Died: April 13, 1945
Anton Brotz was a natural born mechanic, technician, and engineer who spent his entire working life in the engineering department of the Kohler Corporation. Born in Sheboygan, Brotz seemed to always be building something, he built his own automobile in 1902.
Famed aviator Lincoln Beachey was the first pilot to fly over Sheboygan in 1912 and Brotz was there. A decade later, at age 44, Anton Brotz completed pilot training in Chicago, brought home his first airplane - a war surplus Standard - and established Sheboygan's first airport.
In 1927, he accepted the invitation of Walter Kohler to develop an airport in the Village of Kohler and advised him on the purchase of a Ryan 'Brougham' aircraft. The aircraft was aptly named, Village of Kohler. Later, making 104 flights across Wisconsin in 80 days, covering 7,280 miles, helped elect Mr. Kohler as "The Flying Governor" of Wisconsin" in 1928.
Interested in high-altitude flight, Brotz refitted his open-cockpit Woodson Express biplane with a Wright J-5 'Whirlwind' engine and flew it to over 18,000 feet. When his son-in-law, Felix Waitkus, made a successful attempt to fly his Lockheed Vega solo across the Atlantic, Brotz had been there helping to prepare the aircraft for its long over-water journey.
Anton Brotz retired from aviation when the Kohler Airport closed in 1936. He is remembered as the founding father of aviation in the Sheboygan area and of a family of aviators whose accomplishments he inspired.