For Bud Boehm, Washington, working at Anheuser-Busch was like joining the family business.
Boehm, 88, started work at the company in the 1950s. His father and grandfather both worked for the St. Louis brewery at some point. Later, his two sons also would work for Anheuser-Busch.
Working at the brewery wasn’t his first choice, however. Robert “Bud” Boehm was born in south St. Louis and after high school he decided he wanted to go to college.
There was one small problem with his plan. World War II had just ended and the colleges were flooded with veterans. Boehm said he planned to take a year off from school, get a job and then return when classes weren’t so full.
The plan didn’t work. He got a job at another St. Louis brewery in the late 1940s as an apprentice and learned about the craft of making beer.
“You know what that’s like — you get a taste of a little money, little women, and you say ‘Screw going to school,’ ” he said.
After a few years, he moved on to Anheuser-Busch.
At Anheuser-Busch he worked as an assistant, supervisor and eventually a superintendent. He said he was a superintendent in the finishing cellars when he retired after nearly 40 years with the brewery.
“Our job was to get the beer, after it rested, off the chips,” he said. “Then we’d get the beer to the bottle shop or the racking room.”
Boehm said he loved working for the St. Louis institution.
“You couldn’t have worked at better place,” he said. “They treated you so well.”
Working at Anheuser-Busch allowed Boehm to support another one of his hobbies — boating. Boehm said as a kid he loved fishing and that led to an interest in boats.
In his life he owned 14 different boats. He started with an 8-foot boat he built himself. The biggest boat he had was a 39-footer.
“You know, a boy and his toys,” he said. “You get one and you just got to get a bigger one and a bigger one.”
With the boats, Boehm did some fishing and some traveling. At one point, he took one of his boats from St. Louis down the Mississippi River. He ended up in the Gulf of Mexico and kept going around Florida to the Atlantic Ocean.
He also spent plenty of time on the boats with his wife and three kids. Boehm married his wife, Lois Jean, in 1951.
Shortly after marriage, Boehm was drafted by the Army to serve in the Korean War. Boehm said at the time, the Army had a point system. If you got a certain number points, you got to go home. Points were earned for time in service and for combat awards.
After nine months he had accumulated enough points to leave Korea. He ended up serving two years with the Army.
After the war, he and his wife lived in the St. Louis area. He moved to Washington to help take care of his wife after she suffered a stroke. Now he serves as her caretaker at The Cottages at The Homestead at Hickory View.
Boehm said he really enjoys living at The Homestead, but he often doesn’t show it. Barbara Hellmann, director of community relations, said that Boehm is a self-described curmudgeon.
Boehm himself says he’s a “crab.” Hellmann disagreed and said he’s been a welcome part of the community.
Boehm said he didn’t know much about Washington before he moved out here, but he enjoys the town.