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Bittman, Otto C.   (1875-1956)

Otto Christian Bittmann was born May 10, 1875, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was the son of Bernhard Bittmann and Philomena Bastian. Otto was the sixth of their seven children, and the second to be born in the U.S. His parents had emigrated from Michelbach, Baden, Germany in 1871 - just four years before he was born. The spelling of his name varied from Bettmann (marriage) to Bittmann (original German) to the final version Bittman. The family legend is that the change was to make it sound less German. Otto's father died in 1890, when Otto was 15 years old. His mother died in 1916. Otto married Veronika Laura Basel (known as Laura). Laura's brother Joseph brought her to Milwaukee to work as a chambermaid at the Pfister Hotel. She was there by at least 1900. In 1900, Otto was living in Milwaukee with his brother, Fred, at 168 Mason Street. Otto met Laura while he was working at the Pfister Hotel as a porter, and they married on April 23, 1902. At the time of the marriage, Otto was a bar keeper. By 1910, Otto and partner Adolph Benzing (husband of Otto's sister, Paulina), had started the Cream City Granite and Marble Works. Otto and Laura lived at 709 4th Street in Milwaukee. In 1927, they lived at 84 Lloyd in Milwaukee. By 1930, Otto was the vice-president of Badger Monument Company. By 1945, he changed the name to Bittman Monument Company. Otto and Laura had eight children from 1903 through 1919 - three boys and five girls. Laura died young, in 1928. Otto died on Jan 3, 1956, in Milwaukee. Otto and Laura are buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, with his sister Paulina, her husband Adolf Benzing, and their daughter Philomene Benzing.

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