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Erwin Rohrlach celebrates his 100th birthday after a lifetime of farming, family and faith
The retired farmer still lives at home in Murray Bridge.
This post was contributed by Resthaven Murray Bridge.
On Friday, December 2, Resthaven client Erwin Rohrlach will celebrate his 100th birthday with family and friends at his home in Murray Bridge.
Growing up at Tablelands, between Eudunda and Truro, Mr Rohrlach had many childhood memories of the family farm with his 11 siblings.
“We had a farm of 150 acres, and when you have horses as well, there’s always a lot to do each day,” he said.
“My siblings and I went to Freshwater Creek Primary School.
“We’d have to walk a few kilometres daily to attend school; otherwise, we rode our horses.”
Mr Rohrlach left school at about 14 years of age and went to work on the family farm not long after.
“Back in those days, it was all hard physical labour for us boys,” he said.
“We manually cut sheaves of hay and made stooks, and we had a horse and cart instead of a tractor.”
In his late teenage years, Mr Rohrlach met his future wife, Rita, at a Christmas church service.
They married in 1949 at the Kapunda Lutheran Church.
His parents gifted them a dairy mixer machine as a wedding present – “it was all about practicality in those days”.
Soon after, the couple purchased a house and 85 acres at Koonunga, starting up their own family farm.
Over the next 15 years, the Rohrlachs expanded their family by having six children – all girls.
In the 1970s, the family moved to a farm at Murray Bridge, and the rest is history.
“Rita and I loved living on that farm in Murray Bridge – it was truly a joy in our lives,” Mr Rohrlach said.
“When we retired, our eldest daughter and her husband purchased it from us.
“They continue farming the land today, with cattle, sheep, chooks, and cereal crops.
“I’m so very proud that the family business has continued.”
In retirement, Mr and Mrs Rohrlach led a very active social life with friends and continued their hobbies, including horse riding and overseas travel.
They also remained steadfast in their faith, always attending church services and spending time with friends from church: “faith has always been so important to us”.
In their later years, the couple continued living at home, receiving services from Resthaven Murray Bridge, Hills and Fleurieu Community Services.
Sadly, Rita passed away at age 93, but Mr Rohrlach fondly reflected on their life together.
“We were married for 63 years,” he said.
“I put that down to loyalty.”
Now Mr Rohrlach has 22 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.
He continues to live at home with the assistance of Resthaven and his family.
“By far, my greatest achievement is starting with nothing and building a comfortable life, while raising a big family,” he said.
Many happy returns, Mr Rohrlach.
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