Old Bill

So whose in our lineup for new characters in Harvey? 

How about a heartwarming, German speaking, advice giving, jovial little man named Bill!

Introducing William F. Neubauer.

Bill Neubauer closing the elevator doors. Students crowd around him.
Bill is the one that looks more dapper than the rest.

William (Bill) Neubauer started his career at the Stout Institute in 1931 as a 30-day temporary elevator operator. The first 30 days seemed to work out quite well, so Bill carried on as the Stout Institute’s elevator operator for the next 23 years, finally retiring in 1954 when an automatic elevator was installed. He didn’t have any hard feelings about it, though.

Bill was very well known and admired by the students. According to Stoutonia newspaper articles and many students, Bill was always happy. The daily elevator riders always looked forward to his cheery conversation, hearty greetings, and his even disposition. He is remembered as one who was always willing to help students in any way that he could. He always gave great advice. Bill had moxie. His frequent greetings in German led many students to believe that he grew up in Germany, but he actually moved to America by the time he was two years old. Old Bill perfected his German speaking skills in Wisconsin.

Black and white photo of Bill Neubauer standing in the elevator.
Quite the gentleman.

Some of the most mind-boggling aspects of Bill’s career at Stout are his estimations of the number of students he has transported in his trusty elevator. Bill himself estimated that every day he would travel roughly 8 miles in his elevator. He made between 500 and 600 trips every day, and each trip averaged 6 passengers, bringing the total to about 3,600 passengers daily. Over the duration of his career, Bill estimated that he transported 15 million passengers over the course of 48,000 miles.

We dug up an old Stoutonia article that opens a window into Bill’s life, providing just one anecdote. It reads, “The funniest experience that Bill told about his work is when a girl came running up to the elevator when it was stopped in the basement shouting, “take me to fourth Bill.” She counted the floors as they were going up, “two, three, four,… oh, my gosh Bill, we just passed fourth, where to now?”


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