Renew IGSS

Goat Store

Commodore's Letter








Mac Race Sailing Info

Goat Crew List

Fudge Shops

Donate to the
Mackinac Island
Ambulance Fund

Donate to

Good Bye Tom...

Chicago Yacht Club Station

In Memoriam
Anne & Birger Juell

Good Bye Anne & Birger

Birger, 93, formerly of Kristin, Norway and Anne, 77, formerly of Grand Rapids, MI.   Birger and Anne drowned at their Whitewater Lake House from an apparent swimming accident.

Loving mother and father of Hal land Juell, Chuck (Debbie) Norris, Bruce Norris, Scott (Stefan) Norris, Mark (Jayne) Norris and Laura (Greg) Lose, Grandparents of 17 and great-grandparents of 9.   Birger was the brother of Mara Grind land and Anne was the sister of Richard (Carol) Chandelle.

A Memorial Visitation will be held on Saturday, October 9th from 3-6 PM at Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home, 6150 N. Cicero Ave., Chicago.

A Celebration of Life Gathering will be held at the Chicago Yacht Club, 400 East Monroe Street, Chicago, on Sunday, October 10, from 4-8 PM.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Chicago Maritime Society, 310 S. Racine Ave., Chicago, IL 60607 would be appreciated.

For more info call: 773-736-3833
or visit Birger and Anne's Memorial at:

Click to Return to Legend Page

Back to Top

The Janesville Gazette
October 4th 2010   By Frank Schultz

Couple leaves strong legacies

WHITEWATER TOWNSHIP -- The elderly couple whose bodies were found in Whitewater Lake on Saturday had made their marks on the world.

Birger Juell, 93, was a Norwegian immigrant who founded a company that makes high-end, handcrafted wood floors.

Anne Juell, 77, was the first woman inducted into the Island Goats Sailing Society, where entry requires having sailed in at least 25 of the annual Chicago-Mackinac Island yacht races.

Anne's son Mark Norris said Sunday that the couple were found wearing bathing suits, so the family believes they were in the water, one got into trouble and the other tried to help.

It probably happened on Friday, which was a warm day, Norris said.

That jibes with the observations of next-door neighbor Veda Fearn, who said the Juells' lights were not on Friday night.

"Anne swam quite often. She loved the water,"   Norris said.   "Birger would get in every so often. -- It appears it was just an accident."

Fishermen found the bodies floating in the water Saturday afternoon.

A news release from the Walworth County Sheriff's Office on Sunday indicated the investigation was not complete and that the cause of the deaths was still not known.   Autopsies were scheduled.

Anne had five children and Birger one, both from previous marriages.   Both loved to sail, but they had not taken their boats out on Whitewater Lake this year, Norris said.

The couple celebrated their 38th anniversary in August, Norris said.   They had purchased the house on the lake at N7378 Chapel Drive in 1982, after it was damaged in a fire.

They spent most of their time at the lake but were frequently in Chicago, where Birger remained active in the company he founded, Norris said.

They lived long, full lives, but losing them both in one stroke, and so unexpectedly, was a shock to the family, Norris said.

Fearn said she had last seen Anne on Wednesday.

Anne had borrowed a skillet to make pancakes for guests who were visiting from Norway.   She brought it back Wednesday.

"I said to her, 'and how is Birger doing?' because he was not out a lot this summer, and she says, 'not too good,' and she gave me two thumbs down, and of course I suspected he wasn't doing too well.

"Well, we'll have to get over to see Birger, and she said, 'Oh, yeah, come and see him,'" Fearn said.

Birger was the son of a ship captain and spent much of his early years at sea.   Norris estimated he had sailed around the globe several times.

Birger crewed on a sailing ship that came to the World's Fair in Chicago in 1933.   He jumped ship and ended up installing floors.

"His boss handed the young apprentice some knee pads, a box of scrapers and an assignment.   Birger spent the next several years on his hands and knees learning the art of hand scraping wood from a master," according to the company's website. "In 1946 he founded his own flooring company."

Anne's first Chicago-to-Mackinac Island race was with her father in 1955.

Most recently, she sailed in the race's 100th running, with Norris in 2008.

Quoted on the Island Goats website, she said: "Friendship is the most important part of the racing."

Birger loved to tell stories of his travels and to recite poetry.   Robert Service was his favorite poet, Norris said.

Fearn said the Juells were good neighbors.

"He was always very upbeat," Fearn said.   "And Anne was the same way.   They were a very loving couple. We enjoyed them in the neighborhood."

The couple often welcomed guests, including their grandchildren, at their lake house, Norris said.

"They loved the area, loved the neighbors, enjoyed the lake," Norris said.

Published at:

Click to Return to Legend Page

Back to Top

The Chicago Tribune
8:26 PM CDT   October 4th 2010
By Carlos Sadovi, Tribune reporter

Chicago businessman and wife
found dead in Wisconsin lake

Avid swimmer and yachtsman's
work was 'hallmark' of
wood-flooring industry

Good Bye Anne & Birger
Birger and Anne Juell

An internationally recognized businessman who had worked on the homes of celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Hugh Hefner and the Pritzker family was found dead this weekend along with his wife in a lake near their weekend Wisconsin home, officials said.

Birger Juell, 93, and his wife, Anne S. Juell, 77, both of Chicago, were found Saturday afternoon in Whitewater Lake in Walworth County, officials said.   Autopsies were conducted, but Walworth County Coroner John T. Griebel declined to release the results pending the outcome of an investigation by the coroner's office and sheriff's officials.

Officials with his company, Birger Juell Ltd., say the couple were avid swimmers and apparently drowned.

Several of the couple's children called neighbors Saturday to check on their parents after they were unable to reach them, said Charles Crispin, the company's president.

One neighbor told the family a boater found the bodies floating near a dock outside the lakefront home.   "They were in their swimming suits, their towels were there and so were their shoes, so it was a swimming accident of some sort," Crispin said.

There were no witnesses, but friends and family of the couple speculate that one of them may have struggled in the water and the other went in to help.   Crispin said there is a deep drop-off near the lakefront home, which the couple have owned for about 20 years.

"Birger was like a walrus. I was a little bit surprised,'' Crispin said.   "They were both water dogs."

The couple were also avid sailors and called "Old Goats" because they had completed more than 25 Chicago-to-Mackinac boat races, he said.

Anyone who has sailed in 25 or more Chicago-to-Mackinac races can join the Island Goats Sailing Society.   Members are known as "Island Goats" or sometimes "Old Goats."

The couple were members of the Chicago Yacht Club and for many years lived across from Belmont Harbor to be near their sailboat.

They had six children, 15 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, Crispin said.

Juell was internationally known in the wood-flooring industry for popularizing cobble wood and hand-scraped plank and parquet flooring, Crispin said.   He did work on several of Winfrey's homes as well as for Playboy Magazine founder Hefner, the Pritzker family and a member of the Rockefeller family.   The company also did millwork at Cog Hill Golf Course in Lemont.

Juell worked in the business for 60 years, Crispin said.

"Birger has created an incredible legacy that is well-acknowledged...   There are so many admirers and imitators of his work," Crispin said.   "His work will continue to be the hallmark."

csadovi@tribune.com     Copyright 2010, Chicago Tribune

Published at:

Click to Return to Legend Page

Back to Top
Welcome to Our Website     www.IslandGoats.org
Race to Mackinac Island 25 times or more and you too can be a member of the Island Goats Sailing Society.   Click Here to Join!
Comments, Corrections or Suggestions?   Contact the:  Webmaster@IslandGoats.Org