CUBA CITY— At 94 years old, Harold “Ham” Beinborn continues to be active in the community. He works several days a week as a mechanic at the Cuba City Apartments and manages to take care of his own home and lawn, making time each week to golf.
“I have known “Ham” for as long as I can remember and they don’t come any nicer than him,” Cuba City Mayor Tom Gile said. “A true gentleman and he always has a smile to greet you. He served his time in WWII and today he is still serving his community and anyone who is in need. He is an great asset to have in Cuba City.”
Beinborn served in the United States Army from Oct. 20, 1942 to Dec. 5, 1945, when he was honorably discharged. He served in Co. B, 824th Tank Destroyer Battalion of Tank Destroyer Forces and as a mechanic he went from private to T4.
He was deployed to Camp Shanks, N.Y., where he took a boat to France. He was in Germany, Austria and Belgium before being shipped back home. During a two-month stay in Germany, Beinborn remembers getting to know some of the locals and furnishing supplies for baked goods for the troops.
“They sure did know how to bake goodies,” Beinborn said.
He remembers crossing the Danube River while in a combat zone. He said it looked like just another river, even though people made a big deal out of it. They crossed it using a smoke screen to avoid being seen.
In Austria the troops were able to relax some. They took a cable car up a mountain to a ski resort and even traveled the famous Autobahn, which he said was one of the most beautiful drives.
“When we first went over, we weren’t sure about anything,” Beinborn said. “We had a few close calls.”
He noted his windshield getting shot by a bullet and an Army general warning him about a skull and crossbones he had on the front of his truck.
“All and all we came through it,” Beinborn said.
He was one of four sons in his family who deployed for the war. He had two brothers in the Navy and one in the Marines.
Beinborn is a charter member of the Cuba City American Legion.
Beinborn has been in the Cuba City area since 1957, when he came to help his brother who owned a grocery store in town.
Beinborn served as a meat cutter for his brother for 11 years before an opportunity was presented that he couldn’t pass up.
He purchased the Ben Franklin store and owned and operated it for 15 years in Cuba City.
“It was the best job I ever had,” Beinborn said. “The times were good and business was good.”
He decided to get out of the business when competition in neighboring cities threatened his business’ success. In 1985 he started at Cuba City Apartments as maintenance. He and his wife, Dorothy, worked together there. They were married for 68 years and had five children—two sons and three daughters—and now have many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Dorothy passed away last year.
Beinborn said he is proud of the Cuba City veterans memorial and how it is maintained and updated. He said he was disappointed with “the way the world is going to pieces now.”
Editor's Note: This column will be a special addition to the Tri-County Press on a monthly basis. Look for each installment near the end of the month. All volunteers are recomended for the article by Mayor Tom Gile. If you have ideas for future volunteers in the community to be recognized, contact Gile at 608-744-3203.