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|Joe Reinart, 99, Keeps His Voting Record Intact
By Barbara Tomka
Joe Reinart, 99, cast his first ballot about 78 years ago. He
hasn't missed voting in an election since.
A resident of St. Anthony Nursing home here, Reinart was one of 12 children born to Matt Reinart and the former Susan Friedman. He was born on, a farm near Roselle July 16, 1873.
"I didn't get much schooling," Reinart said.
"They didn't have schools the first years after I was born. When
they did get schools, they didn't have teachers. When they finally got
the teachers, they spoke in German because the whole countryside was
German then. I did learn my A,B,C's though. But when I was 15 years old
my school career was over," Reinart recalled.
Reinart decided to work at the elevator in Halbur rather than rent the farm the next year.
"I started the job at Halbur getting $40 per month" he recalled. On Sept. 25, 1898 he married Kate Olbertz from Mt. Carmel. "We had four children while I was working at the elevator and I was getting $45 a month then. You can't support a wife and four children on $45 a month so I quit," Reinart explained.
"In 1910 we bought our first car, a Warren. It ran real
well but we traded it off for another car."
One of his .proudest achievements is the fact that he sent all eight of his children through grade and high school. The children would walk to and from school every day. Carroll was a city of about 3,000 persons then, according to Reinart. The north side of the town extended to where St. Lawrence Church is now. The area around where St. Anthony Regional Hospital is located was all orchards. Saturday night the Reinart children would usually go to one of the 10-cent movies that were playing at the two local theaters.
While the older children were in high school Reinart decided to go
into the dairy business. They raised Holstein cows and used a Ford truck
to deliver the milk to Carroll every day. The income from his dairy herd
wasn't as high as he anticipated.
Farming procedures in the county have markedly changed in Reinart's lifetime. "When I was a kid, about six or seven years old, we planted all the corn by hand. My dad would put it in the rows and I would cover it up. It was all walking then. I used horses most of the time while farming. During the last years I bought a small tractor but we never got into the high machinery business," he stated. His wife died in 1950 and he sold his farm in 1955 and moved into St. Anthony Nursing Home when it opened in May, 1963.
Because his legs aren't as strong as they used to be, Reinart doesn't get outside as much as he'd like to. "Last year I'd go to church every morning and go to town and play cards once in awhile but my legs are weak and I just walk around the building. I got a cane to protect myself from falling."
To help him celebrate his 99th birthday this year, all eight of his children and their spouses including Mr. and Mrs. Douglas (Viola) Schleisman, Iowa City; Mr. and Mrs. Wade (Isabel) Presnell, Scranton; Mr. and Mrs. Gene Reinart, Davenport; Mr. and Mrs. LeRoy Reinart, Lanesboro; Mr. and Mrs. Art Reinart, Carroll; Mr. and Mrs. H. L. (Lucille) Davis, Omaha; Mr. and Mrs. Edgar (Alita) Snyder, Breda; Mr. and Mrs. C. J. (Lucinda) Ocken, Des Moines and 21 of his 31 grandchildren and 17 of his 29 great-grandchildren held a picnic in his honor.
"We had a big party this year," Reinart said,
"but next year will be the biggest ever."
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