WIND POINT — Mary Ann and Joseph Huser moved from Indianapolis to Racine three years ago because they loved the city’s scenic views of Lake Michigan.
Now the couple will get to take those views in every day from more than 100 feet up as the new Wind Point Lighthouse keepers. Even though they can enjoy the lake’s beauty, the new position — which allows them to live on the lighthouse’s grounds for free — is still high-pressure.
“We know that there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” Joseph Huser said. “We know we have some big shoes to fill here.”
Leaving the lighthouse keeper job are 10-year incumbents Michael and Susan Arts, who announced their retirement in April.
More than 80 individuals and couples applied for the position, according to Wind Point Village Administrator Michael Hawes. Most applicants were older and retired, but not all.
The Husers are nearing the age of retirement, but have no plans to give up their current jobs — at least for the time being. Joseph is director of facilities for the Pabst Theater Group in Milwaukee and Mary Ann is the secretary for St. Richard Catholic Church, 1503 Grand Ave.
Those positions, Hawes said, made the Husers attractive candidates due to the mechanical and clerical skills they need to have. The couple also owned a construction and maintenance contracting company in Indianapolis for more than 20 years before moving to Racine.
The Husers’ eight children seem enthusiastic about their parents’ new position, Mary Ann said.
“Our kids are very supportive,” she said. “They grew up with a sense of adventure on their own, which is why none of them live close to home anymore.”
Two of the Husers’ children, ages 40 and 34, live in Los Angeles now, the couple explained. Mary Ann said that a sense of adventure that was instilled in the children lives on in them, and can be personified in the couple taking the dive with the lighthouse keeper job.
The Husers enjoy yard work and landscaping, so they are looking forward to performing their job requirements on a large scale. Joseph said he especially finds flower beds fulfilling.
“Our staff and board are very excited to work with Joseph and Mary Ann,” Hawes said. “They bring a breadth of skills to the position and will be a great asset to the village and lighthouse. It’s a hand-in-glove fit for us.”
The couple is scheduled to assume their duties Oct. 1 and move into the lighthouse grounds on Nov. 1. Joseph Huser said they are planning on staying in the position for as long as the Arts did. In the meantime, they are prepping to sell their current house near the zoo.