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Willliam Notter - July 18, 2011


William “Bill” John Notter Jr., the son of William John Notter and Vera Hardt Notter, was born in Morristown, N.J. Jan. 16, 1928. He died July 18, 2011 in Holyoke.

His family lived in New Vernon, N.J., where Bill attended the local school and then went on to Morristown High School, graduating in 1945. During this time, he developed his lifelong love of sports and Brown Swiss cattle, with many a trip to Yankee Stadium and weekends and summers spent working with the herd at Lee’s Hill Farm in New Vernon.

Then it was on to Rutgers University for a degree in Dairy Husbandry, Class of 1950. It was there he met fellow dairy student Velva Meyer, and they were married June 4, 1949.

Upon graduating, Bill worked with two registered Brown Swiss herds—first as herdsman at High Meadow Farm in Wallingford, Conn. and then as manager of Hillwinds-Ladderlook Farm in Greenfield, Mass.—before starting his own Venture Farm herd in the spring of 1959 on a rented farm in Gladstone, N.J.

The spring of 1965 brought a move of the family and herd to Cobleskill, N.Y., where they farmed for the next 13 years. Here the Brown Swiss herd gained national and worldwide recognition. Bill accepted leadership roles promoting not only the breed, but dairying in general, and from 1973-1978, served as Director for District 1 to the National Brown Swiss Association in Beloit, Wis.

Urban sprawl forced Bill to move families and herd to Holyoke in the fall of 1978, where they settled down two miles east of town. Still active with the Brown Swiss breed, Bill became national president 1980-1983, serving as host for the Centennial Year events in Springfield, Mass. and the International Brown Swiss Conference in Madison, Wis. He also represented the United States at the International Conference in Verona, Italy in 1983.

Bill “hung up his milking stool” in 2000 when he was 72, but he continued his devotion to the breed and kept track of his many friends across the country. The formation of the Brown Swiss Historical Society in 2005 gave him a chance to reflect and appreciate the 41 years he had spent working with his Big Brown Cow. Venture Farm animals had been sold to 34 states and 13 foreign countries, and he had judged shows in Canada, Honduras and Switzerland, as well as fairs and district shows in 13 states.

This new time in his life gave Bill time to enjoy his family more and to follow his favorite sports teams: the Rockies, Broncos, Colorado Buffs and Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Velva; son, Bill III and wife Pat of Holyoke; and daughters, Velinda Kirchner of Schoharie, N.Y. and Jennifer Kumm and husband Marlin of Holyoke. Also missing Bill are his grandchildren, Bill IV and wife Tara of Richmond, Va., Christopher and wife Haley of Stratton, Julie Peckham and husband Tony of Brush, Stephen and wife Brandi of Evans and Morganne Kumm of Holyoke. Bill was so proud of his beautiful great-grandchildren as well: Cyler, Hanna, Corbin, McKenna, Nolan, Khloe, Lily and Elizabeth.

A funeral service celebrating his life was held July 22 at First Baptist Church in Holyoke with inurnment at the Holyoke Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Melissa Memorial Hospital Foundation (nursing department) or the Notter Brown Swiss Memorial, 43066 U.S. Highway 6, Holyoke, CO 80734.

Gerk Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.