The Herald Bulletin

Overnight Update


June 30, 2012

Building an American dream

ANDERSON, Ind. — Growing up in Germany, Herb Klabunde had been told that the United States offered streets paved with gold. When he was presented a job opportunity in Anderson at Warner Press, he finished his education and moved across the ocean — at age 18.

“I didn’t speak English,” said Herb with a laugh. “It was a little difficult at first, but the only way to really learn a full language is to go to the land. I became a naturalized American citizen and it was right down my alley. I loved it here and never had a desire to go back.”

A Church of God convention in his homeland was the catalyst for his new life. While enjoying the gathering, the president of Warner Press met Herb and learned that he was studying the printing business.

Not only did the new job meet Herb’s financial needs, but also introduced him to Hyla Quinn, his future bride. Married in 1959, the couple lived in an apartment and socked money away until they were able to build a home near the current Anderson University tennis courts.

“When we bought the lot, the area wasn’t developed,” said Herb, retired from a printing company in Indianapolis. “Graceland Avenue stopped right here at our house and there was no wellness center. The additions have really changed the neighborhood, but we still enjoy it.”

L-shaped privacy

Designing their home in 1966, Herb knew he wanted an L-shaped floor plan and control over the master bathroom and garage. Aside from those caveats, he left the other architectural decisions to Hyla.

For the time, the master bathroom was quite unusual. While a separate shower and bathtub within the same room have become common place in upscale homes, the design was unique for the ’60s.

Adding another interesting feature to the outside are shutters that cover the windows on the west side of the house. While these are common in Florida (and Germany), not many are seen on the streets of central Indiana.

Most of Herb’s time, however, is spent in the yard. A large part of the reason Herb insisted on an L-shaped design was to create privacy in the back yard. Thrilled for the opportunity to buy the adjacent lot, he and Hyla have planted extensive gardens over the years.

Sowing and reaping

Unfortunately, Hyla is no longer able to live with Herb, due to advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Although he cared for her in their home for many years, he was finally overwhelmed by her medical needs.

“We used to work the garden together,” he said fondly. “It was a lot of fun. I sowed and she reaped. In the back yard I feel closed off from the world.”

Two tall evergreens tower over the area, one named for their eldest son, Kirk, and the other for their youngest, Tony. Two short evergreens grow between them and represent two of the grandchildren. The third lays claim to an evergreen in front of the house.

“When we planted the big ones, they were so small the boys could jump over them,” said Herb.

Always insisting to his mother that he wished to be a farmer, he has gotten to taste the way of life through his garden — which has been pared down in recent years. Still, Herb can be found “piddling in the dirt” during his spare time.

Despite traveling to a faraway land with a foreign tongue and unusual customs at a young age, Herb has managed to create a comfortable home and a lovely life.

“I’m really proud of coming from Germany and making it the American Way,” said Herb.

Each week, Emma Bowen Meyer features a Madison County home. If you know of a home that should be showcased, send an email to

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