Deck your Halls with Rauch Balls
The classic holiday story of the Jewish man who became the world's largest manufacturer of Christmas ornaments.
Back in March, something rare happened on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. A powerful Republican—Rep. Patrick McHenry of Gaston County—walked up to the microphone and heaped unbridled praise … on a Democrat.
After recognizing Marshall Rauch’s 100th birthday, McHenry basically read a laundry list of Rauch’s amazing accomplishments. He also stopped for a personal anecdote. “Rauch industries in Gastonia grew into a leading manufacturer,” McHenry said. “I knew it well because I mowed the grass around his facility for a number of years.”
Now, if this was the first time you’d ever heard Marshall Rauch’s story, you’d probably be thinking: Oh man, this guy has lived a life. But McHenry’s short speech barely even scratches the surface.
Back in 2016, when Marshall Rauch was a mere 93 years old, I got a chance to talk to him in his hometown of Gastonia. That interview was one of my all-time favorites. It became a story in Our State magazine. Two years later, I used the audio from our conversation to make the only Christmas (or Hanukkah) episode of Away Message that I’ve ever put out. Since we’re in the thick of the holiday season, I figured I’d drop it back in the feed for you today. It’s also below, if you’d like to listen here:
There’s a lot in this particular episode, including cameo appearances from Jim Bakker of PTL Club fame, Elvis, and the 2007 Appalachian State football team. You know, the one that upset Michigan.
One final postscript on Rauch: He doesn’t know for sure why he’s lived to be 100, but he has a few theories. “I never had any bad habits, and I think my father living to 10 days before his 99th birthday and my great-grandfather living to 104 has a lot to do about it,” he told the Gaston Gazette in March. “My life has been a series of good luck.”