Words to describe a successful couple

Published 8:39 pm Saturday, July 23, 2016

As we head into the weeklong celebration of the Hormel Foods Corp’s 125th anniversary, I have been pondering what its founder would think about all the special activities being planned.

In my time leading the Hormel Historic Home I have come to respect a man and woman whom I never met but feel like I know. Descriptive words I would use for them include driven, passionate, loyal and supportive.


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In a letter to his mother dated 1887, George committed to his plan in writing: “Now don’t say that I am going to be a common, every day kind of a butcher. I am not. I am going to be a packer. In the course of a year I intend to have a general supply depot in Austin, where butchers from towns within two hundred miles or so can get anything they want. I will secure a manufacturer’s agency for tools and forward circulars to butchers soliciting orders for tools, sausage casings, and sausages.”


George insisted on maintaining the highest of quality in his manufacturing. Of himself he wrote “My insistence on perfection was no joke around the plant. A former associate wrote “You ought to see Hormel look over a ham. Why, he looks at that ham the way most men look at a pretty girl.”


George was first and foremost a family man. He wrote of the respect he had for his father and the value he placed on his advice. Regarding his father’s influence he said. “having him for next door neighbor meant a great deal more to me than acquiring a good bookkeeper for the business. His presence was a continual source of cheer at times when I almost succumbed to the blackest discouragement — a constant reminder of what faith and courage could accomplish in spite of all the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”


The couple contributed to many organizations in Austin including the Girl and Boy Scout organizations. Their support of the YWCA was extravagant as detailed in the history of the YWCA document. “Mrs. and Mr. Hormel had always been generous contributors to the work of the YWCA and the latest gift was just another very substantial evidence of their thoughtful love the Association, its aims and endeavors.”

These qualities resulted in a thriving company that we all benefit from today. Many lessons can be learned through studying George Hormel’s life. I think George and Lillian Hormel would be humbled by the town’s celebration of their company’s continued success, but I am sure the pride they showed in their business and in their “hometown” would be evident. Their legacy lives on and we strive to preserve it at the Hormel Historic Home.

Looking for ways to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of Hormel Foods? Join us for two special events.

Peace Garden Concert: Going To The Sun

6:30 p.m., July 24, free

Minneapolis-based band performing earthy folk instrumentation with lush harmonies that result in a sonic yin and yang sound. Home opens for free tours at 4:30 p.m. There will be lawn games in the garden.

Free Garden Concert: JT & The Gunslingers 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

JCA Acoustic (Jamie Braaten and Cody Yost) 5 p.m., concert, 6 p.m. July 29

Join us for music and happy hour while enjoying all the festivities in downtown. Free tours of the home. Cash bar available. Spam snacks will be available for purchase.