Could faith, selflessness and helping others be the key to longevity?
The life of Carinity Brookfield Green resident Harold Kleinschmidt suggests that could be true.
The World War II veteran, who has dedicated his life to helping Indigenous Australians, is one of Queensland’s newest centenarians.
Harold turned 100 on June 20. He celebrated the milestone with his wife Audrey, their three children, and family and friends from as far away as Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.
Born in Beenleigh in 1918, Harold only went to school for a few years before working as a farm labourer. At 18 he enlisted in the Australian Army and five years later was called up for active duty, serving during World War II.
A meeting with a church group and chaplain during the fighting in Papua New Guinea led Harold to accepting Jesus into his life, a life-changing moment that inspired him to dedicate his life to helping others.
“My father said he would pray to God, ‘If you get me home from the war I’ll serve you for the rest of my life’ – and he kept that promise,” Harold’s son Mark Kleinschmidt says.
After returning home from the war, Harold was a foundation student of the Queensland Bible Institute (now Brisbane School of Theology) and in 1949 was its first fulltime residential graduate.
Harold’s life passion was working with Aboriginal people. With the support of his wife Audrey he served as a missionary with Aborigines Inland Mission in Woorabinda and later served communities in Moree, Inala and Townsville, and offering ministry in Charters Towers and Palm Island.
He was also a prison pastor, counselling Indigenous people and assisting them to contact their loved ones.
Harold and Audrey now enjoy living at Carinity Brookfield Green where they enjoy church-based activities and concerts, while Harold loves watching cricket, tennis and football – and saying ‘grace’ at meal times.