Roger M. Goetz Chapter 29

Looking Back

by Roger M. Goetz

CHAPTER 29

DAD AND THE HACH CHEMICAL COMPANY
 JANUARY 1949

We celebrated New Year’s Day in 1949 by having the Fred Duke and Cliff Hach families over for a 5:00 p.m. dinner.  As mother noted, it was nice, but we missed having family over that day as we had each year when living near Chicago.

Six days later, Friday, January 7, Dad turned forty-one.  Mom and Dad spent the evening at the Duke’s playing bridge.

The following Monday, my parents and three other couples new at Iowa State (all members of Memorial Lutheran Church) were invited over to the parsonage attached to the church.  Pastor Martin H. Mueller (1891-1964) and his wife Mabel (1903-1985) had invited them over to welcome them to the parish and help them all to get better acquainted.

I should mention that Pastor and Mrs. Mueller’s daughter Dorothy (1923-1982) was married to Robert Kurt Friedrich (Ames High Class of 1941), the elder son of noted building contractor Reinhard Friedrich (1900-1990) and his wife Wella (1897-1992).

About that time, my father became a part owner of what would become known as Hach Chemical Company.  The entry in Mom’s diary, book 7, dated January 16, 1949, Sunday,  does not indicate the date this happened.  Here is what she wrote:

Charles bought Diehl’s half of the chemical business with $2000 now and more as needed.  Duke is in on it too – no money, he’s to contribute brains.  Chas. has controlling interest.  His dream has finally come true–he’s always wanted a chemical business to play around with.  He’s enjoying it very much.  He does the business angle.  It all has to remain a secret until his 2 years at Iowa St. College are up, since he has only a 2 yr. contract & it may not be renewed if such outside interests leak out.

The business, of course, was the Standard Sample Company mentioned in the previous chapter.  I don’t think my mother’s statement is quite accurate.  As far back as I can remember, he did not have controlling interest but only 40 per cent interest, with Cliff Hach having 50 per cent interest and Fred Duke having 10 per cent interest.  Because of my father’s extensive experience in the world of chemical industry, his advice in those matters usually, but not always, was followed.

It is evident that after Dad bought Diehl out, the name of the company was changed sometime during 1949 to the Hach Chemical Company.

In Analytical Chemistry, Volume 21, page 1520, December 1949 (Copyright 1949 by the American Chemical Society) we find the article, "Use of Perchloric Acid in Determination of Copper in Sulfide Ores," by Charles A. Goetz and Harvey Diehl, Iowa State College, Ames, Iowa, and Clifford C. Hach, Standard Sample Company, Ames, Iowa.

The next month we find in Journal American Water Works Association. Vol. 42, No.1, January 1950, the article, "The Versenate Titration for Total Hardness," contributed by Harvey Diehl, Prof., Dept. of Chemistry, Iowa State College, Ames, Iowa; Charles A. Goetz, Prof., Dept. Of Chemistry, Iowa State College, Ames, Iowa; and Clifford C. Hach, Pres., Hach Chemical Co., Ames, Iowa.  This research, incidentally, was a major contributing factor to the company becoming what would eventually be the premier company in America involved with water quality testing and analysis.

The Hach Chemical Company was incorporated in the State of Iowa in the spring of 1951 with Cliff Hach as president and treasurer and his wife Kitty as vice president and secretary.

The entry from Mom’s diary above continues:

One day Roger had the "Ames blues." [He said,] "I can’t go on in Ames.  My life is spoilt here.  I’ll never be able to play with Gary [Cook] again."

Last night he did his Sunday School lesson and read a chapter of Matthew in his new Bible.  (It wasn’t required reading.)  When he said his bedtime prayers, he said, "God bless all bad people."  I asked him why he said that and he said, " I read in Matthew that you should love your enemies."

Chuck clipped Daddy’s hair this morning in the back hall.  When he was through he [Chuck] swept up & says, "Which rug should I sweep this under?"  Movie education – I certainly never do it.

Returning to the theme of the previous chapter, one sees from Mom’s diary that the whirlwind of our first academic year in Ames had only just begun!  As I continue to set that forth in the next chapters, it should be noted that only selected items from Mother’s diary will be mentioned.

She was involved with various things on a regular basis, for example Neighborhood Club and Chemistry Circle and all such routine events will not be reported.  Only items connected with such that might be of interest or might be historically illuminating will be reported.  It should be noted, also, that most of the anecdotes and stories connected with Louise Crawford Elementary School and Welch Junior High are not included in the next chapters, for they have already been reported.

Turning to the entry dated January 29, 1949, which follows the one cited above, Mom related some school activities and music activities involving my brother Chuck and then wrote the following:

Last night we had Dean and Mrs. Hixon and Prof. & Mrs. [Charles] Banks for dinner.  Have only one more meal to give – Pastor Mueller and the Sunday School teachers.

This last statement of my mother shows that my parents took social reciprocity seriously and thus did a lot of entertaining. Once my father became Head of the Chemistry Department, the amount of entertaining my mother had to do increased dramatically.

Why were social activities so important to many in the Fourth Ward of Ames?  Why was the pace of such social activity almost frenetic?  After all, as reported in the previous story, Mom wrote in her diary the previous November,

I’ve heard the remark that Ames is "clubbed to death."  If I went to everything I’ve been invited to, I’d be a nervous wreck.

This is quite understandable: those of us prior to the Baby Boomer generation were joiners.  After all, we lived during the Great Depression and World War II, when life’s necessities were hard to obtain and the amenities of life were often out of reach.  We rolled up our sleeves and pitched in to help one another.  And getting together with family and friends was basically a free form of entertainment.

But it was more than that for many of the staff at Iowa State.  Employment had brought people there from far and wide, separating them from family and childhood friends.  And in those days traveling many miles home didn’t just happen because of the cost of time and money.  And long-distance phone calls were expensive: they were made only when there was a death in the family or something too serious had happened to wait the days it took for mail to be delivered.

For us, Reinhard and Wella Friedrich and sons became our family in Ames.  In the years that followed, we usually celebrated Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day together, which holidays were two of the three important family holidays during our days in the Chicago area.