When a man is spoken of only in the highest terms by those who have known him during his entire life, the public may rest assured that he is perfectly trustworthy and deserving of respect, for no more just and competent judges could be found than those who have watched the development of the child into the man, and the gradual building of his character. When, therefore, the citizens of Peru, with one accord, praise the straightforward, manly course which the subject of this sketch has followed from his boyhood no greater tribute could be paid him.
Born in this town, October 9, 1870, in the house which still shelters him. Otto J. Loekle is a son of Edward G. and Katherine (Mather) Loekle, both of whom are natives of Germany. The father, one of the best and most favorably known citizens of Peru, was engaged in business here for forty years and has made his home in this place for almost half a century.
The excellent public schools of Peru afforded Otto J. Loekle the opportunity of obtaining a liberal education, and he was not slow to make the best of his advantages. Being graduated in 1888, he went to Chicago, where he further qualified himself for a commercial career, by taking a course in Bryant & Stratton's Business College. Returning home, he worked in his father's market for about three years, at the end of which time he became connected with the Peru State Bank. Entering upon his new duties on the first of January, 1892, he gradually worked his way upward from the humble position of office boy to that of assistant cashier, and is now acting in that responsible office. He is a young man of marked ability and his future is full of promise.
Educational affairs and everything affecting the public welfare to a greater or less degree are matters of deep interest to Mr. Loekle, who is a patriotic American citizen, endeavoring to do his whole duty to the state and community in which he lives. In 1893 he was elected as a member of the city school board and worked for three years in that body, and in 1898 he was elected to serve as a school trustee. In the spring of 1897 he was elected city clerk and re-elected in 1899, for a second term of two years; and in 1898 he was elected to the office of township clerk, an office he is now holding. In the spring of 1899 he was appointed deputy tax collector, under Louis Leittl, to attend to the local taxes for the year just ended. Thus it may be readily seen that Mr. Loekle's time and services are in great demand, and, had he not been of so genial and accommodating a disposition, he would have declined some of the numerous responsibilities thrust upon him. Formerly he was very active in the Democratic party, to which he continues loyal; but a press of other duties is at present keeping him out of politics. For some time he has been a member of the Liberty Fire Company and the Peru fire department.
In his social relations he is deservedly popular, and among the fraternities he is associated with the Knights of Pythias, the Modern Woodmen of America, the Royal Neighbors and the Mystic Workers of the World. He was reared in the faith of the German Evangelical church, and attends the services of the local congregation. December 2, 1899, Mr. Loekle married Miss Louise Neureuther, daughter of Charles and Louise Neureuther, of Peru, Illinois.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 266-267.