Kremer celebrates 100 years of life
WORTHINGTON — Clarence Kremer turns 100 years old today, and he’s pretty happy about it.
“I can’t believe it myself,” he often likes to say.
Kremer can’t believe a lot of things. He can’t believe how well he walks with his artificial knees, how much hair he still has and how pain-free his hands are.
“These gosh darn things still work good,” he said, flexing his hands. “I ain’t got an ounce of pain in them or nothing. I don’t know how, because I used to pick 150 bushels of corn a day by hand, and I got four cents a bushel for them, too.”
Above all, Kremer can’t believe how good life has been to him. He still lives in his own house along Lake Okabena in Worthington, and although he’s outlived most of the friends and loved ones he grew up with, Kremer still remembers his favorite moments with them.
Kremer was born into a farming family on May 5, 1918 in Mott, N.D. His parents, Bernard and Caroline, decided the area was too dry to grow crops and moved to Wilmont, then later to a farm north of St. Kilian.
The oldest of four siblings and three brothers, Kremer was one of eight kids attending school in St. Kilian. He recalls driving a horse and buggy four miles to school, picking up the neighbors along the way.
After finishing eighth grade, Kremer stayed at the farm to help his father. As a 23-year-old, when his brothers Ivan, Ervin and Milfred went off to fight in World War II, Kremer was asked once again to stay behind and farm, as he was the oldest and most experienced.
Kremer and his parents moved to a farm near Iona later that year. While driving down Main Street in Iona one day, Kremer saw a young woman walking down the street. She waved at him, and he waved back. That was the start of nearly 65 years of marriage with Dolores Entinger, better known by her nickname “Dorie.”
“I’ll tell you, you’re never going to find a better lady than what she was,” Kremer said.
The two moved to a farm located north of Reading. They farmed thousands of acres, all while raising hogs, cattle and 2,500 hens.
While Kremer was out working hard on the farm, Dorie was toiling away in the kitchen, preparing food for the dozens of workers on the farm and the Kremers’ four kids.
“They were no trouble at all,” Kremer said. “I never did anything, she did it all.”
Clarence and Dorie got along well. They rarely got into arguments, mostly because Dorie wouldn’t allow it.
“I’ll never forget, I’d probably argue with her a little bit, but she’d turn around and not even say a word to me,” Kremer said. “So that was it.”
Kremer learned to farm the hard way — with a couple of horses and a two-row planter. But he wasn’t afraid of trying new things.
In a July 15, 1963 feature story in the Daily Globe, Kremer was described as a farming innovator. The article states he was one of the first farmers in the area to adopt six-row planting, and the first to use chemicals, such as atrazine, to kill weeds. Still, Kremer never expected farming to become what it is today.
“Everything changed so much; it’s unbelievable how much it’s changed,” Kremer said. “Now you push a button and it does it all by itself.”
Kremer eventually moved to Worthington in 1974 for one simple reason. He was tired to taking the dirt road to church in Wilmont, and the oiled road to Worthington was much nicer.
“I said to heck with that noise!” Kremer said.
In Worthington, Kremer attended St. Mary’s Church, and helped pay for the construction of a new building. He helped pay for the church’s bells, which still ring to this day.
Kremer has lived in his house along the lake for around four decades. Every winter since 1983, he and Dorie would take trips to Harlingen, Texas. Kremer sold this house this year.
In 2006, within a month of the Kremers’ 65th anniversary, Dorie passed away. Kremer’s brothers have all died, and his younger sister, Beverly Schreier, currently lives in Slayton.
Kremer likes to stay busy. He enjoys hang out with his local family members and taking his boat out on the Missouri River for some fishing. He still engages in physical activities — a few weeks ago, he shoveled April snow off of his porch.
“The darn stuff wouldn’t melt, so I got the scoop shovel and scooped it off,” Kremer said.
Kremer’s son Loren and grandson Rob now farm around 4,000 acres on the farm near Reading. Kremer is a frequent visitor, and enjoys going for a ride in the tractor.
“I’m still farming, I never really never quit!” Kremer said with a laugh.
Kremer will celebrate 100 years today in Iona with friends and family.