‘The most honest and dependable guy you could meet’
Remembering longtime Little Swiss Clock Shop manager Gary Roman

By Eileen Mozinski Schmidt - Special to The Freeman

Dec. 12, 2017

Gary Roman, who managed Little Swiss Clock Shop in downtown Waukesha for 41 years,
died on Nov. 29 at age 70.
Submitted photo

WAUKESHA — Several decades ago, Karen and Eddie White hired a house painter and were impressed by the work ethic of young Gary Roman.

“He did such a good job, was not just proficient but very detailed. And my husband and I looked at each other and said, ‘Wow, that’s a good worker, we need to talk about him,’” Karen White said.

The Whites were about to hire someone who would be a major contributor to their business.

Roman was brought on staff at the Whites’ store, Little Swiss Clock Shop, and Eddie White taught the new hire the details of the operation.

Roman took to retailing “Like a duck to water,” Karen White said.

“He was a people person,” White continued about Roman, who died on Nov. 29 at age 70. “He just enjoyed the customers so much.”

Originally from Flint, Michigan, Roman had settled in Waukesha following military service, according to Karen White, who said Roman’s family included a wife and two children.

Roman “became a manager in a very short time,” said Karen White, who said her husband Eddie White was a watchmaker who decided to open the retail store in 1968.

At the start of his time with the store, Roman worked regular store hours in the shop and after hours with Eddie White on house calls, delivering new grandfather clocks and servicing others.

When Eddie White passed away, Karen White said, it was Roman who stepped in to help.

“Gary was my mainstay. He took care of anything and everything and took care of it with a smile,” she said, praising both Roman’s technical and interpersonal skills.

Roman worked for 41 years as manager of the downtown store, and retired five years ago after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, said Karen White.

“I think that’s some kind of a record downtown,” she said of Roman’s tenure.

She said Roman continued working smaller jobs for the store following his retirement.

Bruce Eutin, a friend of Roman’s, had worked part time at Little Swiss Clock Shop in the 1970s and often teamed up with Roman on deliveries.

“If I ever had a business, I would have wanted Gary to work for me. He was probably the most honest and dependable guy you could meet,” Eutin said.

The two friends shared an interest in sports; bowling, golfing, and car racing. Eutin said that at work Roman quietly went about his job and didn’t get rattled too easily.

The friends took trips to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and to Michigan to visit some of Roman’s family members.

Eutin described his sadness at his friend’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and recent passing.

“We had some great times working together and our sports together,” Eutin said. 'I really miss him.'

White also said Roman is missed among the employees and customers at the shop where he so diligently worked for over four decades.

“To this day, people are still calling and asking for him,” she said.

“He made quite an impression.”