An estimated 260,000 Germans immigrated to Brazil between 1824 and 1972, with the greatest surge occurring between 1880 and 1930, when four million Europeans of many nationalities arrived. Most Germans settled in the southern region of the country. The city of Brusque is a good example, with a population of nearly 140,000 (2020), situated about 20 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. Roughly half of the city’s inhabitants are descendents of ethnic Germans.
Walter Orthmann is one of those descendents. Born 19 April 1922 in Brusque, he recently celebrated his 100th birthday, but that’s not the reason he’s earned fame all around the world. His new-found celebrity officially came when he was named the Guinness World Record title holder for “the longest career in the same company”.
Walter’s first day of work began 17 January 1938, when he was just 15 years old. His family had fallen on hard times, so employment at the textile mill was a golden opportunity. Starting as a shipping assistant, he showed so much enthusiasm and eagerness to learn that he rose through the ranks swiftly. Always doing more than was expected of him, eventually Walter was promoted to salesman, and promptly made a sale that would keep the mill busy with production for three months. Eventually, Walter was promoted to Sales Manager, a position he still holds today.
Attitude, enthusiasm, and a desire to learn all helped Walter succeed. The man just plain enjoys working, claiming that he never thinks about the past or the future, only today. Everyday gives him a sense of fulfillment. Even at 100 years old, his mind is still sharp, he keeps up with the latest technology, and every day seems to bring him joy. He must be doing something right.
“Meet the 100-year-old record holder for longest career at same company” (0:55)