While Joe Felderhoff faced the unique challenge of founding and developing his own company in the 1930s, there were still many more challenges to be faced when a fatal car crash took him from both his business and his family. This put Joe’s wife Mary in a difficult position. She was now a single parent with the responsibility of keeping her family financially afloat while still being the hands-on parent she wanted to be for her four children. At the time, Arthur was her oldest child, and he was only 13 years old, so her children couldn’t help her run the business. So in order to keep the company alive, she decided to lease the business to another Muenster family for the next ten years.
When Arthur turned 18, he volunteered to join the Navy and serve his country during the Second World War. When he enlisted, he was told repeatedly that he had to join the Army instead of the Navy, because with his height measuring in at a staggering 6’6”, he simply couldn’t walk around a ship as freely as he would need to when at sea. Arthur, however, was extremely persistent, and he continued to approach the desk several more times that day, until they finally decided they could accommodate his wish to be in the Navy by assigning him to reconstruction of roads and bridges in Europe as a Navy Seabee.
After spending several years in the service, Arthur decided to permanently return to Muenster, TX. At this time, the Felderhoff family would stop leasing the business out and Arthur would take full control over the operations. Just like Joe, Arthur was facing difficult circumstances when it came to making Muenster Milling the kind of business he wanted and needed it to be. He was 23 years old and rather than being a veteran of the business world, he was a veteran fresh out of the military.
While the going was never easy, it also never proved too daunting for Arthur. He took on the task before him fearlessly, placing an immense focus on getting the customer what they wanted no matter what it took. He would continue to push ahead for many years, constantly pouring in no small measure of persistence, innovation, and hard work. At the time, Muenster Milling only produced dairy feeds, but Arthur expanded the company’s set of product lines to include food for dogs, chickens, and horses. He was also responsible for developing better grinding techniques and expanding the company into grain storage and steam flaking (the latter making Muenster Milling the only mill to steam flake their corn in the whole of North Texas). His size and strength would also prove useful in day to day work, as it was not uncommon for him to walk four 50-lb bags of food out to customers at the same time, with two on each shoulder!
While Arthur inherited the business at the age of 23 years old, it would take another full 23 years before the business went from a very small local operation to a strong company that served a 100 mile radius. These years of hard work would set the stage for his son Ronnie to take Muenster Milling into its third generation.
Thank you for sharing in this part of our company history with us. Please check back two weeks from now, when we tell the story of Ronnie Felderhoff, Arthur’s son.