Nebraska GenWeb Project
Nebraska City News Press Sunday, January 7, 1940; page 1, column 8
STATE'S OLDEST GROCER IS DEAD
Val Felthauser, 88, Dies After Illness Of Several Months Valentine Felthauser, 88, the oldest grocer in the state of Nebraska and Nebraska City's oldest merchant - both in age and years of service - died at his home here Saturday afternoon at 1:25 o'clock.
Mr. Felthauser had been ill for several months with a kidney condition and complications. As late as his 88th birthday on June 28, however, he was actively at work in his garden and in his store near the foot of Kearney Hill.
Half Century in Same Store Mr. Felthauser - Val to all who knew him - became a grocery clerk in 1865, working for his room and board. A few years ago he was beaten out by the narrow margin of two years in the search for the oldest grocer, in point of service, in the United States. Of Mr. Felthauser's 74 years in the grocery business, 60 of them have been in business for himself. He was in the same location in Kearney Addition for a half century. Mr. Felthauser was remarkable for his age, until his recent illness made him bedfast. He read ordinary newspaper print without glasses, conversed intelligently on current topics, and always was a willing and pleasant talker when reporters called on him. He recalled, in an interview on his 88th birthday last summer, that he has served three generations in his store and has called on fourth generations not yet old enough to buy candy over his counter.
Came Here In 1856 The Kearney merchant was born June 28, 1851, in Allegheny, PA, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Felthauser. He came to Nebraska in 1856, after having been in Rockport, MO with his parents for a short time. They settled on a farm here. The elder Felthauser died of cholera, and as a youngster Valentine went to work for the Peter Rodenhaus grocery on Central avenue in Nebraska City. In 1880 he bought the store in which he first worked. July 5, 1883, he was married to Katherine Clarence, who died November 8, 1934. He was a member of the German Lutheran church.
Surviving are these children: Flora and Harry, Nebraska City; Mrs. Jessie Bauman, Cedar Rapids, IA; Mrs. V. J. Koelsch, Lockland, Ohio, and Mrs. Charles Dickenman, Beatrice. Deceased children are Henry, Lena and Valentine. A number of nieces and nephews also survive.
Funeral services will be held Monday at 2:30 o'clock at the Fassbender funeral home with Rev George Duensing of Bethel Evangelical church in charge. Pallbearers will be six nephews, Ed, George, Joe and Val Crume; Earl Holmes and Will Thompson. Burial will be at Wyuka. The body is lying in state at the Fassbender funeral home.
Submitted by: Claire Kowalick <WhelanC@timesrecordnews.com> 23 Dec 2011
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