Pages 293-294 - William Geldhof is a native son of Grand Rapids and a representative of a family whose name has been worthily associated with civic and business affairs in this city during the past forty years. With headquarters in this city he is now general manager of the business of the White Sewing Machine Company throughout all Michigan territory with the exception of the city of Detroit, and this executive preferment stands in evidence of his ability and of the high estimate placed upon him by the corporation that he thus represents. The business represented at the Grand Rapids general offices of the company now has a volume ten times as great as that shown when Mr. Geldhof assumed the management, and seventeen sub-offices in the state make regular reports to the general offices in Grand Rapids. Mr. Geldhof was born in Grand Rapids June 11, 1885, and is a son of Abraham and Eberdina (Williamson) Geldhof, who were born and reared in the Netherlands, whence they came to the United States and established their home in Grand Rapids about the year 1875, where their marriage was solemnized. Abraham Geldhof became one of the successful building contractors of this city, and was a prominent and influential citizen of Grand Rapids at the time of his death, January 17, 1907, his widow being still a resident of this city. The public schools of Grand Rapids afforded William Geldhof his early education and while he was still a boy he found employment as an assistant at a planing machine in the old Quimby manufacturing plant and at a salary of three dollars a week. He was thus employed during summer vacation period, and his ambition led him to secure employment in another factory, where he received five dollars a week. His industry and effective work soon gained him a raise to six dollars a week, and at the age of eighteen years, after having made good advancement in his prior line of occupation, he obtained a position as collector of the Grand Rapids office of the White Sewing Machine Company. Here he found advancement, and his faithful and efficient service finally led to his being made assistant manager of the office. His ambition to learn all details of the business led him to acquire practical experience in the sales department, in which likewise he made an excellent record, and in 1911 he was sent to the city of Chicago, in the capacity of branch manager. There he remained until 1914, when he returned to Grand Rapids, where he held during the ensuing summer the position of salesman and buyer for the Blue Valley Creamery Company. He then resumed his alliance with the White Sewing Machine Company, in the capacity of salesman. In 1918 he was made manager of the company’s Grand Rapids territory, which was much enlarged in the following year, and since 1919 he has been general manager of the company’s Michigan business and territory outside of the city of Detroit, which alone has a separate jurisdiction. Mr. Geldhof is one of the progressive business men and loyal and popular citizens of his native city, where he takes lively interest in all things touching civic and material prosperity and advancement, and he and his wife are popular in representative social circles of the community. He also is a member of Doric Lodge No. 342, F. & A. M. In1918 Mr. Geldhof wedded Miss Welda Shinn, daughter of William Shinn, of Grand Rapids, and their beautiful suburban home, at Ottawa Hills, is brightened and vitalized by the presence of their two children, Russell and Marjorie Ruth Geldhof.
Transcriber: Ann Ed
Created: 22 October 2003