Local legend Clarence “Inky” Jungwirth, who started working for Oshkosh Corp. in 1945 and still went to the office every day, died over the weekend. He was 98.
The author or co-author of numerous books, including “The Bloody Sixth Ward: A History of the Sixth Ward in the City of Oshkosh from 1880 to 1940” and “Oshkosh Trucks: 75 Years of Specialty Truck Production,” Jungwirth was renowned for his prodigious memory.
At Oshkosh Corp. he maintained an office and came to work each day helping customers from all over the world track down spare parts for legacy models of the company’s products, a company spokeswoman said.
“There are about 50,000-60,000 old Oshkosh trucks in the field,” he said in an interview published by the company last year. “The oldest is a 1937 in Colorado. My job is to keep those old trucks going. Keep in mind that I’m 97 years old, and I can still remember part numbers from the 1930s and 1940s. I deal with customers all over the United States and world, and their opinion of Oshkosh is unbelievable quality.”
“I don’t think anyone in Oshkosh knew our history better than Inky,” said Mayor Steve Cummings. “He saw the city evolve from one dominated by the lumber industry to a major player in global markets with companies such as Oshkosh Corp.”
Cummings added, “His life was a history of that company.”
“Sorry to say that I met him only once,” said Dr. Stephen Kercher, chair of the History Department at UW Oshkosh. “His memory of life in Oshkosh and his passion for preserving local history will be sorely missed.”