Sunday, February 13, 2011

In Memory of Mr. Omer L. Baumgartner

I'm going to tell you this right now: I have never met Mr. Omer L. Baumgartner. I had never even heard of Mr. Baumgartner until today. Unfortunately, it took his death in order for me to read about what can only be described as an awesome and diverse individual. His obituary stood out to me for many reasons. Some of the key phrases being:

Mr. Baumgartner had lived a long and passionate life dedicated to rambunctious performances and dairy products. (I like that his life was "dedicated" to said rambunctious performances. I've always said, find your niche in life and go with it. Clearly, Mr. Baumgartner heeded my philosophy.)

He was wildly popular with the troops for his mess hours bongo drum performances accompanied by dancing girls. (You don't see many bongo drum performances these days. It really is becoming a lost art.)

Baumgartner disliked vegetables his whole life. (That's my kinda man right there!)

His last meal was ice cream. (Yep. My kinda man.)

His entire obituary is below. I lifted it with neither permission, nor malice, from something called the Register-Mail. I really wish I had known this guy in real life. His family sure was lucky to have him around for 90 years. He seems to be what life is supposed to be all about. I need to start meeting folks like this before they've kicked it. I think it would really help liven things up around here.


AMES, Iowa - Noted Midwestern raconteur Omer L. Baumgartner passed away at this home in Ames, Iowa on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011. He was 90 years old. Mr. Baumgartner had lived a long and passionate life dedicated to rambunctious performances and dairy products. Born on a dairy farm in Walnut, Ill., Baumgartner was prodigious with the movement of manure from an early age, and exercising these and other talents, earned recognition for his National 4-H Grand Champion Dairy Heifer, Clementine's Ramona, in 1930 at the age of 10. After this debut, and as the Depression raged, Baumgartner cut his teeth in the livestock industry while attending hundreds of county and state fairs, showing and selling cattle, frying oysters, skinning rabbits, and drinking whiskey. While still a freshman at the University of Illinois, he successfully quelled the great dairy upraising of 1938, averting a desperate ice cream shortage in Chicago, and was immediately recruited, without finishing college, by the state's Guernsey Breeders Association as a field agent.Despite never learning to cook anything other than fried oysters, Baumgartner attained the rank of captain during World War II for running mess halls feeding over 5,000 in Tennessee and Alabama for the Army Air Corps. He was wildly popular with the troops for his mess hours bongo drum performances accompanied by dancing girls. Baumgartner notably worked for L.S. Heath and Company, running the dairy division and inventing Heath Bar ice cream in 1951. He also co-ran Wilkinson's Office Supplies with his wife Jattie Wilkinson Baumgartner, serving one-third of the state of Illinois and parts of Iowa. Baumgartner disliked vegetables his whole life. Despite consuming more than 2,000 pounds of butter, he never suffered from any kind of heart disease. His last meal was ice cream.Baumgartner is survived by his daughters, Donna Prizgintas in Ames, Iowa, and Mary Baumgartner Levner in Portsmith, Va.; and grandchildren Diana Prizgintas in New Zealand, Jack Levner in New York, Arion Thiboumery in Minnesota, and Stephanie Levner in New York; and great-grandchildren Max Prizgintas and Ada Levner.Memorials may be directed to: Red Oak United Methodist Church, Walnut, Ill. Online condolences may be sent to http://www.grandonfuneralandcremationcare.com/

Stumble Upon Toolbar Sphere: Related Content

5 comments:

Scott Jacobs said...

"Baumgartner notably worked for L.S. Heath and Company, running the dairy division and inventing Heath Bar ice cream in 1951."

HE WHAT???

This is the dude that invented Heath Bar ice cream??

This man was a modern God, and I shall build a shrine in his honor...

Mare said...

Yes! He's definitely shrine-worthy for that accomplishment alone. I concur!

~ Mare

Juliana said...

This guy was awesome, and so is whomever wrote that obit! It kinda made me nervous about what you might write for your mom's obit, when the time inevitably comes....your craiglist ads come to mind for the garage sales....

Anonymous said...

Omer sat in front of my family and me for the past few years every Sunday at church. My 5 year old son loved going up to him and shaking his hand to say good morning. We did not know all of these amazing things about him but just knew how sweet he was along with his daughter who sat there with him. Awesome man and one we will remember in our family forever.

Mare said...

Hey, Anonymous.

You're really lucky to have actually known this man. And your son is really lucky to have been able to shake his hand on multiple occasions. He sounds like he was a fabulous individual. I need more people like him in my life.

Thanks for reading!

~ Mare