Sauk Prairie Optimist Club
  Serving the Youth of the Sauk Prairie School District
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   December 2022   

About Our Club

The Sauk Prairie Optimist Club was formed in 1961 with 29 members. The club was the first Sauk Prairie service club. Prior service clubs were either Sauk City or Prairie du Sac. Two of those original members are still members of the club, Forrest Zantow and the first President, Denman Kramer. The club now has about 40 members. The Optimist Club of Sauk Prairie is a member of Optimist International, an association of over 3,000 Optimist Clubs worldwide.  Below are the Charter Members of the Sauk Prairie Optimist Club:



Owen Anderson

Floyd W. Harris

Sterling Westre

R.W. Bayley

Wayne L. Huehns

Gerald A. Young

Melvin Bickford

Dale Kelly

Forrest M. Zantow

Arthur Breunig

John Koch, Sr

Henry W. Thies

Dean Caflisch

Denman Kramer

George Wiedenfeld

Robert Curtin

Paul McFarlane

John Hammerli

Eldor Fruehling

Joseph L. Martin

Leonard Pulsfus

Gilbert Gasner

Allen Maruyama

Earl Hall

Russell Gattshall

Al P. Miller

Ken Poppy

Edward D. Gruber

Ronald Nichols


About Milly 

Mildred (Milly) L. Zantow (1923-2014) became the first woman member of the Sauk Prairie Optimist Club in 1987.  Milly later became the first woman Optimist Club President when she became President of the Sauk Prairie Club in 1992.  In 1993, she became a life member of Optimist International and the first female Lt. Gov. (Zone 6) of SWIS District of Optimist International.  Milly was recognized as the 2005 Sauk Prairie Volunteer of the Year and she received the 2006 Hometown Hero Award with husband Forrest (Woody) Zantow.  Milly received many richly deserved awa rds for her  service to the Optimist Club and other community charitable organizations.  From 1975 to 1979, Milly also was the first Volunteer Administrator of the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo and was the pioneer of the plastics recycling process that is used to this day.  Her work with cranes and recycling crossed paths in 1978.  During her tour of Japan to work with cranes, she saw first-hand recycling in action.  This convinced Milly, in spite of her many doubters, that recycling was possible here. 

Upon her graduation from High School, Milly won the I-Dare-You Honor Roll Award from the Danforth Foundation.  The Award came with the challenge to Dare-Greatly-Live Usefully and Share Freely all worthwhile things in Life.  Milly accepted this challenge and followed her sister Edith’s advice, “Always do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, just as long as you can”.  The Sauk Prairie Optimist Club acknowledges the contributions of Milly Zantow. 


Tribute to Pastor Dwight W. Pulsfus (1949-2019) and Denman G. (Balloon Man) Kramer (1918-2019)

Two long-term members of the Sauk Prairie Optimist Club, Dwight Pulsfus and Denman Kramer, recently passed away. 

Dwight joined the Optimist Club in 1985.  Dwight’s wife Joy is also a member of the Optimist Club.  He became the Pastor of Graceway Church in 2003.  He retired in 2018.  Please click on the following link to find out more information including recordings of Dwight’s sermons and the funeral: .

Denman was a founding member of the Club in 1961.  He was known as the “Balloon Man” because of his passion for making children smile.  He would always have his pockets full of balloons that he could delight children with by inflating them to make a variety of animal and character figures. 

Dwight and Denman shared their passion for the Optimist Club.  They lived their lives not by being served, but by serving others.  They believed in (and lived by) the words of the Optimist Creed.  All the members of the Sauk Prairie Optimist Club will miss them. 

Please click here for obituaries:  

Thank you for looking into how Our Club helps the children of this community. Our Club was created by a group of thoughtful, hardworking men and women and their successors. They have met regularly to support and assist the youth of our community through a wide range of donations and charitable work.

If you would like to contact us, please email us or write to:

Sauk Prairie Optimist Club
Box 522
Sauk City, WI 53583


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