Bert Iseminger Sr. saw the world, settled in Funkstown

October 17, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail will run "A Life Remembered." The story will take a look back - through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others - at a member of the community who died recently. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about Bertrand Lee Iseminger Sr., who died Oct. 7 at the age of 90. His obituary appeared in the Oct. 9 edition of The Herald-Mail.

A living legacy may be the greatest gift a person can leave behind. In the case of Bertrand Lee Iseminger Sr., he doubled his contribution.

"I learned the importance of preservation of the land from my father early in my life," said his son, Bert Iseminger Jr., an insurance agent who served one term as a Washington County commissioner. "Those lessons were remembered when I was on the Washington County Planning Commission."

His daughter, Ruth Ann Iseminger, recently completed a 30-year career as an agent with the Division of Parole and Probation in Washington County.


"Dad taught me that nobody was too good or not good enough," she said, advice that served her well during her dealings with many different people in her job.

Bert Iseminger Sr. died Oct. 7 at the 23 Frederick St. home in Funkstown where he lived for more than 45 years. A Funkstown native who traveled the world during a 22-year military career, he was 90.

"We met in Italy, married there and honeymooned on the Isle of Capri," said Ruth Iseminger, his wife of 57 years. "He was in the U.S. Army and I was an Army nurse."

A Pennsylvanian by birth, Ruth then followed her husband to Munich, Germany, where their first child, Bert Jr., was born in 1949.

Back in the United States for stints at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., the couple's second child, Ruth Ann, was born there. A short time later, the Iseminger family went back to Germany.

"I attended kindergarten in Munich," Bert Jr. said. Later, Ruth and her two children returned to Funkstown while Bert Sr. was serving a tour of duty in post-war Korea.

The family was reunited in 1959 when Bert Sr. retired from the military. The home he returned to in Funkstown was next door to his 1914 birthplace at 23 Frederick St.

"There were cows and chickens here," Bert Jr. said. "It was a little old farm back when the Town of Funkstown was just the main street."

Ruth said the house was in pretty bad shape when she and her husband bought it around 1960. But she enjoyed the years of fixing it up and watching her children grow up there.

"I've always liked it here. I'm from a small town in Pennsylvania," she said.

Though the family moved around a lot when the children were young, Ruth said she enjoyed that.

"It's an advantage to be in the military life," she said.

Bert Jr. said his father saw a lot of the world and that had a positive effect on him growing up.

"Dad always told us to try new things, whether it be food or customs, etc.," he said. "Both my sister and I have always appreciated other cultures for that reason."

After Bert Sr. retired from the military in 1959, he worked at Mack Trucks for a short time, then ran a popular car wash in the Long Meadow Shopping Center.

"Over the years, he counseled a lot of kids who worked there," Bert Jr. said.

His last job before his civilian retirement was as a courier and school banking coordinator for the former First National Bank, Bert Jr. said.

Ruth Ann said she spent a lot of time in the back yard of the family home with her father, who had a lifelong love of nature and animals, domesticated and wild.

"He taught me how to feed chipmunks and squirrels," Ruth Ann said. "The trick was to go slow and gain their trust."

Bert Jr. said that philosophy was a reflection of how gentle and kind his father was in all aspects of his life.

It was Bert Sr.'s wish that memorial donations be made to The Humane Society of Washington County, 13011 Maugansville Road, Hagerstown, MD 21740.

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