Fred Ertl Jr., local farm toy legend dies - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Fred Ertl Jr., local farm toy legend dies

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A local legend in the farm toy industry has died. 

Fred Ertl Jr. passed away Aug. 23 at the age of 87 while living in Arizona. He was the former president and CEO of Dyersville Ertl Co., selling farm toys around the world.

"It was a very sturdy toy, and that's what got us going in the business," said Joseph Ertl of his brother. 

He was an influential part of the farm toy industry.

"He was a great leader. He took over my father's business after about a year when he was 17-years-old with my father, and then within a year he had to take the business over because my father became ill."

Ertl Jr., along with his four brothers, oversaw the company, employing hundreds of people in Dubuque County. "Kind gentleman who cared for his employees. He really looked after them, and then he really looked after the products to be the best they could be made at a fair price," added Joseph.

He helped raise the standards and quality of toys. Under his leadership, the company made farm model toys that were safe.

Ertl Jr. was also a leader in the community. With his support, the National Farm Toy Museum was launched. 

"They were instrumental in the sale of the Cockshutt tractors.  We had over five sets of three tractors. It's a Canadian tractor, but it's one of those things that wouldn't be possible without the support of the Ertl Company." said Amanda Schwartz, museum manager. 

"It's sad to see him gone, he's part of a great legacy, he did a lot for the toy industry," Joseph said.

Visitation for Fred Ertl Jr. will be Friday, Sept. 1, from 1 to 7 p.m. at the Egelhof, Siegert and Casper Westview Funeral Home and Crematory in Dubuque. The mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday, September 2, 2017 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in  Peosta, Iowa. 

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