Danzebrink is watchmaker and family man
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 10:00 PM
Winchell's Jewelry Store wouldn't have been the same without this week's Around the County subject! Every time I'd take a watch to get fixed, I'd know it would be done quickly and well, either by Leonard Winchell himself or our subject, Hubert Danzebrink, both very fine men.
Hubert grew-up in Duisburg, Germany, in a Catholic family of six children. He is the only one to have come and stayed in America. Two brothers and two sisters still live overseas. At first, the plan was to come to America in 1959 for just a year to learn the language, but love of the country, the Winchells and a fine woman changed his mind.
The start of Hubert's watch making began in Germany at a trade school. After deciding to come to the U.S. and while waiting the mandatory year (for U.S. entry) in Switzerland, he practiced his craft. His uncle, Herman Sanders in Lafayette sponsored Hubert and the plan was to stay awhile, learn English well, and return home.
English-speaking German watchmakers made more money, but the well-laid plan went by the wayside. One evening at a dinner meeting for watchmakers, Hubert met Leonard Winchell, who happened to need a master watchman. History of course, shows that the two became dear to each other, being partners who never argued, but beyond that friends and really, family.
It was friends who fixed-up this nice young man with the sweet Dorothy Kohl. Dorothy was rather leery about dating the "big fella with red hair," but loved bloomed quickly and Dorothy and Hubert married a year later in Crawfordsville at St. Bernard's Church. That was 52 years ago this week. Dorothy worked for about 35 years as a Registered Nurse in the local hospital.
Hubert and Leonard became partners in 1971 and remained so for 27 years. John Owens purchased the 109 N. Washington St. store in 1998 as Hubert, age 65 and Leonard, 83, decided it was time to retire. However, Hubert still works as often as there is something to work on - watches or antique clocks. He is truly an expert in his trade and there are few master watch makers his caliber around today.
So many who grew-up in Crawfordsville wonder just what happened to the courthouse clock tower. Well, Hubert restored it to its original beauty/workings (see picture, thanks to the Crawfordsville District Public Library) and it is today displayed on a balcony overlooking the inside of Winchell's Jewelry store.
On a personal basis, the Danzebrinks have three children, Norbert , who works for an insurance company and who lives in Tampa, Fla. with wife, Rhonda and their two children. Rita, a surgeon living in Dayton, Ohio, has three children and son Eric is taking classes at Purdue while living here in Crawfordsville.
For many years, Hubert enjoyed playing tennis, but his interests are really his family and church, although he is seen several times a week biking around his neighborhood. Both Hubert and Dorothy are active in St. Bernard's Church and enjoy traveling. Hubert has been back "home" several times and his immediate family members have all visited here. Hubert has also been active in the Indiana Jeweler's Association and Kiwanis.
Hubert's blustery laugh and his German intonation distinguish him among many. Not only Leonard and Louise Winchell, but Crawfordsville in itself has been lucky to have this fun-loving German-born man in our midst. In fact, if you know Hubert Danzebrink, you're truly blessed. Certainly, I'm lucky to have been given the nod for this week's Around the County feature! Thanks Hubert!