We are honored to dedicate this page to the memory of our father, Walter F. Thielemann. He was a legend of a man who left us with big shoes to fill. The imprint he left on our community was tangible as evidenced by the hundreds upon hundreds of people that filed through to pay their respects upon his passing. We heard phrases like, “He was one of the great ones” and “they just don’t make ‘em like that anymore”. He was part of a fleeting generation who truly valued commitment, hard work and earning one’s way – the epitome of the American Dream.
Dad was a simple man with a big personality. He had a great sense of humor so could easily light up any room. Most importantly, he had real passion for the work he did. He absolutely loved building homes for the people of this community so much so that he did it for 57 years. He literally worked a full load up until the age of 85 when medical challenges forced him to step back. In his mind, retirement just wasn’t ever an option.
Here is his story…
First It Was Just A Thought...
There was a time over 60 years ago that the thought went through Walter’s mind that maybe someday he'd like to have his own construction business. Construction just seemed to run in the family. His father, the late Herbert Thielemann, was a community carpenter back in the 1920's and 1930's helping his friends and family build their homes. He also had a younger brother, the late Milton Thielemann, who later went on to contract and remodel homes in the Houston area.
Walter attended public schools in Austin County until the 10th grade when he had to begin working on the family farm. At the age of 18, he was drafted into the Army where he served 18 months in the Pacific during the latter part of World War II. Some years after his return from service, he met and married his wife Evelyn in 1950 and entered into the construction business.
At the time of the picture to the left, Walter was in his early twenties. He first started out working for Ervin "Boots" Broecker as a framer. This was the first project he ever worked on. You may recognize it today as the First United Methodist Church in Brenham. He spent several years working for Boots. He continued to learn through hands-on experience and fine-tuned his skills as a carpenter craftsman. It was during this time that Walter attended night classes at Blinn College to finish his education. He received an Associate in Arts degree in June of 1953.
Then Came the Next Step...
After working for Boots for several years, a business opportunity finally presented itself. Walter ventured into a partnership with Odell Lueckemeyer as they began contracting together. They both had the desire to be in business for themselves so it began by building residential homes. The picture at right is the second project that they completed together. It was finished in March of 1954. Walter is on the left and Odell is to the right. At this point, they still did all of the physical work themselves. This included pouring slabs, framing, roofing, literally every aspect of the building process. The partnership was good and ultimately a life-long friendship, however, things did change over time. At a later point, Odell decided to pursue the commercial side of construction while Walter preferred to stay in the residential end of things.
Finally It Began...
After the partnership with Odell was dissolved, Walter decided he was ready to branch out on his own. Walter and his wife, Evelyn, founded the company in 1956 and it was known as Walter Thielemann Construction. The primary focus was the construction of residential homes. At that time, the business was run directly out of their home. Walter ran the jobs while Evelyn handled all of the administrative details like billing and payroll.
In those early years the crew was small but they could accomplish much. Walter had three men working with him. To this day, one of those employees from the early years is still with Thielemann Construction Co. We have several other employees that have been with us now 20, 30 and 40 years as well. These faithful employees allowed the company to slowly grow and began earning us the reputation of a good home builder with a quality produced product. Above are a few pictures of the men working during those early years.
Around 1965, the company expanded into the commercial market and has built many different projects including churches, metal buildings, apartments, motels, and rest homes. Some of the churches that Walter built over the years include Salem Lutheran, Friedens United Church of Christ, and Carmine Lutheran.
A building was eventually purchased in early 1970 from which the business was run. It was located at 2306 S. Market St. in Brenham. That location served as the home for the company for nearly 30 years. We eventually moved into a brand new facility next door in 2001. Throughout the past 50 years, there have been several names changes, however the company is now known as Thielemann Construction Co., L.P.