News Report Staff

Agnes Brummer can’t remember the names of all her great-grandchildren.

But that’s understandable.

She has 155 of them.

Plus, she has 12 kids, 60 grandkids, and, oh yes, one great-great-grandchild.

And she may get to see virtually every one of them here real soon because they’re all planning to attend a very special event.

You see, Agnes will be celebrating her 100th birthday.

She uses a walker to help get around and experiences some hearing challenges. But she is a kind woman with a sense of humor and a terrific memory. In short, Agnes is “sharp as a tack.”

She was born on June 15, 1918, the third of six children to John and Elizabeth Grunloh, who were farmers in Green Creek. Agnes attended grade school in Green Creek and her first three years of high school in Sigel. She then went to Teutopolis High School for her senior year and graduated from there in 1936. She is the last surviving member of her graduating class.

“We had a good life,” Agnes recalled. “There was always plenty of food and plenty of work, too. Dad had a small dairy farm. I milked every morning and every night, and I didn’t mind at all. It’s just what we did.”

She also remembers being a part of 4-H in grade school and playing games like tag, hide and seek and croquet with the neighbor kids.

She remembers going to ballgames and dances in high school. It was a dance after she was out of high school, however, that provided a life-changing moment for her. That’s where she met Clete Brummer.

“I didn’t know him, but he asked me to dance,” Agnes said with a smile. “Soon after that, we started dating. I never looked at anybody else after I met him. And I don’t think he looked at anyone else either. At least that I know of.”

Clete and Agnes were married October 5, 1940, and spent the next 71 years together until Clete passed away on June 13, 2012.

“He was a good man; a gentle man,” Agnes noted. “When he died, I thought I’d follow him right away. But that didn’t happen. I still miss him.”

They, too, were farmers in the Bishop Creek area. They raised corn, beans and wheat, as well as pigs and cows. They had a small dairy for a few years and then converted to beef cows.

And they had a big family – 12 kids with 18 years separating the youngest and the oldest.

“We planned to have a large family,” Agnes admitted. “We both love children. I know 12 is a lot, but we were happy with each one. There were some challenges with a family that size, and a lot of work. But the kids always helped, beginning when they were little.”

Richard is the oldest at 76 and Lynne (McWhorter) is the youngest at 58. In between, there was Gene, Mary (Thoele), Alice (Drees), Martha (Fearday), Rita (Fearday; deceased), Herman, Tony, Marge (Bierman), Phyllis (Jansen), and Frank.

Each of the kids went to school in Bishop Creek.

“And they always did well in school,” Agnes pointed out.

They had a station wagon, but it was still challenging packing 12 kids inside at once. So on Sundays, they sometimes split up and went to two Masses at St. Aloysius.

Agnes loves to sew. She has made a lot of clothes through the years. She even helped sew some bridal gowns and bridesmaids dresses for her family.

She is also a quilter and has made hundreds of quilts through the years. Most family members have been given a quilt or pillow or both – all made by Agnes.

In 1955, Agnes had another of those life-altering moments. One day, as she was walking to get the mail, she was hit by a truck and was fortunate to survive. An outside mirror hit her in the forehead. She broke one leg and both arms. She still has the scars.

“The doctor said I’d never walk straight or use my one arm again. But I did,” Agnes said. “Clete took care of my physical therapy and the kids helped feed me. I couldn’t feed myself for months. They all took good care of me and I had three babies after that. I’ve always thought that was a miracle from God.”

Agnes is a woman with strong faith. She makes time for prayer every day and prays the rosary once, sometimes twice, each day.

“My faith is very important to me,” she admitted. “I thank God every day for my life. I believe in the Catholic Church. I hope I passed my faith on to my children. I think I did.”

Today, the kids take turns bringing her meals and spending a part of each day with her. She goes to Mass every morning and visits with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren often. She also likes it when they come to her house and play Pinochle.

“I’ve had a good life,” Agnes said. “I’m healthy. I don’t walk very well and have to use a walker. I’m slow, but steady. And I have a strong heart. I couldn’t have lived this long without that.”

She loves her family and is really looking forward to seeing them all Saturday at the family birthday celebration. Approximately 300 family members are expected to attend the party at the old home place in Bishop Creek. Despite being spread out all across the United States, the family is hoping for a near 100 percent turnout.

Then on Sunday, June 24, an open house in her honor will follow the 8 a.m. Mass at St. Aloysius. The reception will be in the Bishop Parish Hall and last until 11 a.m. The public is invited.

“My family is so good to me,” Agnes said. “God has been good to me, too. I know one of these days He will call me home. How much longer will that be? I’ll leave that up to God.”