Ulrich Ita, President and Manager of the Embalming Burial Case Company, of Burlington, was born in Stamheim, Switzerland, a son of Melchoir Ita, a native of Switzerland, who for eighteen years ran a government stage between Stamheim and Frauenfeld, a distance of about twelve miles. The father of our subject died in 1859, and the mother, who before marriage was Margaret Marthaler, in 1862, they being survived by seven children, as follows: Elizabeth, wife of Jacon Mueller, of Switzerland: Melchoir, who died in 1869 at Fort Madison; Margaret, widow of F. Deutsch, of Switzerland; Ulrich, the subject of this review; Conrad, who came to Burlington with our subject, and is now associated with him in business; Heinrich, of Vienna, Austria, who is a celebrated hat manufacturer, supplying his product to all parts of the world, and employing approximately two hundred people: and Godfrey, also of Vienna.
In his native city Mr. Ita was educated in the common and high schools, and after the completion of his formal training served an apprenticeship of two and a half years of the trade of cabinet-making. He then worked as a journeyman for a period of four years through Switzerland and France, and in 1868 arrived at a decision, which he immediately executed, to come to America to take advantage of the broader opportunities of the New World. In the same year he located in Burlington, and for approximately four years worked as a carpenter. He now relates, as a matter of interest to those who have since watched his great progress, and are cognizant of his present position, that during this period he assisted in the building of the residences of E. D. Rand and Mayor Adams, two of the finest in the city. Later Mr. Ita became foreman of the Daniel Winters planing mill, occupying that place for about five years, or until he became associated with Mr. Robert Wolf in the furniture manufacturing business. This firm, known as Wolf & Ita, occupied the present location of the Leopold Desk Company, where they erected the first brick building upon the site. In 1881, Mr. Ita's health having suffered considerably from his close application to the exacting duties of business during the last few years previous to that time, he sold his interest in the manufacturing enterprise to Mr. Wolf, and returned to Europe for a temporary stay. His trip abroad proved beneficial, and on his return here in 1882 he again entered active business, becoming a stockholder in the Embalming Burial Case Company, a corporation dating from 1876, and assuming the management of its plant. On the death of Dr. Bailey he was made president and manager, and the other officers of the corporation are Conrad Ita, secretary and treasurer, and five directors, Ulrich Ita, Conrad Ita, Helen Ita, and Winfield Bailey.
The Embalming Burial Case Company are manufacturers and jobbers of all kinds of undertakers' supplies, and about thirty workmen and office assistants are employed, besides five traveling salesmen. Before the building of the present modern structure, the business was conducted in the stone building at the corner of Eighth and Jefferson Streets, now occupied by the Iowa Grain and Provision Company. The present factory site, which has two hundred feet front, is located at 1105 Agency Street, and since the management was vested in Mr. Ita, the plant has been enlarged, comprising a four-story brick warehouse 50 x 120 ft., a machinery building and engine room 160 x 60 ft., of brick, and one story in height; a frame drying house 18 x 40 ft., and a lumber shed 50 x 60 ft. in dimensions. The business is one of the most successful in this line anywhere in the West, and it is almost exclusively to the faithful efforts and great ability of Mr. Ita that its large prosperity is due, he devoting his whole time to its advancement and welfare, and bringing to the performance of his task an energy that surmounts and overcomes all obstacles. The plant, which is a model one in every respect, was constructed in fulfillment of his ideas and plans. It has steam heat throughout, and is well lighted, ventilated, and cared for.
In Burlington, in 1873, Mr. Ita wedded Miss Julia Shupert, who died in 1874, and to them was born one child, U. Ita, now of Chattanooga, Tenn. He has since remarried, having been united in marriage in 1876 to Miss Carolina Bergman, of Burlington, and they reside at 1107 Agency Street. To Mr. and Mrs. Ita have been born four children; Helen, Arnold C, Godfrey J., and Walter H., all of whom have been given the best of educational advantages, including the privileges of the public schools of Burlington and Elliott's Business College. The father of Mrs. Ita was by trade a stone-mason, but both parents, who were of German descent, are now deceased, although she has in Burlington one sister, Mrs. Augusta Lippert.
Mr. Ita is vitally connected with the springs of industry in his adopted city, and among his other activities is a stockholder and director of the German-American Savings Bank. Fraternally, he is a member of Excelsior Lodge, Independent Order Odd Fellows, and his religious connection is with Zion Evangelical church, in whose work he takes a prominent part. He is one of the men to whom Burlington owes much in the way of industrial progress and conservative enterprise, so that his name stands high upon the roll of her benefactors, while his great personal worth has made him a host of friends.
Mr. Ita in the summer of 1905 again visited his native land, accompanied by his wife, and enjoyed a well-merited rest from business cares.