Albert F. Sondermann
Ferdinand Distinguished Citizens
ALBERT F. SONDERMANN
Albert F. Sondermann is Ferdinand Historical Society's 5th Distinguished Citizen placed in Kundek Corner at Ferdinand Library.
Mr. Sondermann is thus honored and recognized by the society for his efforts in preserving and making known the history of Ferdinand and other nearby communities.
Albert Francis Sondermann was born Oct 21, 1891, at Ferdinand to Joseph A. and Catherine E. (Lueken) Sondermann. His grandfathers were Albert T. Sondermann, who came to Ferdinand in 1856 from Schreibershof, Westphalia, Germany, and Clemens Lueken (the school teacher) who arrived in Ferdinand about 1850 with his parents, originally from Lingen, Hanover, Germany. His grandmothers were Franziska Rademacher from Celestine and Maria Catherine Hoing who was born in Covington, Kentucky.
After graduating from Jasper Academy in 1908, Albert continued his studies at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.
On April 18, 1923, at St. James Catholic Church, Dayton, Ohio, Albert married Gladys C. McNab, born Dec 20, 1892, in Toronto, Canada. They were parents of 6 children – one who died in infancy.
Albert was a partner in the Petson Pump Company of Ferdinand with Theodore Peters. The principal undertaking of Pet - Son Corporation was experimental and the development of new devices for use with liquid and fluid control services. The company designed and made pneumatic water lifts, a double acting patented force pump, patented air and water pressure regulators, a new design of safety valve and self computing liquid dispensing device suitable especially for gasoline curb-service sales. For a picture of Pet-Son pump see page 61 of 1965 "Business Activities in Ferdinand - 1965", the basic principle of interchangeable price-regulating gears, is still in use in gasoline dispensing apparatus used today at gas service stations – the interchangeable self-computing gear function. He also was district manager of Mutual Benefit Life Ins. Co, sales representative and worked for Sondermann Store and Beckmann State Bank. He was an active member of the Ferdinand Chamber of Commerce.
Albert's best known work is the 147 page history he authored in 1965 for Ferdinand's Quasqui-centennial, "Business Activities in Ferdinand." This well-received volume is a perfect complement to Fr. Albrt Kleber's centennial history, "Ferdinand Indiana, 1840-1940."
As Ferdinand was preparing to celebrate its centennial, Albert penned "Quaint Queries: a series of weekly articles (most of which were two or more full columns in length) in The Ferdinand News. These articles highlighted several notable persons of Ferdinand's first 100 years: Brick makers of Ferdinand; Florenz Kitten, inventor of Kitten Engines; Clemens Lueken (the wooden shoemaker); Annie Meyer; Edwin B. Schilling and the early businesses of the community. He also wrote many of the historical items for both the centennial and the quasqui-centennial supplements of The News.
Through the years, numerous historical articles written by Mr. Sonderman were published in The Ferdinand News, including several articles on the Ferdinand Railroad. He also provided the historical background for the 1956 Golden anniversary edition of The News.There exists as well, his manuscript study, "The Negro Community in Dubois County", which details the history of the black settlement, northwest of Ferdinand.
Historical articles in the souvenir editions of The Ferdinand News celebrating the Centennials of Mariah Hill (1957); Schnellville (1965) and Bretzville (1966) were contributed by Mr. Sondermann. The Bretzville centennial booklet, "Settlers of Bretzville in Dubois County" was co-authored by John H. Weber and Mr. Sondermann.
In 1970-1972, Albert extended a warm hospitality and valuable assistance to graduate students of Indiana University as they began their decade long study of the folklore of the area.
Albert F. Sondermann's death occurred Oct 28, 1972. His wife Gladys C. Sondermann died Oct 8, 1976. Both are buried in St. Ferdinand Cemetery.
Albert's love of people and history is a lasting legacy to our community.
Excerpts taken from May 31, 1990 The Ferdinand News and "Business Activities - 1965 by Mr. Sondermann"