THE HEAD ELF PASSES. Milwaukee's Usinger Sausage is a family business. The grandson of founder Fred Usinger, also named Fred Usinger, recently died.

As time went on, Fred Usinger, longtime president of Usinger's Famous Sausage Co., came to look a bit like a Usinger elf.

There was a certain twinkle in his eye, and his white whiskers seemed to grow in different directions. People began to mention Usinger's picture on the sausage logo and packages, said his daughter, Debra Usinger, retail director for the firm.

"And then it dawned on me," she said. "It was the picture of the elf on the package."

"He always had a great twinkle," said son Fritz Usinger, company president. "He was the head elf."

For comparison, here is the canonical depiction of Usinger elves.

The business remains a family business, with Frederick III's son Fritz becoming Wurstmacher-in-chief in 1988. Fritz's father was also known as "Fritz" and the chief elf in the murals is Fritzie, which, if memory serves, is also the name of a Usinger breakfast sausage.

We send our condolences to the family and best wishes to the continued prosperity of the business.

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