Muscatine County, Iowa


HENRY WILDASIN, 1855 – 1962

Submitted by Lenore Schlimmer, on April 30, 2011

Source of Article: “Morning Democrat”, Davenport, Iowa. Publication date unknown.

WILTON JUCTION, Ia. - He was born when Franklin Pierce was president, has always had a keen interest in society and politics, yet never saw a president of the country until last year. The man is Henry Wildasin, retired banker and real estate man here, who last week celebrated his 98th birthday here with an open house, greeting all visitors with a smile an twinkle of his eye.

Henry was born Oct. 22, 1855, just a few miles south of what is now Wilton Junction, and was going on six years old when Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated.

He was born a Democrat but during his life span has voted for eight Republican presidential candidates. During that time 15 men have been elected president, two for two terms in succession, and one for four terms.

LAST YEAR, when General Eisenhower’s campaign train went through here, Henry got his first look at a man who became president.

As a youth, he went to Philadelphia to a big celebration and went by the way of Washington to see Pres. Ulysses S. Grant. But no luck. “He was out of town to some watering place,” Henry explained last week.

Wildasin can run back through the years with his keen memory and evaluate the presidents. He thinks Grover Cleveland, who had two terms, but not in sucession, was a “pretty good president.” Then like a lot of men who lived through that era, He will tell you that “Teddy Roosevelt was quite a president too.” His eyes light up and he chuckles when he thinks of Teddy.

TODAY HE follows politics through TV and newspapers. He is particularly fond of TV shows which have newsmen on panels and which bring national politicians to him. He likes TV, but thinks that the blood, gore and rough stuff many children’s shows are made of should not be on the air.

Henry is not a man who sat back and let progress pass him by. He drove cars from 1910 until he no longer could trust his eye sight. And he once rode an airplane over Chicago. He enjoyed the ride, but didn’t like the bumpiness caused by the turbulent air from the city and lake.

He was married Oct. 5, 73 years ago and he and his wife raised three daughters. One daughter lives with him now in a spacious well kept house here.

Twice Henry was candidate for state senator, and twice he “was gloriously defeated.” So he got out of politics.

Running back through the years he recalled that the fall of 1871 was summery like the present one. “I HUNG MY boots on the wagon and walked along barefooted picking corn.” said Henry.

He is extremely active and firm of limb and handshake, a bit hard of hearing, but has a very keen mind. He can’t stand inactivity. He likes “to get outside and kick around. I spade in the garden even if it doesn’t need it.” he explained.

He has temperate habits, he credits his long life span to other powers. Although born a Lutheran of Pennsylvania Dutch parentage, he now is a member of the Evangelical and Reformed Church here.

He would like to see 100 years but he explained in a humble patrician way: “Somebody else higher than I am will decide whether or not I live to be 100.”

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Source of Article: “Wilton Advocate”, Wilton, Iowa, Thursday, May 3, 1962

Henry Wildasin of Wilton, believed to be Iowa’s oldest resident, died at the nursing home in Wilton, Saturday. Wildasin would have been 107-years-old October 20th. The well-known Wilton resident had been active until the last year and until the new post office was built two years ago, could be seen daily walking to the post office to get his mail in all kinds of weather.

Two years ago he was the grand marshal of the annual Wilton Parade and until he fell last summer maintained his own lawn and flower garden. Area residents were amazed to see Wildasin working in his lawn or garden at the age of 105 and could often be seen raking as early as 5:30 a.m.

While he was living he credited going to bed earlier as one of the reasons for his longevity. He said he was usually in bed by 8 p.m. and arose at about 5 a.m.

He was interested in community, state and national affairs despite his advanced age and his daily ritual included listening to radio newscasts and having his daughter, Miss Irma Wildasin, read him the local and daily newspapers.

Wildasin was in good health until he fell in his garden last summer, but his health began to fail after that incident until he had to be hospitalized this winter.

During his earlier years, Wildasin was associated with the bank in Wilton and became well known throughout the area as a clerk at farm sales. He later was secretary of the White Pigeon mutual Insurance Association before he retired. He drove his own car until he was 97 years old and appeared much younger than his actual age until the last year or so.

Funeral services were held at Grace United Church of Christ, Tuesday, with Rev. Joseph Mayer officiating. Burial under the direction of Gill Memorial Home, was in Oakdale Cemetery. Mrs. Albert Gregory was organist. Vocalists were Mrs. Harry Fliss, Mrs. Clarence Lenker and Mrs. Edward Windman.

Mr. Wildasin is survived by two daughters. Mrs. Hattie Mason and Miss Irma Wildasin, both of Wilton; four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by two brothers, two sisters, his wife and one daughter.

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