MILWAUKEE — He’s lived through 19 U.S. presidencies, two World Wars, two appearances of Halley’s Comet and much more.On March 8, Alexian Village resident, Alphons “Al” Hinnenkamp celebrated his 108th birthday!
Born in 1904, in a log cabin in the woods of Melrose, Minn., Hinnenkamp was the oldest of 11 children born to German immigrants. Today, only he and a sister are still living.
After leaving the farm at age 25 for Milwaukee at the beginning of the Great Depression, Hinnenkamp found a job filling milk cans for 35 cents an hour.
He later worked at Pabst Brewing Company and was once a strong bowler for the Pabst team.
He married Florence Finley May 31, 1941, and the couple had one daughter, Diane Roethe. They have two grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Florence died in March 2004 at age 96 – just after Hinnenkamp turned 100.
While Hinnenkamp doesn’t bowl or dominate the pool table as he once did at the Washington Park Senior Center, he still gets his daily exercise by walking the halls of Village Square while listening to headphones tuned to sports talk.
When asked the secret to a long life, Hinnenkamp answered, that he never smoked and he always came home from work every day sober – something that most men who worked at the breweries did not.
Each birthday, Hinnenkamp admitted he looks forward to one gift from his sister. She sends him a check in the amount of his age each year on his birthday. When asked if it’s those checks and their rising amounts that have kept him living so long, he laughed and said, “doesn’t hurt.”
Compiled with information provided by Pam Schlenvogt, Alexian Village.