Fri, 2016-12-16 05:00 News Staff
Victor Krempin to celebrate 100 years with friends and family.
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Victor Krempin was born 100 years ago on December 16, 1916 to Walter and Louise Krempin. When he was born, Woodrow Wilson was President of the United States; the U.S. was in the middle of World War I; and Copperas Cove had elected their first mayor just three years prior. In 1916, a loaf of bread cost around $0.07; a gallon of gas cost around $0.15; and a gallon of milk cost around $0.32.
Krempin was born and raised just two miles south of Topsey and eight miles north of Copperas Cove. He grew up on a farm and went to school in Topsey, where he met Wilma Irvine, whom he would later marry. He was the oldest of four boys. He grew up in the Immanuel Lutheran Church, on Lutheran Church Rd, where he was baptized.
His mother’s mother came from Germany as did his father’s mother. They entered Galveston and made their way to Giddings, which is west of Brenham, before wandering up to the Copperas Cove area, he said.
On the farm, they did not have electricity, Krempin said. Studying was done by kerosene light and the cooking and heating were done by burning wood. Krempin said his grandmother bought an area of land solely for the wood on it, and Krempin and his father would take a wagon out to the land to chop and bring home the firewood. His father had a large garden, where he planted as much as 65 to 85 pounds of potatoes. They also had hogs, chickens and cattle. Krempin said that his father didn’t have a tractor but instead used horses and a one-row cultivator, and later acquired a two-row cultivator.
His parents owned a buggy and rode everywhere in the buggy until his father bought a 1924 Chevrolet Touring car and then later bought a 1928 Model A Ford, which Krempin later drove around before getting his own vehicle.
Times were simpler when Krempin was growing up and entertainment was found in the form of playing various games outside and playing basketball or baseball. Krempin enjoyed watching Wilma play basketball.
Krempin had left Central Texas to go to school in Dallas to learn about becoming a mechanic when Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941 and the U.S. entered into World War II.
Just a week later, Victor and Wilma were supposed to be married.
“Well, I called her and told her, ‘Hey I know I’m going to have to go into the Army’,” Krempin said. “I said ‘You wanna go through with this or do you wanna cancel?’ She said, ‘No, we’ve gone this far, we’re going the rest of the way.’ I said, ‘Okay.’”
Krempin tried to join the Air Force later in December but was turned away because they were full. He was finally able to join in March of 1942, when he was sent to San Antonio. He was one of five selected to be deployed to Williams Army Airforce Field in Arizona, just 30 miles from Phoenix. He was happy to be sent out there, with the planes, he said.
“I didn’t want to walk, I wanted to ride,” Krempin said, laughing.
He was in the military for 44 months, from March 1942 until November 1945. Krempin spent 38 of those months in Arizona. After Arizona, he was sent to Amarillo, where he stayed until the war ended. After the war ended, Krempin was sent to Montgomery, Al. where he decided to get out of the military.
It wasn’t until he left the military that he bought his first car, a 1936 Ford, that he drove to Gatesville, Lampasas and around Cove in.
When he came back to Topsey, Krempin went to work at a store in Topsey, that had a finishing station. He worked for $1.00 per day. After some time at that store, he went to work for the Fort Hood Ordinance, where he made $0.97 per hour. He worked on Fort Hood for 13 months before he got a job at the Copperas Cove U.S. Post Office, where he made less than $1.00 per day, but he said he liked their retirement system. He ended up working at the Post Office for 33 years, retiring after 25 years working the window and eight years working on a rural route. Krempin added that he got to the point where he could tell what zones a package was going to just by the states while working at the Post Office.
When he and his wife moved to Cove, their first house only cost $15 per month to rent. They eventually moved into a house on Avenue D before finally settling into the 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom house he still lives in on Oak St in 1962.
Victor and Wilma were married for 66 years before Wilma passed away in 2008 at 90 years old. They had two daughters, Margaret and Donna, who passed away from a brain tumor in 2010. They have three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, Krempin said.
Each time Krempin spoke of his wife, he pointed to her picture on a side table across the room from his rocking Easy chair. He described her as “a good lady,” and said “you couldn’t find anybody better.”
The two married on December 14, 1941, just two days before Victor’s 25th birthday.
“I kept telling the guys, I got a wife for a present,” Krempin said.
After he retired, Krempin said he spent his spare time playing dominoes in Killeen and Lampasas and going out dancing. He took up mowing his neighbors’ yards as well.
At 100 years old, he still does his own cooking and is still driving, he said. He renewed his license about a month ago and it’s valid until 2018, he said.
The last time he went to see his eye doctor, he was told he shouldn’t have any trouble passing the vision test to get his license, he said.
He likes to drive around town but his daughter drives him to his out of town appointments.
Krempin said that he tries to treat everybody nicely, which seems to be working as he said he hasn’t made any enemies in his 100 years of living, and never had any arguments or fights.
There will be a party for Krempin on Sunday, December 18 at Grace United Methodist Church on Ave. F from 2:00 p.m. to 4 p.m.
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