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When Family Comes Together

Longtime Big Brother mentor eventually became family


When Bill Pohl introduces his wife, Diane, as “my little brother’s mother,” he gets the desired bewildered look from his listeners.

The puzzled pawns will pause and utter something like, “Oh … I understand … ,” to which Pohl will reply, “You do? Then please explain it to me.”

The exchange can either begin or end there, with a great story or an uneasy exit. The story is worth hearing because Chris Esteves calls Pohl his “brother, dad, friend and employer.” Well, stepdad and now former employer, anyway.

All of which begs for a collective “Huh?” Indeed, all of the labels apply. Esteves forever will be Pohl’s “little brother.” They met when Esteves was 12 and Pohl, who had volunteered through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, was matched with him.

Esteves will always be Diane’s son and became Pohl’s stepson when widower Pohl married Diane in 2005. And recently, Esteves took over as the new owner of Pohl Metal Products in Oakdale, a business founded in 1950 by Bill Pohl’s dad, Archie Pohl. Bill bought out his dad in 1972. A unique chain of events means the business will remain in the family, with Bill Pohl now easing into retirement at 71.

Some More History