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Herman Alles, 90, lives with his sister, Mary Frances Alles, 92, in her home along with caretakers who rotate from day to day. Alles Brothers Furniture Company has been in the Alles family since 1860 when it was founded in Jasper, Ind. It has operated in Henderson for more than 110 years. Neither Herman nor Mary Frances has children, so the company's future remains uncertain.

Living his legacy

story by Dorothy Edwards

At 90 years old, Herman Alles shuffles through the front door every day knowing he is the last of his family to own Alles Brothers Furniture Co., which his family founded in 1860 and his father, Jacob, moved to Henderson in 1899.

Jacob told his son to work hard for what he wanted, and Herman has carried that advice through his lifelong career as a businessman. “I go through life, never borrowed money from no one,” he said, taking pride that he has always managed his own finances.

Herman spends most of his time now sitting in the store's back corner office typing up orders on a 40-year-old electric typewriter.

“He wishes he could get back out and work the floor,” Patty Payne said about her boss of 20 years. He was once a gifted salesman, she said.

Employees say he is a good boss, and that's one reason some of them have been there for decades. Maggie Townsend, 82, has worked for Herman for 28 years. “We have birthdays and such for him; it’s kinda a second family,” she said.

Neither Herman nor his sister, Mary Frances, 92, can live by themselves. They suffer from a hereditary condition that has left many elderly members of their family with hunched backs. Caregivers visit them daily.

“I am so happy to have these ladies from church," Mary Frances said. "They have been so good to us.”

When Mary Frances’ health began to decline, Herman moved into her house from his own next door. “Some days she does better than others,” Herman said of his sister.

Herman spends most of his spare time gardening from his power chair. His yard is covered with a vast variety of flowers.

“I like to garden,” he said. “I can sit in my chair and all my aches and pains go away.”


Herman Alles, 90, leaves Alles Brothers Furniture Company at the end of a work day. His father opened the store in 1899. His family has been in the furniture business since 1860.


Herman Alles, 90, tends to his garden behind the house he shares with his sister, Mary Frances, 92. Herman owns Alles Brothers Furniture Company and still goes to work every day. When not managing his company, Herman spends most of his spare time in his garden. "I just like to go out here and ride around on my chair," he says.


Maggie Townsend, 82, greets Herman Alles, 90, during her shift at the Alles Brothers Furniture Company/ Maggie has worked for Herman for 28 years. "I can kind of tease him and pick at him. Nothing serious, though," she says. "It's kind of like a second family."


Herman Alles, 90, types order forms at Alles Brothers Furniture Company, which has been in his family since 1860. Herman prefers to work on the electric typewriter he has been using for almost 40 years. "I can't do any good with a computer," he says.


At age 90, Herman Alles still comes to work every day at Alles Brothers Furniture Company. He manages the finances, handling orders and invoices.


Herman Alles, 90, lives with his sister, Mary Frances Alles, 92, in her home. Caretakers visit them each day. Herman has a house next door, but he moved in with her when her health began to decline.


Herman Alles, 90, spends his time gardening when he is not working at Alles Brothers Furniture Company. In addition to his indoor plants, Herman tends to his outdoor garden by driving his power chair around it. "I can do quite a bit from my chair," he says.


Herman Alles, 90, has no heirs to inherit Alles Brothers Furniture Company, which his family started in Jasper, Ind., in 1860. His father, Jacob, opened the Henderson store in 1899.


Herman Alles, 90, leaves work at the end of the day. His family started Alles Brothers Furniture Company in Jasper, Ind., in 1860. His father opened the Henderson store in 1899.

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