An influence of kindness, energy

Published 2:01 pm Sunday, June 19, 2016

On June 25, 1896, a lovely lady was born in LaVernelle, France. Twenty-six years later, she moved to Austin as the wife of Jay C. Hormel.

She would be celebrating her 120th birthday in the coming week.

Though she passed away 25 years ago, on Jan. 4, 1991, her presence is still felt in both the Hormel Historic Home and by the people who knew her while she was in Austin.

Germaine Hormel

Germaine Hormel

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Married to Jay C. Hormel for 32 years, and the beloved mother to three sons, Germaine Hormel was described as friendly and vivacious.  She earned the respect of her friends and of Jay’s business colleagues. In my recent visit with Tom and Jim Hormel, they lavished love and adoration on her when talking about their upbringing and her influence on their lives.

Known as Mrs. Hormel to most, and Gerry to her close friends and family, she was remembered in the Austin Daily Herald following her death. On Jan. 10, 1991, friends shared the following reflections of her.

Laura Huntting reflected on Mrs. Hormel’s generosity. “She was a very gracious person and very generous.  She invited us into their home at the estate and she was especially thoughtful to us. We had many lovely times at the estate and I won’t forget their friendship. I am going to the funeral today as a tribute to all those years we enjoyed together so long ago. She was a great lady.”

Etta Sherman added, “We were fortunate enough to visit the estate for parties many times and she always made everyone feel so welcome at the parties.”

Her husband’s long-time secretary, Dorothy Goss, said of her, “Mrs. Hormel was more than just friendly.  She was vivacious, very vivacious, and they were a good match for each other. Theirs was an international marriage before that kind of marriage became more common as it might be today. They were good mates and she was just so chic in so many ways that she was a very special person.”

Other comments said that Mrs. Hormel contributed her talents to the company’s products including the development of the recipe for the company’s French soup.

It was recorded that Mrs. Hormel liked to entertain and such notables as Dr. Chuck Mayo, movie actor Randolph Scott and comedians Abbott and Costello were guests in her home.

The only photos we have of the interior of the HHH during the time when George and Lillian lived here include Germaine. She lived here for the first couple years of her marriage and surely brought her style and sophistication into the home.

The photos are on display so we invite you to stop in and view them in memory of another fine lady who called this house her home.

 Oscars Big Break

presented by a Touch of Magic Entertainment

1:30 p.m., Monday, June 20

Event will be held inside. Following this interactive musical comedy show everyone is invited to enjoy ice cream and balloon structures in the Peace Garden.