Ordinary People from Everyday Life
Gewöhnliche Menschen des täglichen Lebens
John Henry Garmer, Sr. (1-9-1809 to 1-27-1882)-Shoemaker
Johann Heinrich Germer, Sr., was born in Sickte, Duchy of Braunschweig. He earned a Master Shoemakers Diploma from the Shoemaker's Guild of the Duchy of Braunschweig in 1838. Prior to his imigration he lived in Neidersickte, Duchy of Braunschweig. Johann immigrated to Baltimore in 1845 with his wife Dorothea Henriella Wilhelmine Germer and four children, Frederick Christoph, Johnn Heinrich, Jr., Sophia Elizabeth and Amelia. His sons, grandsons and he owned a successful shoe making business at 1808 Eastern Avenu for many years to the turn of the 20th century. He is interred with his wife at the First German Evangelical Church Cemetery (Schwartz Cemetery). The family lived at 504 South Ann Street in Fells Point, which is now the restaurant, Peter's Inn.
Information provided by George Garmer; Baltimore Sunpaper death notices, January 28, 1882
W. H. Garmer (1905-1970)-Firefighter
William H. Garmer was born in Baltimore in 1905, one of five children to John & Katherine Garmer, both first generation Germans. He grew up in Patterson Park and he and his wife, Gladys raised five sons. He joined the Baltimore City Fire Department in 1922 and served Engine Company Number 20 in Walbrook. He began his career in the Fire Department when horses were used to pull the trucks and in his 32 years of service, he missed only three days of work. William Garmer is buried at Loudon Park.
Information courtesy, George Garmer
John W. Garner was born in Baltimore. He was a member of the Baltimore City Police Department from 1899, when he graduated from the academy to his retirement in 1924. He was a foot patrolman in the ‘inner harbor’ neighborhood, which was nothing like it is today.
Information courtesy, George Garmer
Werner Juergensen 1928-2011
Werner Juergensen was born on April 16, 1928 in Westerland on the Island of Sylt.
Werner played in the amateur league with Schleswig-Holstein. He came to the United States in 1952. He met a Ukranian who introduced him to the soccer team with whom he played his first season. During that year, he met many different Germans, among them Eddie Thau. After a discussion about soccer with Eddie in 1953, the Baltimore Kickers Club was created. In the beginning, he served as financial secretary until becoming president from 1964 to 1965.
The highlights of his term in office were instituting the Alcazar Dances, taking part in bringing back the Max Blob team, and securing a clubroom for the Kickers at the Deutsches Haus. Still active in the club, he also held the title of First Vice-President.
Along with wife Irene, who passed away February 8, 2010, they assisted with our popular Schlachtfest, held twice a year. Long-time participants in the Oktoberfest, he and Irene, for many years, chaired a bratwurst stand at our annual German Festival.
Werner and Irene had one daughter. Werner passed away in November 27, 2011.
Rosa Modro (1935)
I was born in 1935, in the city of Nuremberg, Germany. I was the youngest in a family of three girls. My father left soon after I was born and we were raised strictly by our mother. For the first 5 years of my young life I had a fairly happy childhood.
1942 started a new chapter for me, it was my first year of school. Suddenly I became aware that there was a war going on. Everyone was talking about air raids. Because of the imminent attacks we were trained in school about safety rules , behavior and how to proceed to the nearest shelter in case of an air raid. My first experience with such an attack came in the spring of 1943. I was horrified but little did I know what was yet to come. Next to Dresden, Nuremberg was the city with the greatest destruction in Germany. The biggest air raid on the city came on January 2, 1945.Within hours 90% of the old and most beautiful part of the city was destroyed. I lost schoolmates, friends and neighbors and my oldest sister was very badly hurt and never fully recovered from it.
We were very happy when the war finally came to an end, in April of 1945.Nobody thought Germany was ever coming back from all that devastation. Everything was destroyed and lay in ruins and ashes. Food was scares and so was everything else, including my education.
Finally in 1947, I could go back to school and things started looking up for me. Also, food wise! As we lived in the US occupied zone, the US Forces supplied school children daily with a warm meal .Lunchtime didn’t come around fast enough for me.
I graduated in 1952. As it is customary in Germany, I was trying to continue my education with a mandatory 3 year apprenticeship. I was trying very hard to find a place in the commercial sector or where ever else possible. But to no avail! There were to many young people and not enough jobs. So I went to enroll for 1 year of Home Economic School. Following that year, I finally started my apprenticeship. Along with learning your trade, you also attend 3 years of trade school. The pay was very low, approximately $40.00 a month and my income was not exactly great after I finished and past my examination requirements.
In 1956 , I decided to try my luck in Australia. Through friends which had migrated to this continent in 1953 I heard that the Australian Government was looking for workers and would pay for the fare as long as you agreed to stay for at least 2 years. It was a long trip of 6 weeks. Our ship had to sail around the Cape of Horn, since the Suez canal was blocked due to the war between Egypt & Israel, I arrived in Sidney in January of 1957.
I quickly found work with Lever Brothers, a subsidiary of Uniliver and I worked there for my entire stay. I grew very fond of this lovely country with it’s beautiful Beaches, natural Harbor and of course the Australian people. But it was so far from home and I missed my family. So after a stay of 4 years I decided to return home. It was April of 1961.
Once more I was looking for work! But now I was in the command of the English language and I tried to use it to my advantage. I was lucky! The 7th US Army was hiring German people with knowledge of the English language. I applied and was hired. I worked in the office of the 7th US Army QM 106. This time I decided not leave my family again. During my absence things had changed for the better in Germany. The economy had taken off, (Wirtschaftswunder) and there was now plenty of work and a lot of rebuilding going on.
But in 1964 I changed my mind and came to the United States to get married. We lived in Cape Canaveral, Florida for 9 month because my husband’s step-father worked for NASA there. Work was not easy to find, so when he was transferred to Sacramento, California we moved with them. Not much better there, so we came east and settled in Baltimore. We both were working now but he grew more and more restless and decided to reenlist in the army. After training in Ford Brag he was promptly deployed to Vietnam and then Korea. We drifted apart and the marriage ended. For me it was once more decision time.
I had a good job, made friends of my own and grown close to a family I rented from . I had joined a church I was very active in and generally was happy with my life. Germany was not too far away I could go and visit my family when I wanted too. So I decided to stay. Two years after my divorce I met my current husband. We have been married now for 36 1/2 years and still going strong.
After my decision to stay in the USA, I became a naturalized citizen and I am proud of it. When I remarried in 1974 I became a member of the Zion Church of the city of Baltimore. The church, build in 1755 by German emigrants, is the only church left in Maryland today, that still holds a German service on Sunday morning. At one time there were 43 in Maryland. Zion Church still cherishes a lot of German customs and its’ members faithfully keep up some of the traditions. For instance, Sour Beef and Dumpling Dinners in October and the annual Christmas Market the end of November.
I still make trips to Europe to visit my family but I also like to travel in the United States. After all those years living here, I am still mesmerized by the vastness of this country. I would like to see more of it before it is too late to travel.
Frederick L. Riedel (6-23-1928 to 10-4-2010)He was the grandson of German immigrants. He and his wife, Louise (married in 1961) visited relatives in Germany many times. Fred’s father was a fireman, but died when Fred was 5. Since he was old enough to dream, he dreamed of being a fireman like his father.
Fred worked for the Baltimore City Fire Department for 44 years, retiring as a Captain in 1997. He implemented many Fire Prevention programs during his tenure with the County.
He was a Marine reservist and in 1952 was drafted into the Army and served from 1952 to 1954 in the Korean War.
Fred and Louise were parents to Frederick Riedel, III, who also serves in Fire Service.
After he retired, Fred became a Park Ranger at Fort McHenry and worked there for 10 years. He was a member of many German clubs including Club Fidelitas (where he served as their President); the German Society of Maryland (where he served as a Board member); the Deutschamerikanischer Buergerverein von MD; Club Geselligkeit; and Germania Lodge. He a also a member of the Boumi Temple Shrine, the Tall Cedars, the Scottish Rite, the Society for the War of 1812, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Korean War Veterans Association. He was a member of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church. He is interred at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.
Alfred Zeller (5-21-1924 to 2-11-2012)
Alfred Zeller was born on May 21, 1924 in Stuttgart, Germany and immigrated to the United States in 1951. During that year, he married the former Marlene Haupt. They have one son. He played professionally with the Baltimore Rockets and later with the Baltimore Kickers from 1954 to 1965, becoming the Kicker’s president in 1966. He initiated many new ideas for the betterment of the Club. His wife and son were both very active for many years.
Alfred enjoyed playing the accordion on our various bus trips and could be found with instrument in hand and ready for a tunes after soccer practices. He started a band in 1962 called “The Happy Wanderers”. He and the Happy Wanderers were very much in demand and always played to a full house until they disbanded in December 1979. He continued to play at the Schlachtfests, delighting those gathered. In 1998, Alfred was honored with his induction into the Maryland Soccer Association Hall of Fame. The Baltimore Kickers also honored Alfred with a proclamation declaring the clubhouse Game Room as the “Zeller Keller.” Alfred’s wife, Marlene, passed away on July 1, 2002.
Alfred was presented with the German American Heritage Award from the German Society of Maryland in 2010. Alfred passed away on February 11, 2012.