Ted Hochhalter Celebrates 106th Birthday

TR Staff
Staff Writer

By Ellie Boese
Theodore “Ted” Hochhalter was born in a sod house on February 7, 1913, on a farmstead in Grant County. After the day Ted came into the world, as the third child and first son, his family grew to include 12 children, 4 step-children and one half-sibling.
On February 7, 2019, Ted celebrated his 106th birthday with friends and family in Valley City.
The farm where he was born was recently named a Centennial Farm, official recognition of its being continuously owned and operated by the same family for 100+ years.
As a boy, Ted went to grade school for 8 years and helped his father on the farm. After beginning with 5 horses and a 2 bottom plow when he was 9, Ted found himself serving as a designated driver of a 1924 Essex at age 11, after his dad found that the car didn’t stop when he said “Whoa.” He went on driving for another 85 years, trading cars at the age of 92.
Ted’s father gave him $200 when he was 18 to travel to Los Angeles and attend radio school. He had a glamorous journey out to the West Coast, hitching a ride with a few other guys in the back of a fruit truck. He completed school and built a radio, but the longing to return to the prairie never left him. In November of 1935, Ted married his sweetheart, Bertha. That next year, they and a few other family members moved to Yakima, WA, in search of work during the Great Depression. Ted found employment in the orchards thinning and picking fruit while Bertha worked at Libby’s Cannery. Later, Ted got a job in construction, working to construct the Roza Dam on the Yakima River. While he was working there, he was injured during a dynamite blast and spent many weeks afterward in the hospital recovering from a concussion.
Bertha and Ted welcomed their first son, Harvey, in 1940 before returning to North Dakota to farm, something he’d loved from the very day he started as a boy.
Their second son, Lane, was born at Elgin, ND, in 1952.
Four of Ted’s siblings are still living, all of whom reside in ND. Otto is 96, is Luella 94, Lillian is 90 and Carol is 80.
Ted and Bertha’s son Harvey and his wife Carol live in Valley City and have 3 children and 5 grandchildren: Deanna (Hal) Weiser who live in Jamestown, ND, their son Landon who graduated from NDSU May 2018 and Carter, a sophomore at NDSU.
Their son Lane was blessed with a son, Preston, who lives in Mesa, AZ with his wife Lindsay and daughter Paige. Lane passed away in Mesa in 1995.
Dr. David and wife Diane Hochhalter live in Valley City and have three children, Theodore (Teddy), Leah and August.
Scott Hochhalter is an Assistant Director of Admissions and instructor at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
Though he’s seen over a century of changes, one of his favorite memories remains rooted on that farmstead where he was born, going to church on Sundays, listening to his dad read daily devotions and praying the Lord’s Prayer with the whole family.

Submitted Photo
Siblings (l-r): Lillian (90), Otto (96), Carol (80), Ted (106) and Luella (94).