‘I’m like a stubborn Swede’
Lifelong Harcourt resident reflects on life of serving the community
HARCOURT — Few people can probably match Arlene Hintch’s long connection and commitment to Harcourt.
She was born on a farm one mile north of Harcourt, and has lived all of her 88 years in and around the small city in southern Webster County.
She has touched many lives and contributed to a lot of community projects in that time.
“I think I’m probably the oldest living person in Harcourt that’s been a lifelong resident of Harcourt,” she said.
“I do what I can still,” she said. “I’m like a stubborn Swede.”
Over the years, Hintch has become the key figure linking all the alumni of the long-gone Harcourt High School.
At Faith Lutheran Church, where her grandparents were among the first members, she has done everything from watering the flowers to teaching Sunday school classes.
“I still bake Swedish rye bread,” she said. “That’s my specialty when we have our bake sales.”
Hintch worked for decades with the Harcourt Community Club, organizing Appreciation Day and developing a concession stand service at the softball diamond. And if all that wasn’t enough, she served as president of the local American Legion Auxiliary.
She has never lived far from Harcourt, and has some interesting connections to the town’s history. For example, the old Harcourt jail now at the Fort Museum and Frontier Village was used as a shed on the farm where she was born. She remembers going into it as a little girl.
“They always said I was the glue that held them all together because I kept track of everybody and kept in contact with everybody,” Hintch said.
She relies on a tried-and-true technique to stay in touch with the alumni.
“I usually get on the phone and call people,” she said.
Hintch was baptized, confirmed, and married to her late husband, Don Hintch, at Faith Lutheran Church. There, she has been a Sunday school teacher and member of the choir. She took care of all the flowers around the church. And she still serves as the church’s financial treasurer.
Through Thrivent, a nonprofit financial service connected to the Lutheran church nationwide, she has participated in fundraisers and food donation drives.
In 1975, she became treasurer of the Harcourt Community Club. The organization gives scholarships to graduating seniors, donates money for projects and organizes Harcourt Appreciation Day. But the concession stand at the softball diamond is the Community Club project Hintch was most deeply involved with.
“That was fun because you got to see the girls play ball and you got to know them,” she said.
The first concession stand, she recalled, was a picnic table. An actual stand was built later. Hintch was a regular worker there, and got to know the people at the softball diamond.
“You almost knew what they were going to order when you saw them coming to the window,” she said.
She and her husband were married in June 1952. They had two sons and two daughters. She worked for Harcourt Savings Bank from 1973 to 2000. She still lives in the house her family moved into in 1977. It was built in the 1920s by her uncle.