Our Board Members

Our Board Members

President: Joe Yana.

Joe was born in and grew up in Oshkosh, WI. He attended St. Mary’s Elementary School, Webster Stanley Junior High, and graduated from Oshkosh High School. He went on to receive his Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from UW-Oshkosh, where he met his wife Patti. They were married in 1975. Joe continued on to Marquette Law School. After practicing law for 5 years, Joe served as Family Court Commissioner for Winnebago County for 23 years. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Inter-professional Committee on Divorce and the Butte des Morts Conservation Club. He is also an active member of the Butte des Morts Lions Club, Re:Th!nk, and the Winnebago County Heroin Task Force.

Vice President: Randy Domer

Randy was born in Oshkosh in 1951. He and his wife, Karen, have three daughters and six grandchildren. Randy is a food industry executive recently retired from SUPRVALU, Inc. with 23 years of service. Randy started in the grocery business at age 15 employed as a stock clerk and bagger for the Prescott family who owned Sawyer Street SUPERVALU in Oshkosh. He also is a 20+ year veteran with the Wisconsin Army National Guard, retiring from service as a Sergeant First Class. In 2013 Randy wrote and published a book entitled "Yesterday in Oshkosh…My Hometown", tales reminiscent of growing up in Oshkosh in the 1950s and 60s. In his leisure time, Randy enjoys historical research, fishing, gardening, music, sports, cooking at home and writing. Today Randy is a member of the board of directors with the Winnebago County Historical and Archaeological Society and has a strong passion for local history. It was here that Randy’s interest in the Butte des Morts community was fueled by the opportunity to help preserve the Grignon Hotel. The WCHAS appointed Randy as chairman to oversee the society’s interests in helping save the historic site.

Secretary-Treasurer: Patti Yana

Patti was born and raised in the Milwaukee area and obtained her BS degree from UWO in Early Childhood. After earning her MA in education while teaching Kindergarten she started volunteering anywhere and everywhere! She has lived in Butte des Morts with her husband, Joe, for the past 26 years. Living in a 105 year old house that has only had two previous owners got her interested in exploring its origin! With Joe being a history major and Patti being a teacher, she is always interested in learning things about history. BDM seemed a great place to explore history! Patti began exploring history while working on her family genealogy. Along with volunteering on numerous committees, ushering at the Grand Opera House, and volunteering at the Oshkosh Public Museum, Patti also serves on the board of the Winnebago County Historical and Archaeological Society.

Deb Daubert

Deb’s first memory of Butte des Morts is one of the friendly people who helped her older brother get the family car back on the road after it slid off during a winter storm. They had been traveling from Wausau, where they lived, to Oshkosh to visit both sets of grandparents. A belated thanks to those nameless people. She was born on a farm outside of Omro, but then moved to Wausau at age six. During college, she moved back to Oshkosh to live with her grandmother. However, at the same time her mother, Mary G. Daubert, decided to relocate (Deb’s father died when she was twelve and Mary wanted to help elderly grandparents.) so she bought her new home circa 1973 in Butte des Morts. She found work at the Winneconne Community Schools. Deb’s two younger brothers, Myron and Matthew, many may remember as being their paperboys during the 1980s. Deb has been the curator at the Oshkosh Public Museum since 1981 but actually started there in 1977 as an intern from UW-O and then taught art classes until she became curator. In those early years the museum actually took part in an archeological dig at the Grignon/Petford Hotel. She participated by cleaning many artifacts found near the foundation. When Deb’s mother started having health problems, she came to stay with her to help. Now that Deb’s mother has passed on she spends her time at the Butte des Morts home and her 100+ year old, farm near Eureka.

George Kontos

George Kontos was born in Chicago in 1923 and moved to Butte des Morts in 1928. Having lived in Butte des Morts 85 years makes him the longest living BDM resident on our board! Thus he has a great interest in preserving the history of Butte des Morts. George attended Butte des Morts Elementary, still standing on County S and Spiegelberg Road. He then attended high school in Oshkosh, rather than Winneconne because he could get a ride there. He rode to school with Frank Tilly and Jesse Benedict. He attended college at UW Madison and Oshkosh where he met his wife Merle in French class. After serving in the Navy during WWII, George came back to Butte des Morts and later he and his wife Merle settled down here for nearly 60 years. They had two daughters and a son. George's Uncle Chris started a candy shop at what is now the White House Inn, which originally operated as a hotel. George's dad James Kontos, operated "Jimmy's (aka Jimmie’s) White House". George took over the White House in 1974 after his dad passed away. George also has worked as a realtor, Winnebago County bailiff, town constable, and eventually police chief, serving on the force for over 35 years. Thus George knows just about everyone in town!

Mandi Wilson

Amanda (Mandi) Wilson was born in Lombard, IL. Shortly after that she and her family moved back to Butte des Morts. She grew up in the home directly east of Tilly’s and could be found playing in the park, swimming in the lake and sledding down the Kachur and Klemp hills.

After graduating from Winneconne High School, she attended Marquette University. She studied Political Philosophy and Business, was active in the Political Science honor society (Pi Sigma Alpha), and graduated summa cum laude.

Following college, she began working at Kimberly-Clark Corporation. For the past 16 years she has worked in Supply Chain & Operations for the North American Consumer business.  Amanda has volunteered for United Way Fox Cities since 2001. She has served as Chairman of the Fox Cities United Way Emerging Leaders (2014-2015) and as Chairman of Kimberly-Clark’s United Way Emerging Leader team (2008-2016). She has also volunteered for many years for the Butte des Morts Lions Club at Christmas and Halloween parties and serves meals at Homeless Connections in Appleton.

For fun, Amanda loves to travel, tend her gardens, and be by the lake. She joined BDMHPS to uncover and preserve the history of our close-knit little town. She is proud to be the 4th generation of her family who has lived on Washington St. For her, Butte des Morts is, and always will be, home.

Janet Eiler

Janet was born in 1966 and grew up in the Winneconne/Allenville area, graduating from Winneconne High in 1984.  She currently resides in the Village of Fox Crossing.  Janet works for Villa Hope, Inc, working with mentally challenged men.  Janet has two sons and one grandson. Janet is related to the Benedict clan that once inhibited much of Butte des Morts, so her roots run deep.  Janet and her mom hosted an annual Benedict Reunion for 16 years and value family deeply.  Janet is a busy person serving in several societies: Winnebagoland Genealogical Society – President, Newsletter Editor, and Publications; Bell Cemetery Association – Secretary & Board of Directors; Butte des Morts Historical Preservation Society – Board of Directors; Member of the Winneconne Historical Society, Winnebago County Historical & Preservation Society, and the Stevens Point Area Genealogical Society.




Vicki Wilson

Vicki moved in with her grandmother, Clara Erdmann, when she was just under a year old. She went to the little school house just outside of BDM (on S and Speigelberg Rd.) for kindergarten through 2nd grade. Vicki then went to Winneconne Schools through graduation. She attended UWO while working part time at Wisconsin Bell and worked there until she was married in 1975. They lived in Chicago suburbs for 4 years until her first daughter was born and decided the only place to raise kids was here in Butte des Morts! She then went back to work for the phone company and worked there for thirty years and retired in November of 1999. Since then she has been managing the White House Inn where she spent a great deal of time growing up so it's pretty much like home to her!

Vicki was part of the original navy aboard the USS Chicken Ship with Admiral George Kontos at the helm for the first Sovereign State day in Winneconne! Vicki said she didn’t have a favorite memory because they're all so good she just didn't know where to start. She has lived in three different houses in Butte des Morts, but all on Washington Street, so you can see she didn't want to go far. This village has a rich history and Vicki is glad she’s a part of it. We are too!

Tom Kontos

Tom grew up in Butte des Morts and graduated from Winneconne High School. He graduated from Ripon College, and later graduated from the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth. He is currently a retired Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel, landlord, and volunteer firefighter and works as a Biomed for ThedaCare. Tom is the son of the late Tom J. Kontos and Bonnie Porath Kontos, nephew to George Kontos. His wife, Heather Kontos, will begin teaching Math in Winneconne this year. Tom‘s 30 years of service included the Army, Army Guard, and Army Reserve. He is a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and also served in Germany and various locations in the United States. He has belonged to the Winneconne Poygan Fire Department since 1990. He is a member of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Fond du Lac. His lifelong interest in reading History goes back to the bookmobile parked in front of the Grignon building. History was one of his degrees at Ripon, where he interned for a semester at the U.S. Army Military History Institute at Carlisle Barracks, PA. He once was published as a co-author of The Deployment Journal of the 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team to Baghdad, Iraq in 2008. Tom has inherited the wanderlust from his ancestors and loves traveling and always makes it a point to see something historical. HIs interest in Butte des Morts History is multi-faceted. First he is greatly intrigued with the geographic location of Butte des Morts in the early fur trapping days and that one had to pass by it in order to get to the Mississippi River. Second, he is amazed at the early history of Butte des Morts itself to include the early settler and the Indians before them.

The Butte des Morts Historical Preservation Society was started in 2014 by Joe and Patti Yana from Butte des Morts, and Randy Domer from Oshkosh.

Our mission is to collect, preserve, and disseminate materials and information relating to the rich history of Butte des Morts, Wisconsin, which began in 1818 as a fur trading post founded by Augustin Grignon.

Butte des Morts Historical Preservation Society

Board Members

Joe Yana, President
Randy Domer, Vice President
Patti Yana, Secretary/Treasurer
Vicki Wilson, at large executive committee member
George Kontos
Jim Quillinan
Tom Kontos
Harold (Skip) Thorpe
Debra Daubert


P.O. Box 332
     Butte des Morts, WI 54927
 920.582.9616
 BDMHPS@gmail.com

Copyright © 2015 Butte des Morts Historical Preservation Society. / All rights reserved.