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125 Year Company History
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Introduction
Coming to America
Hard Work
Persistence
Second Generation
Great Depression
Home Front
Postwar World
Big Flood
Turning Point
Rebuilding
New Location
New Technology
Leadership for the Future
The Company Faces a Turning Point
The articles of incorporation were going to expire on July 3, 1957. The articles needed to be extended or the company would go out of existence. Some family members asserted that a liquidation of the assets rather than continuing the company's operations was the better choice. Others, particularly Eugene's daughter Eugenie Meyerding, did not want to see what her father had built over so many years get "sold down the river." She thought the solution was new management. After failing to convince others of her view and suspecting that "something funny was going on at the factory," she began to initiate legal proceedings. In 1955 attorneys were hired and they sent a communication to board officers. "For some time past... our clients have felt there should be a more aggressive and efficient management," the letter said. There were acceptable alternatives, but "to make no change and to continue as at present... is wholly unacceptable. The matter dragged on for months. But in the end, the Villaume Company was saved without going to court. Julius Villaume announced his retirement and according to the papers, he and his niece had "sold their stock interests to the company, leaving ownership entirely to Mrs. Eugenie Villaume Meyerding and her family. The company was successfully transferred to a new generation of the Villaume heirs. The tenacity of Eugene’s daughter preserved Villaume Company for the future. Christine Linsmayer remembers Eugenie's strong feelings about the family business. "I think that it must have made a big impact on my mother--that they could survive all those years. She believed that this was something that should not be torn apart."