Community remembers 'Herman the singing farmer' from West Allis Farmers Market

NOW: Community remembers ’Herman the singing farmer’ from West Allis Farmers Market

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Someone special will be missing from the longest running farmers market in the Greater Milwaukee area this year. Herman, the Singing Farmer, passed away on Christmas Eve. Now, the community is making sure he's not forgotten.

Herman Comfort served his country.

"He was very proud to be a World War II veteran," said Cyndi Tomich, Herman's Daughter.

But closer to home…Comfort served the people of West Allis at 66th and National with singing. 

"He loved to sing to people. He loved to talk to them," said Tomich.

His customers returned the love, dubbing him, "Herman the Singing Farmer."

"He was always very active. He was not one to sit around," said Diane Braden, Herman's Daughter.

Herman walked himself into a job at the West Allis Farmers Market in 1986, the day after his retirement. He kept selling corn and singing to customers, even after he turned 99.

"He was just so fun and so when he'd come here, that fun is really what I think people gravitated to," said Braden.

"Like, I was watching a video of him when he would just take a paper towel roll and he'd go 'do-do-do-do,'" said Tomich.

"It's already a bustling market and a great destination, but he just added a really unique flavor to it," said West Allis Mayor Dan Devine.

"He sang all those kinds of old timey tunes you know Elmer's tune and yeah. I mean I heard that so many times," said Braden and Tomich.

Over the years, people came from all over just to hear Herman Comfort sing.

"That just became like a family outing. The letters that you read from people over the years and he kept every single one," said Tomich.

Herman turned 100 last summer. He passed away on Christmas Eve. His daughters presented a check to the City of West Allis this week, donations to get a plaque for Herman and the rest for farmers market improvements. Right now, they have about a thousand dollars raised, but are hoping for more in order to allow for even more improvements to the market.

"I just really want to stress how grateful we are for everybody that's already donated," said Braden.

His daughters tell us you'd often find Herman humming a tune in the car or even at the grocery store, but after his passing, they learned this retired machinist may have had an even greater love for something other than singing, something he'd never done before farming.

"You know I found his high school yearbook when we were cleaning things up and it said, he said 'I always wanted to be a farmer,' so he really admired the work that they did," said Braden.

They're certain that singing and socializing with farmers and their customers kept Herman strong even past his 100th birthday.

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