Archived Story

Ben Hormel was heavily involved

Published 4:43pm Saturday, October 26, 2013

By Holly Johnson

Hormel Historic Home

This weekend, I say happy birthday, Ben.

George Hormel’s youngest brother, Benjamin Franklin Ludwig Hormel would have been 136 years old on Sunday.

He was born on Oct. 27, 1877, in Toledo, Ohio. I am skipping a few people in the Hormel family this week to tell you about the youngest of George’s siblings, but since it’s his birthday I thought it would be OK. I will get back to the other siblings in the coming weeks to share their history. The youngest of the 12 children of John and Susanna, Ben was nearly 17 years younger than his oldest brother, George. You may know quite a bit about Ben as he was active in both the Hormel Company and in Austin from the time he arrived here at the age of 14 in 1891.

It is written in the November 1941 edition of the Hormel news-magazine called “Squeal,” that during Ben’s time with the company “he has done about everything in the Hormel business. For most of the latter years, supervision of livestock, the farm, and public relations have been his chief concern.”

Ben spent 50 years helping his brother build his successful business and retired from his vice-president position in 1941. Like George, he moved to California upon retirement.

He died on Aug. 9, 1960, and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery here in Austin.

Ben married Flora Kaufman on June 28, 1906, and together they had three children: Lois (1908), Virginia (1911), and Ben Jr. (1914). They lived in at least two houses (which are both on the market right now) as a family. Lois became Mrs. Cliff Lyons and Virginia Mae married Gene Grounds. Ben Jr. married Thelma Lowe in 1937 and we are fortunate today to have contact with their two daughters, MarySue and AnaBeth.

On Nov. 2, 2013, MarySue Hormel Harris will be in Austin as a guest and judge during the Harris Piano Competition. Though she is our guest, she is also a generous donor to the music programming at the HHH.

In its second year, the piano competition has registered 41 enthusiastic young musicians who will compete for cash prizes in four age groups. After a private competition in the morning, the top two performers in each age category will compete for overall top honors in the final competition beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the Historic Paramount Theater.

This portion of the day is free and open to the public. Please join us in supporting some amazing pianists and to hear a little from Ben’s granddaughter, MarySue. There will be more in this column next week about her.

Halloween Costume Dance for Kids

Oct. 27, 2:30 to 5 p.m. with costume judging at 4 p.m.

In conjunction with the Mower County 4-H, we are hosting this fun event for kids up to 12-years-old. Judging will be done in three age categories and prizes will be awarded by the 4-H group. DJ Sam Deyo will provide the music. Cost is $1 for each family member. Snacks will be available for sale.

 


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