A man, and a milestoneThere comes a time in a man’s life that he attains a status that doesn’t apply to every man. The person in this column is not just any man — he’s Hardy Rickbeil (Hardy to all of us), who will reach 100 years on Saturday.
By: Al Swanson, Daily Globe Historical Columnist, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — There comes a time in a man’s life that he attains a status that doesn’t apply to every man. The person in this column is not just any man — he’s Hardy Rickbeil (Hardy to all of us), who will reach 100 years on Saturday.
Hardy came to Worthington in 1920, when he was 12 years old. What was to be the future, the center of this man? That it might be business could have been evident from the tale told of his first business venture.
Once upon a time, there were a great number of frogs around the wetlands of Lake Okabena. Hardy and a friend would catch about 100-200 at one time. They skinned out the legs and sold them for 25 cents a dozen. They had regular customers and sold them every week. But the business folded. The frogs disappeared after the wetlands were drained.
There might have been other businesses, but I don’t have any knowledge of that. This teenager graduated from Worthington High School and entered the University of Minnesota in a liberal curriculum. When his father suffered a nervous breakdown, he was obliged to come to help. It could not have been easy, particularly for a young man who really wanted an education, but Hardy made it go.
Hardy Rickbeil helped make Worthington a place to work in; Hardy helped make it an ideal place to live. Hardy became, at one time or another, part of a dozen local organizations or activities. He didn’t just join, but he became a working member.
One of these organizations in Worthington is Kiwanis. There are three Kiwanis clubs in Worthington whose purpose is supporting children. There is the original noon club, the Early Risers club and the Golden K, for the “somewhat elderly.” Hardy is an “honorary” member and attends as many meetings as he can fit into his busy life.
Make a visit to Hardy’s rooms in The Meadows. The boxes stacked around, the shelves full, the pictures and awards on the walls show you what kind of a man he was — and is — as he reaches 100 years of living. How many of us will make it?
Read Beth Rickers’ feature on Hardy Rickbeil in Saturday’s Daily Globe.