Family members and a circle of friends cultivated in Cape Coral over the past four decades are planning to gather on Saturday to celebrate the 100th birthday of Ben Herman.
Herman and his wife, Sara, relocated to Cape Coral in the late 1960s when Ben retired from his U.S. Government job as a deputy director of the National Records and Archives office in Chicago.
They moved to Cape Coral when he retired and bought one of the early lots on the (Caloosahatchee) river," said Herman's son, also named Ben. "They built their new home there and they blossomed socially. They were very active in the church and interacted with many people."
The elder Herman was a boater and avid fisherman and golfer. Sara was an avid sheller. They were known to head out on the water and Ben would fish while Sara would scour for shells.
Ben was born on March 29, 1914, in Oklahoma. He started his professional life as a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in Oklahoma. He later got a job in the Federal Government in charge of supporting savings and war bonds. He served as a forward artillery observer in the U.S. Army during World War II in Germany. Being on the front lines meant Ben engaged in a lot of combat before his discharge after the war ended.
During his 100th birthday celebration set for Saturday, Hospice will give a presentation acknowledging Ben's military service.
"He traveled the country and internationally speaking on the topic of the national archive," said the younger Herman, who will fly in from Chicago to attend the party. "Even after he retired he traveled all over giving speeches."
Ben and Sara lived in Washington, D.C., while he was with the National Archive before moving to the Chicago office. They celebrated their 77th wedding anniversary last fall in Cape Coral. Sara recently passed away in February. Ben, who suffers from mild dementia, sill lives in his Cape Coral dream home with 24-hour caregivers.
Ben has always enjoyed being around his family, his three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.