Grand marshal for the 2018 Popcorn Day Festival is long-time Hamburg resident Martin Goracke.
Martin was born on the family farm in St. Mary’s, Neb., on July 15, 1918 (100 years old!)
His parents only spoke Polish to him and his five brothers and one sister.
As he continued his schooling to seventh grade in a Catholic school, he learned English on his own.
In 1933, he made his way to Hamburg where he helped shuck corn by hand for area farmers. His wage was $1 a day.
When he wasn’t working on the farm, he worked for Interstate Batteries.
He began farming with horses and mules. When he retired in 1980, he was using tractors and combines.
Martin worked for many farmers in the community, including Hollis Wingate, Bill Morgan, Arnold Rossean, and Richard Hopkins.
He also farmed for Bill and Annie Pfannkuch for 23 years and raised hogs.
During World War II, the draft board called him up three times, but each time he was exempt because he was needed on the farms.
Martin was married to Florence Dovel in August 1939. They had two children, Larry and Lois. They have six grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren, and two great great grandchildren.
Martin is a member of Hamburg St. Mary’s Catholic Church, and for 38 years he climbed the stairs to ring the church bells in the tower.
There have been many changes in Hamburg since Martin came to the community.
Besides the changes in farming, he remembers at one time there were three grocery stores, two butcher shops, two banks, dry goods stores, several implement and car dealers, a bakery, cafes and seven barber shops.
Florence passed away several years ago, and Martin still lives in his own home on Golden Acres.
He still mows his own yard and keeps his mower in good condition.
He takes pride in the flowers he plants because Florence always had flowers. Besides keeping the outside looking nice, he does inside housework and most of his own cooking.
When asked to what he attributes his long life, he said, “Hard work and keep moving! You can’t sit on the couch and look out the window. Keep moving!”