Herbert Engel of Berrien Springs died Saturday morning, Feb. 17, 2018, at home, one day short of his 111th birthday.
Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, at Arden United Methodist Church, where he was a member. Friends may visit at the church from 11 a.m. until service time. Burial will be in Spring Run Cemetery. Online messages www.allredfuneralhome.com.
Herbert was born Feb. 18, 1907, in Borgardt, a small farm village on the east side of Volga River in Russia, to Solomon and Maria Engel. After the death of his mother, he and his siblings obtained permission to leave Russia on March 23, 1923. So began his journey to the United States to join his father and oldest brother who were in Chicago already. First he traveled to Moscow, then took a passenger ship and spent six days on Ellis Island, then caught a train to Chicago where he joined his father. Herbert wasted no time starting a new life and at the age of sixteen, he got a job working for Western Electric assembling phone switchboards. While traveling with Brotherhood Band for a conference in Michigan, he met his future wife Amelia, whom he married on Sept. 8, 1929. He purchased a farm in Berrien Springs where he eventually grew grapes for Welch’s. He started working for the 1900 Company which eventually became Whirlpool Corporation. He became a toolmaker and worked there for 42 years and retired in 1972.
After retiring, he stayed active making numerous grandfather clocks, wall clocks, roll desks, chairs, cabinets, and cedar chests for family and friends. Each summer he enjoyed working in his vegetable garden. He was the oldest living member of AHSGR (American Historical Society Germans from Russia) and one of the founders of the group in SW Michigan.
Survivors include two sons, Herbert and Richard; four daughters: Helen Metzger, Esther Engel, Edna Golladay, Jannette Engel; 11 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; and 7 great-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Amelia; brothers, Henry and Andrew; sisters, Paulina and Theodora; one grandchild; daughter-in-law, Jane Engel; and son-in-law, Harold Metzger.