“Who was Colonel Ernest J. Teberg?”

Colonel Ernest J. Teberg (1892-1987) was an electrical engineer, a veteran of three wars, a curator at the Museum of Science and Industry, a farmer, an engineering and real estate consultant, a realtor, a Free Mason, an Evangelical Protestant, a husband, and father. I have written before about how many of the founding executives and curators of the Museum of Science and Industry were veterans of the First Great World War and the exhibit Yesterday’s Main Street commemorates how the downtown of many Midwestern towns looked when they were young, and Col. Teberg was one of those men.

Born on November 10, A.D. 1892, in Litchfield, Minnesota, Ernest J. Teberg was the son of John and Jennie (Frederickson) Teberg.[1]  Like many Minnesotans, he was of Scandinavian descent.[2]  He was a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in electrical engineering and received a commission into the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.[3]  On November 16, A.D. 1917, he wed Mary Bartena Pease.[4] 

During the First Great World War, he served in France.[5]  For most of the interwar period between the great world wars, Teberg served in the U.S. Army Reserves.[6]  He had two civilian occupations in that time during which he was a reservist army officer.[7]  Firstly, he worked as an electrical engineer for utility companies.[8]  Secondly, he was Rail Transportation Curator at the Museum of Science and Industry in Hyde Park on the South Side of Chicago.[9]  Thus, he would have had to balance his time between being a husband and father with a civilian job during the workweek and his military occupations as a part-time soldier on weekends.[10]  In 1937, the U.S. Army recalled him to active duty.[11]

He went on to serve in both the Second Great World War and the Korean War.[12]  During the Second Great World War, he served in the Pacific Theater and received the Army Legion of Merit for engineering services during the campaign to take Okinawa.[13]  He received the Commendation Medal for his service in Korea.[14]  In 1952, he retired.[15] 

Col. and Mrs. Teberg moved to Crystal Lake in Kane County, Illinois, where they purchased a seventy-acre farm.[16]  There, they raised registered Aberdeen Angus.  He went on, though, to work as an engineering and real estate consultant.  In 1968, he founded Lake Region, Inc. and in 1974 Century 21 Lake Region Realty.[17]   

A member of the Evangelical Free Church of Crystal Lake, Col. Teberg also belonged to the Kiwanis (an international service club), the McHenry County Board of Realtors, [18] the Enterprise Club, and Masonic Lodge 169 (Ancient Free & Accepted Masons) of Crystal Lake.[19]  Col. Ernest J. Teberg was preceded in death by his parents and by his son, Col. Daniel Teberg.[20]  [Daniel Teberg’s wife was named Helen.[21]]  Col. E.J. Teberg died at Sunset Manor at the age of ninety-four on Friday, October 20, A.D. 1987.  He is buried at Fort Sheridan.  His survivors were his wife; their son, David (Barbara) Teberg; their daughter, Dorothy (John) Doolittle; eight grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and his brother, Lawrence (Annabelle) Teberg.[22]

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[1] “Col. Ernest J. Teberg, war veteran, dies at 94,” Northwest Herald, 2 November, 1987, p. 48

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

[8] Ibid

[9] Ibid

See also the Institutional Archives, Kenneth J. Griffin Museum of Science and Industry

[10] “Col. Ernest J. Teberg, war veteran, dies at 94,” Northwest Herald, 2 November, 1987, p. 48

[11] Ibid

[12] Ibid

[13] Ibid

[14] Ibid

[15] Ibid

[16] Ibid

[17] For context, Kane County is due west of Cook County and is one of the five “collar counties” that border Cook County, of which Chicago is the county seat.  Kane County split off from LaSalle County in 1836, DeKalb County split off from Kane County in 1837, Most of Chicago’s satellite cities began as fam communities that formed along the banks of the Fox River in Kane County in the 19th Century.  Today, parts of southern Kane County have been enveloped in Chicago’s suburban sprawl, while most of it could be best described as a mixture of farmland and exurban towns, but in the 1960s and ‘70s the process of significant numbers of Chicagoans moving out to Kane County had only just begun.  

[18] Ibid

McHenry County is another collar county and is north of Kane County and northwest of Cook County.  It borders Wisconsin.

[19] Ibid

[20] Ibid

[21] Ibid

[22] Ibid

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