In Memoriam: Al Hohenwald

Al Hohenwald, founder of distributor Spartan Promotional Group (PPAI 108688, D8) in Oakdale, Minnesota, passed away on October 18 due to cancer-related complications. He was 87.

Hohenwald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and graduated from Central High School. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps and later became a St. Paul police officer. He also owned several small businesses, including stands at the Minnesota State Fair, the Como Park Pavilion and a water bike rental.

He founded Spartan Promotional Group with his wife, Phyllis, in 1966. Originally operating out of the family’s garage, Hohenwald would work at Spartan during the day and then go to his job with the police department in the evenings. As Spartan grew, it moved into an old grocery store and later, in 1995, to its current location. It’s grown to 42 employees and 50 independent sales reps across the country, and has opened an office in Chandler, Arizona.

Hohenwald was an active volunteer in the promotional products industry. He served on the PPAI board of directors and on the Upper Midwest Association of Promotional Professionals (UMAPP) board. He and Phyllis were both awarded UMAPP’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. Phyllis, their sons Mark, Michael and Paul, and two of their daughters-in-law remain actively involved with Spartan.

A collector of classic cars and vintage gas pumps, Hohenwald’s collection included seven Model A’s, including a 1931 Model A Coca-Cola delivery truck; a 1972 Plymouth Duster; a 1978 Cadillac Coupe de Ville and 15 to 20 pumps.

Hohenwald is survived by his wife; three sons: Mark and his wife Cori, Michael and his wife Terri and Paul and his wife Diana; grandchildren Michael, Nicole, Nick, Katie and Allen; and great-grandchildren Andrew, Olivia, Jaxon and Norah.

A private family service was held for Hohenwald on October 23. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the American Cancer Society, King of Kings Lutheran Church-Woodbury or the donor’s choice.

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Comments (1)
John Murphy
October 29, 2020
I had the honor of knowing Al and his family since my first day in the industry in 1979. Al would do any thing for you and would always listen to your problem and give you a thoughtful answer. I have many fond memories of Al and Phyllis, one of those being a wonderful evening at the Magic Time Machine Restaurant in Addison, TX. My thought and prayers are with the family.
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