Demuth fostered bridge between Worthington and Crailsheim, Germany

Former mayor of Worthington to be remembered in Wednesday morning service following his Aug. 7 death at age 94.

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Bob Demuth is shown with Crailsheim, Germany Oberburgermeister Dr. Christoph Grimmer during Grimmer's visit to Worthington in 2019 for King Turkey Day. The sign behind them is a replica of that which marks a street in Crailsheim. (Special to The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — An ambassador, a perfect gentleman, a friend to many, a diplomat — these were all words used to describe former Worthington mayor Bob Demuth following his death on Aug. 7, at the age of 94.

Demuth was a faithful supporter of Worthington, proven by his two stints as the city’s mayor, from 1967 to 1971, and again from 1986 to 2003, as well as two years on the Worthington City Council and one four-year term as Nobles County Commissioner from 1973 to 1977.

An independent insurance agent in Worthington from 1957 until his retirement in 1992, Demuth supported numerous community functions. As mayor, he initiated the King Turkey Day Mayor’s Luncheon, as well as the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, and was key in forming a local Minority Awareness Committee and the Worthington Area Foundation.

Demuth was also much loved by Worthington’s sister city, Crailsheim, Germany, where he was given the title, Honorary Citizen, in 2002. Two years later, the city of Crailsheim dedicated a street in his honor, Bürgermeister-Demuth-Allee.

Demuth and his late wife, Betty, represented Worthington in their visits to Crailsheim nine times, and also hosted Crailsheim guests to Worthington numerous times. In 1980, they were host to Crailsheim exchange student Johannes “Hannes” Feuchter.


Feuchter shared his memories of Demuth — a man he viewed as a second father — in an email to The Globe last week.

“Within (the Demuth) family I felt like a son and brother, not only like a guest,” he shared. “Being treated like a son can also bring some disadvantages, especially when you are a little wild as I was.”

Describing Demuth as the head of the family with a loving heart, strict but objective and fair-minded, tolerant to others, and having a big sense of humor, Feuchter appreciated the family taking him in as an 18-year-old student and celebrating Christmas in such a way that he didn’t feel homesick. He also mentioned their many travels during his stay with the family, and how he lost a $5 bet with Demuth when they wagered on who would become the next U.S. president in the 1980 election.

“(I also remember) driving the motorcycle in the backyard every day after school until Betty said that I have to quit that because there was no grass left anymore,” Feuchter said. “There is more to tell, but some things that happened at Demuths just stay at Demuths.”

After returning to Crailsheim from his one-year exchange student experience, Feuchter said he remained in contact with Demuth, always calling Bob and Betty on Christmas Eve. His last visit was in 2007, for Bob’s 80th birthday. Still, they remained in contact through FaceTime.

“I am very proud that they saw me as their second son,” Feuchter said. “I have the same feeling. For me, Bob Sr. was and still is like my real Dad (who passed in 1990) and I will remember him until my time has come.”

Bob and Betty Demuth had five children of their own, and son Bob Jr., who followed in his dad’s footsteps in the insurance business, and then as a public servant as a current Nobles County Commissioner, said, “Dad was an ambassador, ambassador, ambassador for the city of Worthington and the surrounding area.”

The elder Demuth had many opportunities to promote Worthington as president, secretary and vice president of the Minnesota Mayors Association, as well as president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities during his tenure as Worthington’s mayor.


Lyle TenHaken served on the Worthington City Council for a few years while Demuth was mayor. He will remember Demuth for his encouragement to get involved in community leadership.

“The thing that stands out to me is everyone knew Bob and he was really highly respected,” TenHaken said. “When I said I was from Worthington, the name Bob Demuth surfaced real quick. He was such a man of integrity. He was a diplomat in the finest sense of the word.”

Garnet Burns served as Worthington’s City Clerk from 1980 to 1999, working closely with Demuth as she took notes at council meetings and other board and commission meetings.

“He was always a perfect gentleman and he had a good sense of humor,” Burns shared. “He was really nice to work for. Quite often he’d check in once a day — and that was good because he needed to know what was going on.”

Burns said she will remember Demuth for his personality.

“He really enjoyed Worthington and he had Worthington’s best interest at heart,” she said. “He knew a lot of people and he set a good example — a good work ethic.”

While Mike Woll didn’t have the opportunity to serve with Demuth, he would be visited by the former mayor with words of encouragement after being elected to the city council.

“He would encourage doing the right thing,” Woll recalled. “He was a man of honor. He was a mentor to many.”


Dr. Christoph Grimmer, Oberbürgermeister (Mayor) of Crailsheim, first met Demuth on his 2019 visit to Worthington for King Turkey Day. He said the city will “keep him and his merits with gratitude in good memory,” and was grateful to have met him and “experience his openness, his humor and his heartiness.”

“In the spirit of Theodora Cashel and Martha McCarthy, (Demuth) was a guarantee for the existence and growth of our connection,” shared Dieter Kainzinger, who first met Demuth in the 1980s. “Being open to other cultures and having common values is an important step in peaceful coexistence in this world beyond borders. In terms of the sister cities of Worthington and Crailsheim, Bob left us a precious legacy. I am grateful for his friendship.”

And Carola Schnabl, a 1985 Crailsheim exchange student to Worthington who developed a 35-year friendship with the Demuth family, shared her deepest sympathy. She spoke with Demuth via phone just hours before his death.

“He told me in this phone call how much this city partnership between Worthington and Crailsheim meant for him in his life,” Schnabl shared. “His endeavor was always to bring the people of both cities together.”

A memorial service will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Worthington. Burial, with military rites, will be in St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery.

Bob Demuth

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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