plate co.. They are the parents of two children:
    1. Kelly Webster born in 1974.
    2. Ryan Webster born in 1977.
  2. Jean Johnson was married to Robert Neary and they had four children. She is now married to Duane Quall.
    1. Amanda Neary born in 1961.
    2. Michael Neary born in 1966.
    3. Steven Neary born in 1967.
    4. Eric Neary born in 1969.

Andy North 1909 –

Andy North
1909 –

Andy was born March 20, 1909, the first child and the only son of Emil and Mary North.

Andy grew up below grandad’s Bluff where his father managed the stone quarry. Recalling some good times on the bluff Andy said,

“When I was a teenager I built a bobsled from oak. It had brakes and a bell on the back. Gladys and I, with friends from high school, would slide down Bliss Road in the bobsled from the top of grandad’s Bluff all the way to the church on Losey Blvd. We pulled the bobsled up to the top behind a friend’s old car. “

When he was young, Andy worked at the brick yard for John Schnell who was married to his aunt Julie. After high school he worked in the quarry.

“One of his jobs was operating the locomotive of a narrow gauge railroad that hauled the rock from the quarry site to the tramway. He also worked as a weighmaster at the crusher, a stone salesman, and as a supervisor of county trucks hauling away loads of crushed rock. ‘Working in the quarry wasn’t easy!’ Andy said. ‘Even getting to the top of the bluff in the winter time was a hard day’s work, especially if I had to carry fifty pounds of dynamite.'”(1)

Andy’s job ended with the closing of the quarry in 1935. He then worked for Allis Chalmers.

Andy married his high school sweetheart, Gladys Ott, in 1934. Four years later he built their home on 2628 King St. using the wood from Dominick Mader Jr.’s tobacco shed. Andy did most of the work on the house himself and he and Gladys have made it their home for 48 years. It is located about a block from his childhood home within full view of grandad’s bluff. In 1940 the North’s became the parents of their only daughter, Nancy.

In his retirement, Andy enjoys woodworking. A complete circus made of wood that he has made was on display at the La Crosse Library. He also has built train sets and many country items that his daughter paints and sells. Andy sees something he likes and then goes home and makes his own pattern.

Andy had been featured in many articles written about the bluff, since he has been involved with the early stone quarry and has lived at the foot of grandad’s bluff all his life.

  1. Nancy North was born in 1940. She is married to Ron Lepsch. Ron is retired from John Deer and Nancy works for the school system in Waterloo, Iowa. They have two children:
    1. Rhonda Lepsch was born in 1965 and is a college student. Rhonda won over 100 metals and trophies for high school gymnastics.
    2. Randy Lepsch born in 1967 attends Waterloo, Iowa Tech.


(1) Past, Present and Future, “Andy North and the Stone Quarry” by Gen Koenig (La Crosse Co. Hist. Soc.) Vol V.