Theodore H. Lienesch
Director of Public Safety
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As Director of Public Safety, Theodore H. Lienesch has under his management four important departments of the government of the city of Dayton. He is the administrative officer of the police, fire, workhouse, and infirmary departments of the city. That he is successfully and wisely guiding and directing the welfare of these divisions of the city government must be admitted by other officials, private citizens, and the members of the departments under his dare. By virtue of his position as Director of Public Safety, Mr. Lienesch is also a member of the Board of Control of the city of Dayton.
Both in public and private life Mr. Lienesch is well known and popular throughout the entire city and county. As a manufacturer he is widely known and respected in the commercial field, and as a supporter of the cause of Democracy he is hailed as a wise and careful leader. Theodore H. Lienesch was born at Fayettsville, St. Clair County, Illinois, on January 7, 1861. He is of German parentage, his father, Theodore, having been born at Hanover, Germany, and his mother, Elizabeth, in Prussia. He began his education in the public schools of his native city and also attended parochial schools there for a short time before his parents removed to Dayton. After coming to Dayton he entered Emanuel Parochial school and later was a student at St. Mary's Institute for a short period.
Being of a mechanical turn of mind from his boyhood, Mr. Lienesch began work in a planning mill soon after leaving school. This work was congenial to his tastes and he followed his trade in various planing mills until 1884, when he met with an accident while at work which caused him to change his plan of life.
At this point of life he felt the need of a business education and entered the Miami Commercial College, of Dayton, wherefrom he graduated and acquired the knowledge necessary for a business career. After leaving the commercial college he accepted a position as shipping clerk at the Stomps-Burkhardt Chair Company, and after serving in that capacity for a short period secured a position as bookkeeper with H. Ferneding & Son, who formerly conducted a malt house on Kenton Street. This position he filled for ten years, and it was with great regret that his employers heard the announcement that he was leaving them to enter business for himself. His many friends wished him success in his new venture and predicted for him a successful career.
Mr. Lienesch saw opportunities in the manufacturing field of Dayton, which in 1895 was in the beginning of the wonderful development which has attracted the attention of the world. In that year he formed a partnership with W. H. Gondert and took up the manufacture of wooden boxes, succeeding Adam Zengel, one of the pioneer box manufacturers of Dayton. The firm has developed a large business and holds a prominent place in the city's "thousand factories." The firm name is Gondert Lienesch, and the factory is located at Pine and Marshall streets.
Mr. Lienesch has been affiliated with the Democratic party since attaining his majority, and has been prominently identified with the party in Dayton and Montgomery County for a number of years. For many years he was a member of the Democratic City Executive Committee and was chairman thereof from 1901 to 1905. He was also a member of the State Central Committee for two years, 1903-04. The fact that, in addition to all these honors, Mr. Lienesch has been for several years, and is now, president of the Thurman Club, one of the city's strongest Democratic organization, is another strong proof of his popularity among the members of the party. He has been a most faithful worker in the cause of Democracy and stands high among its leaders.
No better evidence of a man's social and business standing in a community can be collected than a record of the positions of trust placed in his hands by his fellow men. Mr. Lienesch's record in this connection is certainly one to be proud of, and it must be admitted that it takes a big man to successfully "hold down" as many positions as does Dayton's Director of Public Safety.
In addition to his factory business and the duties in behalf of the city, Mr. Lienesch is president of the Market Savings Bank, a new and promising financial institution in this city. He is prominently identified with a number of Catholic societies and is deservingly popular in all of them. For fifteen years he was president of the Commandry 104, Knights of S. John, and for several years occupied the position of Adjutant General of the Supreme Commandery of this organization. He is one of the directors of the Marquette Club, one of the prominent social organizations of the Gem City, and is a charter member of Dayton Council Knights of Columbus. He was the first Grand Knight of the latter organization and held that position for two terms. The Knights of St. John and the Knights of Columbus are the two largest and most prominent Catholic societies in Dayton.
Mr. Lienesch was also secretary of the Holy Trinity Catholic Congregation from 1888 to 1901, and is a member of the Catholic Gesellen Verein, his membership in the last named dating back to 1879. This being a society for young men, he has always taken a special interest in its welfare.
Mr. Lienesch has always identified himself with matters that tend to further the interests of the German citizens of Dayton. He served for a number of years as a director of the League of German Societies, a local amalgamation composed of representatives of all German societies in the city, irrespective of creed. He is also a member of the Chamber of Commerce and lends his support to all movements that promote the welfare of the Gem City.
In spite of the fact that Mr. Lienesch is one of the busiest men in the city, he finds time to take an active interest in all of these societies and still has enough time to avoid neglecting his family and friends. The secret of his success is that he does things with a push and vim, and never puts off until tomorrow what can be done today. Mr. Lienesch has practically been connected with the safety department of the city government since 1900, when he was a member of the old board of fire commissioners. He remained a member of this board until it was legislated out of existence and replaced with the Board of Public Safety. In 1908, Mayor Edward E. Burkhart appointed him a member of this board to succeed Charles S. Hall. He served in this capacity until the recent Paine Law abolished all such boards and provided for a Director of Public Safety.
Such a clear and careful judgment had Mr. Lienesch shown while serving the city in the former offices that Mayor Burkhart immediately selected him as the proper man to place in charge of the department under the new law, thus making him one of his advisors. He as accordingly appointed and is more than "making good." It is rather natural that Mr. Lienesch should take an active interest in public affairs for this father did before him. The father always took an active interest in public affairs, serving as Justice of the Peace both in Ohio and Illinois.
Mr. Lienesch resides at 105 Perrine Street and his family life is a most congenial one. While a young man, struggling for a place in the business life of Dayton, he was united in marriage to Miss Mary Kohorst, daughter of Henry and Mary Kohorst, an old and prominent family of Dayton. They have five children, Theodore, Jr., Edward, Carl, Joseph, Paul, and Alma. Mr. Lienesch is a lover of home life and is a man who is devoted to his family. He delights in the companionship of his wife and children, to whom he gives his every spare moment.