Fox Locks team celebrates end of season!

Posted on Sep 8, 2022 by

The official summer season is over and to mark the end of a busy season, we held a year-end celebration. In attendance—the people who keep the locks functioning and who literally open the gates for you. These are unique jobs that are rooted in the state’s history. When barges and paddle boats used the river as the main transportation route through Northeast Wisconsin, lock tenders and their families lived in homes at the lock. Their job was to open the gates any time a vessel approached, day or night.
Today our traffic is almost all recreational and the lock tenders don’t live at the locks, but they are still there to open the massive gates to let boat traffic through.
Our lock tenders, maintenance team, support staff, and board members gathered to thank everyone for their hard work. This year marked the first we went all cashless, and lock tenders rallied to the task of checking electronic passes.  We also acknowledged some milestones in service to the system and recognized these folks:

  • Austin Cords, 2 years of service
  • Kathy Lemmer, 2 years of service
  • Joe Holschuh, 2 years of service
  • Dick Vande Hey, 3 years of service
  • Jeremy Cords, 5 years of service
  • Pat Spaay, 6 years of service
  • Scott Thompson, 14 years of service

To top off the evening, our team was treated to a cruise on the Fox River with Captain Dave Peck of River Tyme Tours launching out of River Heath. We thank all of our lock tenders and support teams for their great work and look forward to seeing them next season!

Lock tenders and guests celebrated the end of the ’22 season at Poplar Hall, near Appleton lock 4.

Lock tender Mike Bye shows off his customized shirt!

Executive Director Phil Ramlet and Board Member John Vette.

Phil Ramlet recognizes Jeremy Cords for 5 years of service.

Phil Ramlet recognizes Dick Vande Hey for three years of service.

Phil Ramlet recognizes Pat Spaay for six years of service. Pat is a jack of all trades at the locks!

Phil Ramlet thanks Joe Holschuh for opening the locks for two years.

Kathy Lemmer is thanked for being a lock tender for two years–yes, women can open the lock gates, too!

It’s a family affair for the Lasees! Joe is the official lock tender, but his son Elijah accompanies him on most of his shifts.

Phil Ramlet with our engineering partner Tim Bolwerk from Westwood Professional Services.

Our resident historian Christine Williams with Tim Vosters. Tim’s family was lock tenders for generations.

Lock tenders young and old celebrate the end of the boating season!