Albert Hintermeister

Born: Andalusia, IL – 14 Feb 1882

Died: Sioux Falls, SD – 1 May 1968

Father: Johann Gustav Hintermeister

Mother: Anna Elizabeth Schneider Hintermeister

Spouse: Lottie Rode Hintermeister

— Photos —

Grandfather Albert Hintermeister

Until I get around to writing Grandpa Albert’s biography, I will give you a taste of my grandparents from an article written by Fran McNeil for the Methodist Church in Slayton, Minnesota. It was published in April 1966 in the ‘Methodist Minister’.

A squirt of oil and the hand made lawn ornaments are all ready to operate in case a good Spring breeze comes along. It’s March 15, 1966 and it is 53 degrees. Albert Hintermeister figured it was a good day to oil them up. The job finished, he invited me in to look at his shop – that consists of a kitchen he convinced Lottie she didn’t need, and a few feet he stole from the car in the garage. Here he has ample room to carry out his hobby. Every visitor receives a gift of one of his knick-knacks “unless they come every day” – then he puts a halt to it.

He makes kits for the Vacation Bible School kids to assemble and is already thinking about his year’s possibilities. Also, he was taking the squeak and wiggle out of a chair Bob Dillon had brought in. I observed that it looked like he might be using too long a screw and it was apt to go right through the seat. Nonchalantly, he continued his work and said, “Well, if it does, when Bob sits on it he will know it, and the he will let me know.” Since my advice wasn’t used anyway I left Albert and his dry humor to step in the door to chat with Lottie.

We looked over her healthy houseplants and her piece quilts and then we set to visiting. I found that Albert and Lottie Hintermeister were Illinois natives. Albert was born in Rock Island County on Feb 14, 1882 and Lottie arrived in Mercer County on Oct 9, 1884. They were married 59 years ago on June 12, 1907.

Their son Ralph was born in Illinois and they later moved to Idaho, where they wheat-farmed for five years. They then struck out for Huron, South Dakota to make their fortune. They had some good years and bought a 160-acre farm and improved it with fine buildings. They disaster moved in. Seven straight years of South Dakota drought in the late 20’s and early 30’s wiped out all they had gained in the previous twelve. When people disbelieved the hardships they had suffered they would say, “But you mast have raised something!” And Albert would reply, “We didn’t raise enough to feed one hen!” Lottie’s philosophy is that “something good comes from everything bad”. Every time the going got a little rough after that, she would just remind herself of those seven years and nothing seemed bad at all.

Things got so bad that all people could talk about was who could get the most welfare. She and Albert were certainly not going to raise their children in that environment, so they followed son Ralph’s footsteps and moved to Minnesota in 1934. Lottie said, “We moved onto a farm (now occupied by Bill Onken) we thought was too hilly and we intended to stay only a year. We stayed nine years and loved every minute of it. I was fortunate to have Mrs. Axel Fresk for my friend and neighbor.” The Hadley Study Club was also one of our joys and she always considered it a little bit like going to college. They moved to their present home in Slayton in 1946.

They raised three sons. “We had one in every state we lived in except Minnesota.” Ralph of Avoca was born in Illinois, Larry of Hadley was born in Idaho, and Jack of Slayton was born in South Dakota. They are also blessed with thirteen grandchildren.

Lottie got home from the hospital in January after a serious illness this winter. Her hands are badly cripple by arthritis and she could not use them. She made a vow to write a letter every day to get them going again. “Believe me, it was tough writing that first letter. But each day it got easier and it paid off in big dividends because I heard from people I hadn’t written to in years.” Also it meant she would be able to carry on the round robin letter she and her sisters have had going for 49 years.

I mentioned to Lottie I remembered Albert coming to paint our neighbor’s house in 1955 and how he would come banging and clanking his ladders at 5 am and work till 5 or 6 at night. We all wanted to shout at him that he was too old for those long hours and to come back at a decent hour and let us sleep. She shook her lovely silver-haired head and in her soft-spoken voice said, “I know, but I couldn’t do a thing about it.”

Albert told me, “Lottie and the boys all kept wanting me to retire before I fell off of a ladder and broke a leg. I always told ‘em if I broke a leg, it won’t be from falling off a ladder.” Albert never really intended to prove his point, but he did when he fell of the Larson’s front step and – you guess it – broke his leg. I asked Lottie if his leg doesn’t bother him now. She said, “Of course it does, he just pays no attention to it.” And there is where Albert’s philosophy enters in. “Never admit you’ve got anything wrong with you.”

I asked Lottie if she had been interested in W.S.C.S. “Interested. That was my life.” She and Hazel Staples teamed up for a lot of good times and lots of work (they prepared a dinner for the C & C alone one time) and they taught the Sunday School Classes, too.

Albert spent 29 days at the church in 1961 helping repaint all the Sunday School rooms and Lesley Hall, he reckoned he wouldn’t tackle it the next time around.

Albert is the housekeeper now since Lottie’s illness and remarked it looked like he was doing a good job. “I could do better if I’d try.” And I said, “Don’t you try, Albert?” I got an emphatic, “Indeed not!” Lottie thinks he does fine and she is able to quilt, write letters and enjoy a good visit because her ears, eyes and mind are all keen.

Now that I’ve written this article, I've got some friends whom I hope read it. You see, these friends of ours have chairs that wiggle and squeak like none I’ve ever sat on before. They need Albert. And if they bring them over, Lottie is apt to put the coffee on and they'll all have a good visit.

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© Alan 2017