The History of Council 1952 (Complied for the 75th. Anniversary Celebration) Knights of Columbus Council Number 1952 was instituted April 27, 1919. Five Brother Knights that belonged to other councils decided to ask permission for a new council at Evansville. C.D. Pautler, V. H. Lang, F. B. Wolff, M. M. Gross and Dr. C. B. Michael, obtained permission from the State Deputy, Edward Houlihan, of Chicago, Illinois, for the new council. In a short time a sufficient number of qualified Catholic men had made applications for membership in the order. At that time, they also applied to the Supreme Council for a charter. On the appointed day of institution, the First Degree of the order was conferred by Officers of the Waterloo Council. The Second Degree of the order was conferred by Officers of Murphysboro Council. On April 27, 1919, the Illinois Central Railroad brought the State Deputy, Edward Houlihan and his staff to Evansville, to confer the Third Degree. At the first regular meeting, the members elected the officers of the new council. C.D. Pautler was elected as Grand Knight. Frank B. Wolff was elected Deputy Grand Knight. V. H. Lang was elected Lecturer and V. A Wolff became the First Financial Secretary of the Council. The Council had 69 charter members and in less than a year it had grown to 106 members. The small council maintained a comfortable club room which was equipped with a pool table, card tables, and a piano. It was open to the members and to the boys between the ages of 16 & 18 years of age. The council went to corporate communion quarterly. In the first six months of it’s existence, the council had expended $40.00 for charitable purposes. Rev. J. B. Schlottman, Pastor of St. Boniface Parish was the founding Chaplain. Although council 1952 was organized in the latter years of World War One, the Knights of Columbus residing in Evansville took an active part in the war welfare work. The membership conducted the Knights of Columbus war drive for St. Boniface Parish of Evansville. With the valuable assistance of Rev. J. B. Schottmann and members of the congregation the drive netted $250.00. In a period of two years by April 1, 1921, the council grew to 169 members. In the building where the Knights of Columbus were holding their meetings they started the first movie shows in Evansville. This was the way they paid off the debts on the building. The movie show was headed by the following Brother Knights; John Brown, Bernard Birk, Henry Barbeau, and Emil Zipfel. The shows were silent pictures and they had a player piano for music. They were able to accommodate a large crowd for their movie. Even in the “good old days” sometimes the committee couldn’t be present, and on a particular Sunday evening they had no one to run the show. So two young members of the council took the movie over for the one night. They were Clem Wolff and James Cragan. We were never told how the show was, or if the committee ever turned the movie over to them again! After the council had the debts paid, they discontinued the show. The members then rented the first floor to H. Veath and Sons for a furniture store and maintained a council room for their meetings. In the year of 1954, the members that belonged from Chester, Illinois, decided to form a council.
Their council was formed at that time and the Evansville Council transferred 50 members to the new council of Chester, which they named St. Mary’s Council. In the year 1956, a little club room was set up with a small bar for council members. In the year of 1960, the Council officers decided to remodel the first floor of the building, moving the club room and meeting room downstairs. Tragedy struck Council 1952 on the Evening of January 17, 1963. According to a dated account given in the Evansville Enterprise: Fire fighting equipment from Red Bud, Sparta, Baldwin and Chester joined the Evansville Fire Department in attempting to control the blaze, which broke out shortly after 6 p.m. The blaze was brought under control in two hours with only the remodeled brick front and part of the wooden rear wall left standing. Evansville Fire Chief Vernon Kisro said that the out-of-town units were called in after the Evansville firemen saw that they could not beat down the flames alone. The damage to the building and contents was estimated at about $40,000. All that was left after the fire was a hole in the ground and a pile of ashes. Msgr. Francis Tecklenburg granted permission to use the St. Boniface School basement to hold meetings. He also encouraged the rebuilding of the Council Hall. The membership voted and decided to construct a new building. After exploring numerous locations for the new building, the membership decided on a parcel of ground adjacent to the burnt building. The parcel acquired, belonged to the late Dr. Beattie estate, and to the late Vernon Kisro. Ground was broken. Construction began on a steel building, erected by Perryville Steel Products, Co. It was a Butler-Prefab building. Mr. Frank D. Emdorfer, Jr. helped plan the construction. Since the insurance money received from the burned building was not sufficient to construct a new building, members came forward and offered to loan money toward the purchase of the land and the building of a new Council Home. A committee was formed to contact members for money.
After the money was raised, construction began. Several members offered to loan more money if needed but no members had to be approached for the second time. In 15 years the last member had his money paid back with interest. April 12, 1964 was a joyous day for the members of Council 1952, as the new building was dedicated by Reverend Leo Reinhardt and his assistants. The ribbon was cut by Grand Knight Robert Lewis. Fish suppers helped raise money to pay for the building. A kitchen committee was formed with the following in charge: Mr. & Mrs. James Cragan, Mr. & Mrs. Leo Schuhmacher, Mr. & Mrs. Frank Otten, Mr. & Mrs. Roy Engelkenjohn. Other members and their wives helped occasionally. The fish frys were held every Friday night for many years. The Knights of Columbus Fish Fry became a popular place for some great food on Friday evenings for Catholics and non-Catholics. The K of C Friday night kitchen was run by many members. Mr. & Mrs. Leo Gross ran the lunch stand for over ten years, followed by the Columbian Squires for two years. The kitchen has also been run by Carol Schaeffer. Bingo was started at the old K of C Hall. Council 1952 was one of the first organizations in Randolph County to host weekly bingo games. After moving to the new building and bingo becoming legalized in the State of Illinois, Council 1952 sponsored a Bingo every Friday night. In the new building a club room was added. It was opened to the members and the public. The first club manger was Herbert Meyer, since he had life-time experience as manager at the Wolff Meat Market. It didn’t take him long to get the club room into operation. A bartender was needed, and Ike Moll was hired. Ike did a great job, until he passed away one evening while on the job. Harvey York then took over and ran the club for years until business dropped and the club couldn’t support a full time bartender. The club has been operated with part time bartenders, since that time. After 1989, the Bar had been in the capable hands of Brother Knight Mike Kern, who served as club manager. Other faithful bartenders have been Vanda Welty & Denise Holmes. It would be unfair to continue without mentioning all the outstanding Brother Knights that have served council 1952. Naming all of our outstanding Brother Knights would be impossible. So many did so much behind the scenes to make the happenings of council 1952 a reality. The charitable works of the council has continued since the institution day. Many organizations, individuals and community programs have benefited from the generosity of council 1952. One member of Council 1952 not only gave of his time to benefit the local council but also extended his hand to the district & state level. Brother Knight Leo Gross held a long list of accomplishments with the Knights of Columbus. He has held many council offices including Grand Knight. He worked to organize the “Fort Kaskaskia Fourth Degree Assembly”. Forty-two members from Council 1952 joined the Fourth Degree Assembly on June 13, 1967. Brother Leo Gross was elected Faithful Navigator of the Ft. Kaskaskia Assembly. From 1967 to 1975, Brother Gross served as District Deputy in the Belleville Diocese. In 1965, he was appointed and served two years on the State Council as Illinois State Chairman of Council Activities. Only two Brother Knights from council 1952 have been awarded the distinction of serving at the State level. Only four Brother Knights have been granted the privilege to attend a National Convention of the Knights of Columbus, as a voting delegate. Those members were James Cragan, Bernard Birk, Leo L. Gross, and Steven M. Pautler. In the 1950’s & 60’s, Council 1952 had an outstanding First Degree team anchored by Bernard Birk as chancellor. Snyder, as known to most, formed the team and was in charge of it. Other members of the team were Leo L. Gross, Grand Knight, Tony Pautler, Deputy Grand Knight and Robert Lewis as Financial Secretary. Robert Lewis & Robert Chunn took over the Chancellors part as Bernard Birk was getting on in the years. Robert Thummel and Ferd Moll were guards. Many members today talk about the experiences they had as Guard Robert Thummel would bark out orders to get lined up just like a Marine Sergeant. Then the new members were marched in front of the chancellor, Snyder Birk to receive the First Degree.
All eyes were fixed and ears attentive to the words of the chancellor. Many members from the Sparta community were members of Council 1952. Having a sufficient number and a desire to form their own council, many members transferred to the new Sparta Council on March 31, 1974. Keeping with the tradition of providing activities for the young, a new member of council 1952, Steven Pautler, was contacted by Grand Knight Thomas Moll, and Brother Knight Leo Ellner about forming a Circle of Columbian Squires in Evansville. The word went out and on December 8, 1979, a Circle of Columbian Squires was chartered in Evansville. Andrew Walter was elected to serve as first Chief Squire. Later Andrew went on to serve as Grand Knight of Council 1952. Steven Pautler was appointed by Grand Knight Thomas Moll, to serve as the Chief Counsellor of the newly organized Circle. He was assisted by Leo Ellner, who worked with the Squires for many years until his death. Father John Grote was the first Father Prior. The young members choose the name Msgr. Francis Tecklenburg as their name in honor of Msgr. Tecklenburg, who was so inspirational in the Knights of Columbus and the Belleville Diocese. Most young men joined the Knights of Columbus after reaching the age of 18, and many have moved thought the ranks of the Knights of Columbus. The State Circle of Columbian Squires has been served by many members of the Circle as State Officers. The Circle operation is still supervised by Chief Counsellor Steven Pautler. In 1991, Brother Pautler received an appointment from Past State Deputy Ron Ziemba to serve as a member of the Illinois State Council as State Squires Chairman. In 1993, he was reappointed by State Deputy Gary Nolan. The Squires in the year 1994 had 36 members from many surrounding communities in Randolph County, who were members of the Msgr. Tecklenburg Circle. Council 1952 has always been a partner in helping with the Mentally Handicapped and Crippled Children. Each year many local organizations dedicated to the service to the differently abled receive grants from council 1952. Most of the money given comes from the Annual Tootsie Roll drive.
This drive is held in October. During 1993, $2,200.00 was raised to fund the various activities. Some of our benefactors include, the Human Service Center of Red Bud, the Red Bud Royals Special Olympics, Randolph County Handicapped (Otto Wolff Day Camp) and the Ellner Terrace home for special people in Evansville. Being responsible to the Community at large, Council 1952 loaned $5000.00 to help locate a local Campus of Belleville Area College at Red Bud to serve the residents of our area with a junior college. This campus became a reality and has become a vital part of our community training many residents in our area for careers. Following the location of the Belleville Area College Campus at Red Bud, Brother Knight Jim Knott and his wife LaVerne, formed the “Council 1952 BAC Scholarship Program”. Through the generosity of Jim and LaVerne each year a $500.00 scholarship is offered to Children of Council 1952 to benefit their education. Each May, Council 1952 along with the Fourth Degree Assembly, and other area councils sponsored the Mothers’ Day Dinner at the council home. In 1993 the drive netted $2,000.00, which was divided between Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital and the Human Service Center at Red Bud. To provide activities for our members and their families, Council 1952 has sponsored many sports teams. The council name has appeared on softball team uniforms and bowling shirts. We have sponsored horseshoe teams, along with many other teams. Each year we sent over 11 teams to the Williamson County Bowl for Charity. The proceeds from this activity had been given to the Newman Center on the Campus of SIU. Brother Marvin Heinen had served as chairman for many years, organizing the local teams. The State Knights of Columbus Horseshoe Tournament knew that Council 1952 will bring home the “trophies”! Council 1952 has always been blessed with excellent horseshoe pitchers. Robert Mudd has been chairman of the horseshoe team for many years. Providing activities for the member and families has always been a priority of Council 1952. Each Christmas, the Council sponsors a Christmas Party for the children. How many Brother Knights and wives have received a “One Dollar Bill” for singing or performing in the annual Christmas Party Talent Contest when they were children? For many years, the council sponsored a summer picnic. (In the later years it has been discontinued but during the 60’s and 70’s it was a major gathering of members and families) At the final call by Our Maker, Council 1952 membership is there for our departed members, as they are welcomed into their final resting place. On many occasions, the council has been called to be with dying members of our council during their last days on earth. The members of Council 1952 live the Works of Charity each day.
In 1994, Council 1952 had 216 members. Many members have been with this council for over 25 or more years. The membership can be found throughout Randolph County and many counties in Illinois & Missouri. Members that have moved far away still maintain their membership with the Evansville Council. In 1992, Brother Knight William Cowell was elected to serve as Grand Knight. During his tenure the Council was the recipient of the prestigious “Star Council Award” for excellence in membership recruitment. Financial Secretary Tony Pautler was appointed by Supreme Knight Virgil Dechant in 1986. As the Council looks forward, many changes to the council home have been proposed. In 1992, renovation began in many parts of the building. The rest rooms have been refinished, and the kitchen was enlarged. The walk in cooler has been relocated to add additional storage room inside the building. In 1985, the site of the original building was sold to the North County Savings Bank, who constructed a beautiful building at that location. The addition of the North County Savings Building has greatly improved the beauty of the downtown area. The members and their families are the strength of Knights of Columbus Council 1952. Because of this strength our council continues to flourish. Through the excellent foresight of the officers and members, the Knights of Columbus continues to grow. The existence of our council over the past 75 years is a testament to fraternal commitment. As we look toward 100 years, the tradition of the Knights of Columbus Council 1952 continues. The History of Council 1952 continued..(Complied for the 90th. Anniversary Celebration) Evansville Council 1952, one of the older continuously existing Councils in the great State of Illinois celebrates the 90th Anniversary of its charter during the same year that Illinois remembers our great native son Abraham Lincoln who celebrates the 200th Anniversary of his birth. Our Council has been graced throughout its long history to have dedicated Catholic men who were willing to give of their time and talents to further the cause began by our founder Father Michael J. McGivney in 1882. Beginning with 1993…Bernard R. Birk, known by almost everyone as “Snyder”, was called by Our Maker on November 19, 1993. Born August 13, 1899, Snyder joined the Knights of Columbus April 27, 1919. He was the last living member of the Evansville Knights of Columbus Charter Class. Seventy four members took the three degrees of the order on that Sunday in April, many years ago. According to an account given by Snyder during a leisure talk, which he so much enjoyed, the Waterloo Council No. 1334 conferred the first degree.
The second degree was conferred by Murphysboro Council No. 988, and the third degree was conferred by State Deputy Edward Houlihan, and his staff from Chicago. The Degree’s were held on the grounds of St. Boniface Parish in Evansville. Following the degree, the new members of Council 1952 attended a joyous celebration commemorating the beginning of the Knights of Columbus in Evansville which has spanned some 75 years. Snyder was a Knight of Columbus for nearly 75 years. He was a father of seven daughters, and one son Brother Knight Gilbert Birk who proceeded his father in death 12 years ago. Snyder loved his family, his church, and the Knights of Columbus. Although, very active in the Council, the office he will be most remembered for was the office of Chancellor in the First Degree. Brother Knights that took the first degree under Brother Snyder Birk will have to attest he was the greatest Chancellor there could be - no one any better. When Snyder began his part as Chancellor, all eyes were fixed, all ears were tuned. Brother Birk was the first member of Council 1952 to attend the National Convention of the Knights of Columbus as a voting delegate. His wife Hedwig accompanied him on the trip. This honor has only been granted to three other members during the first 75 years of history of Council 1952: Brothers James Cragan, Leo Gross, and most recently Steve Pautler. Randolph County was hard hit by the “Great Flood of 93”. Many of our members in Prairie du Rocher, Evansville, and the surrounding countryside have been directly affected by the devastating flood.
The Council Home, at Evansville was used for many operations during the Flood. The Council home served as a heat relief center for sand baggers, a feeding center for hungry volunteers, a water pick-up station for persons in our area without water, or who were on a boil order. The National Guard even converted the Council Home into the local USO for off duty guardspersons. Our arms were opened wide to all persons, and we thankful to everyone who helped from across this great nation! It was a long month, for Randolph County, and many members wives, and family members, contributed to the relief effort At the Council Home, many of our Lady Knights staffed the kitchen for days, delivered water to the sand baggers and helped anyway they could. At Prairie du Rocher, Evansville, & Ellis Grove Staging Area, many Brother Knights and families were seen really pitching in. The Great Flood of 93, continued to displace many persons, and our Prayers went out to all those who were directly affected.The good parishioners at St. Joseph Church in Prairie du Rocher hosted our Group Communion on Sunday, September 18, 1994. Knights and wives attended the 7:30 a.m. Mass. Following Mass there was a delicious breakfast served at La Maison’s Restaurant in Prairie du Rocher. After serving in the position of Financial Secretary since 1986, Grand Knight David Young accepted the Resignation of Tony Pautler as Council 1952 Financial Secretary. David Renner accepted the office of Financial Secretary effective January 1, 1995.
The Horseshoe pitchers of Council 1952 (fourteen of them) traveled to Trenton, Illinois to represent the Council in the statewide Horseshoe Tournament. The Following members won a trophy: “A” Class 3rd. Place Ed Young “B” Class 2nd. Place Mike Coop “C” Class 1st. Place David Walter “C” Class 2nd. Place Melvin Coop “D” Class 1st. Place Gilbert Birk “D” Class 2nd. Place Charles Birk. Snyder Birk deceased member of our Council was honored at the Southern Friendship Dinner Saturday, September 10, 1994. The Dinner honors one departed Brother Knight who was outstanding during their membership in the Knights of Columbus. Living members are also honored at the event. A large delegation of members & wives were in attendance at this event being held at Council 1092 in Belleville.Cahokia Council 4596 had challenged Council 1952 to see who had the best horseshoe pitchers in Southern Illinois. When you are good at something there is always someone wanting to challenge you! On Saturday September 24, 1994 at the Evansville Ball Diamonds there was horseshoes instead of ball. This battle for the championship in Southern Illinois had began! Council 1952 and Cahokia Council 4596 started at 3:00 p.m. and continued into the evening hours. We understand that regardless how hostile things got during the play off they ended the evening with refreshments furnished by Council 1952. A new record was broken for the Mentally Handicapped Drive conducted by the council. We raised $2,262.16 the largest amount taken in by this small council in many years A quote from our Shriner friends, “ A person never stood so tall, as to when a person stoops to help a child”. A lot of K of C men stood very tall on Friday & Saturday October 22 - 23, 1994. T. J. Moll stood very tall when he mentioned at the K.I.D.C. meeting held at St. Patrick about the K of C mentally handicapped drive — he came from the meeting with a $50.00 check to help the handicapped! Kwik Kopy from Belleville mailed a $30.00 check, just as they have been doing for many years. In 1994, our Council contributed money to help erect a memorial in memory of the 5 slain ASC sisters from Ruma, who were killed in Liberia. Representing our Council was Grand Knight William Cowell.The Santa Maria sailed again down the local streets during community parades. The replica of the Santa Maria was commissioned by the Fort Kaskakia Fourth Degree Assembly and represented all area Knights of Columbus.
The last of the original 1963 AC units breathed it’s last and gave out. It was an old Singer unit manufactured in Red Bud. The Council Whole Hog sausage dinner continued to be a big success. 396 people enjoyed the October, 1994 dinner. The Squires were recognized by the Supreme Council and awarded the 1994 Brother Barnabus award from the project, “Operation Help-Great Flood of 93”. Our last living member who joined the Knights of Columbus in 1919 (Our Charter Year) passed into Eternal Rest. Brother Knight Edwin Pautler, who took his degree in 1919, passed away in 1995. This same year the K of C started the tradition of printing shirts with the K of C logo and our Council information to be worn by members during our many activities. For the first time in our K of C family history, Justin Coop, son of Jim and Kathy Coop, was awarded the 1995 Columbian Squires Pro-Patri Scholarship to be used at St. Louis University where Justin was beginning his freshman year. This scholarship was awarded by the Supreme Council for $1500 and was renewable up to 4 years. Three members of the Council were appointed by State Deputy Don Lively to serve at the State Level. Bill Cowell was appointed as District Deputy. Steve Pautler was appointed State Youth Director. Jason Mudd, Past Chief Squire would be writing a monthly article titled, “From Squire to Knight”. After many years of working in partnership with the Randolph County Shrine Club the club they withdrew from sponsoring the annual Mother’s Day Dinner. It was decided to continue the Mother’s Day Dinner with the local K of C Councils along with the 4th Degree as sole sponsors. It was obvious that since the introduction of legalized gambling in Illinois that our bread and butter, the Friday night bingo, saw crowds getting smaller. Every effort was be made to try and grow the crowds to keep it going. There was a meeting being held on May 9, 1995 to consider if we were going to continue the bingo. It was decided to continue holding bingo for the time being. Randolph County was in the midst of celebrating 200 years. There were celebrations planned throughout the County for this special event. The Knights of Columbus had attempted to put together something. The Evansville K of C held a special bingo and dinner on Sunday August 27, 1995Our first time Steak Night was very successful with great attendance. This was our attempt to move from being supported by the bingo.
The Council was looking for a “few good men” to serve as bingo managers for the Friday Night Bingo Games. Bill Cowell and David Young had been working most of the bingo’s and it was time that the Council members give them a break. The bingo games had been doing great with about 70 players each week. But, as the attendance at the bingo games continued to deteriorate, it was decided to revive the Friday Night Fish Fry. Rich and Gail Stefani ran the kitchen preparing delicious fish, chicken and Italian entrees. Under the leadership of Grand Knight Mark McConachie, the Council home received a complete redecorating. The old ship design wall paper was removed, and the rest-rooms were renovated. Major updating of the bar was done with the replacement of the lamination with stained oak wood finish. New bar stools, table tops, chairs, a big screen TV and other improvements were included. For the first time since 1979, our Council hosted a Major Degree at the Council home in Evansville, on Sunday, November 15, 1998. This was a very important event for the Evansville Council. The First Degree was conducted at 12:00 Noon by the Waterloo First Degree Team. Following the First Degree the Second and Third Degree was be conducted by the Belleville Degree Team. The Major Degree of the Order was held in honor of our Council Chaplain Father Jack Joyce. During the State Convention, Sir Knight Steve Pautler received the “State Medallion” from State Deputy William Brown on May 23, 1998. During the ceremony, the State Deputy highlighted Steve’s contributions to the Knights of Columbus and Squires programs. The State Medallion is the highest honor bestowed on a Knight. This is the first Medallion awarded to a member of Council 1952. New tables arrived at the K of C Hall. The Council offered the old tables for sale to members first. Our Council had 48 tickets for the St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pirates on August 16, 1998. Cost per ticket was $11.00. This was a sell out game since it was “McGuire Tee Shirt” Day. To celebrate St. Valentines Day, the Council planned a Steak Night on Saturday, February 13, 1999 beginning at 4:00 p.m. and serving until 9:00 p.m. Plans were also in the works for the K of C to participate in the Boat Races by putting together a food stand for the weekend racing in Evansville.
This was a good opportunity for us to raise some funds to help pay off the recent remolding that we had been doing at the Hall. In 1999 it was decided to raise the Council dues to $20.00 per year. This was an increase of $5.00 over the previous amount also a special meeting was called for bingo workers, callers, cashiers and members of the bar committee on Thursday, December 16, 1999. A decision had to be made if we were going to continue the games. Alternative funding options had to be formulated. After over one hour of discussion a vote was taken by Grand Knight Mark McConachie. The motion voted on was; “Should we continue holding bingo games”. The results were unanimous for stopping the bingo on Friday evenings. Grand Knight Mark McConachie had the unpleasant duty of telling our many patrons who were loyal to us until the end, that the December 17, 1999 game would be the last. There were many mixed emotions having this weekly event come to an end. It did provide entertainment for many people, not only from Evansville but from around the community Fort Kaskaskia Fourth Degree celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the Fourth Degree on February 27, 2000. Members and wives of the Forth Kaskaskia Fourth Degree Assembly, based at Evansville attended a group Mass at St. Boniface Church. Following the Mass, there was a Breakfast served by the Columbian Squires at the K of C Hall. Family and Friends of Brian Walter a member of Council 1952 and former Columbian Squire held a benefit on July 30, 2000. The fried chicken dinner with all the trimmings was served from 11:00—2:00 p.m. Brian was injured in automobile accident June 4th. He spent nearly 1 month in St. Louis University Hospital and had undergone many surgeries. He had faced many months of physical therapy to make his right arm which was injured in the accident stronger. Our Council began the tradition of putting up a food stand at the Maeystown Craft Fair. Our first stand netted $853.00! The long deep freeze along with Christmas Activities had kept the crowds small during the last few weeks of 2000 at the Friday Night Fish Fry. Since the Bingo ended, the Fish Fry had been responsible for providing the operating funds for the Council. One of our hard working member at the Knights of Columbus Brother Mike Kern was scheduled for Surgery in mid-June. According to Mike’s doctors he could be off his feet for 6 months With the help of some very dedicated Brother Knights the Memorial Flag Pole in honor of the 4th Degree Knights of Columbus had been installed. When the wind blows it is a beautiful sight in downtown Evansville. Thanks to those Brother Knights who helped with the installation. Later in the fall we had an official dedication of the Flag and the plaques that will go with it. A Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated for Sister Stephanie Mertens, ASC- 50 years of Religious Profession and Reverend Boniface Wittenbrink, OMI - 65 years of Religious Profession - 60 years of Ordination on Sunday September 23, 2001 at St. Boniface Church, Evansville There was a brunch immediately following at the Knights of Columbus Hall.
Our Friday Night Fish Fry continued to grow beyond our wildest expectations. We now had regular customers coming from Belleville, Steeleville, Marissa, not to mention our good patrons right here in our area. We had a staff of dedicated young ladies who worked very hard as waitresses each Friday. Without their dedication we would had to shut our doors! Members were encouraged to get involved. During the 2001 Christmas Party Celebration, Grand Knight Mark McConachie recognized Brother Knight David Young for his outstanding contributions to the Council. David, who is a Past Grand Knight continued to guide the Council in many of our outstanding activities. He was involved in our charitable activities, Community Service Events, Council Activities, and just an all around fix-it guy. Grand Knight McConachie presented David with a Plaque in recognition of his contribution. Through the generosity of members and friends our “Council Hero’s Fund” was a great success! We will be sent nearly $1000.00 to the National Hero’s Fund which directly assisted the surviving families of the Firefighters and Rescue Personal killed in the attack on the WTC on September 11, 2001. Congratulations to Mr. Gilmore Melliere, from Prairie du Rocher who was the winner of the beautiful quilt. The raffle event for the hero fund was organized by Susie and Ed Young. . During the activities of the annual Columbian Squires state convention, State Chief Squire Eric Walter presented State Medallions to three members of our Council Family. Receiving Medallions were: Sir Knight David Walter, Sir Knight David Young, and Brother Squire Rob Walls. The State Squire Medallion is the highest honor that can be given to a Squire, Knight or Worthy Individual.Another big decision needed to be made at the June 11, 2002 meeting. We will be discussed the air-conditioning situation at the Council Home. The system had been analyzed and many problems had been discovered. A decision would had to be made about upgrading or repair. The committee was given the go ahead to contract the work and with a final decision being made after consulting with experts in the field. The K of C had a float in the Evansville Day’s Parade on Sunday August 11, 2002. at 1:00 p.m. One of our new members Kyle Donjon was our Float ChairmanApparently Elvis has not left the building, as he will be returning to the K of C for the Annual “Steve Davis” Elvis Night, March 13, 2003. Council Home improvements continued with the installation of the new hood ventilation system in the kitchen. It replaced the old system that was installed in the 1960’s. Improvements were mandated by changes in the Council Insurance Policy. With the assistance of members, the hood was nearly finished with only some fine tuning remaining. The system included a “State of the Art” Fire Suppression System that was installed over both the deep fryers, pizza oven and gas stove. Many friends, family members and Brother Knights joined to wish Sir Knight Mike Kern a happy 50th Birthday on Sunday February 9, 2003. Well-wishers visited with Mike during the 3 hour open house. During the proceedings of the 105th annual Knights of Columbus Convention, Memorial Weekend in Springfield, Logan Ludwig was elected State Deputy. The State Deputy is the highest ranking officer in the State of Illinois. Logan grew up in Modoc and Ina, his wife is from Evansville.
Our Friday night resident Chef Rich Stefani sustained a major injury while doing repairs at his home. Rich underwent surgery to correct the damage to the bones in his legs Over 560 barbecued meals were served at the Rich Stefani Benefit in September, 2003. Many of Rich’s friends, family & co-workers joined together to make the benefit an outstanding success. $17,000 was raised by the K of C and community for Rich. Special thanks were given to Mark & Jo Ann McConachie who were responsible for the beautiful flowers gracing the Council Home during the warm months. An appreciation party for his many years of service to the K of C as Bar Manager was held for Stephen “Beaver” Stefani on Saturday, December 27, 2003. Through the generosity of the membership, donations were received for a new nativity scene for the Council Home. Each Christmas it is placed in front of the Council home to help each of us remember the reason for Christmas. Evansville Council 1952 had been selected as the site for one of the Regional “Leadership Rallies” being held by the State Knights of Columbus. The date was Saturday February 28, 2004. Our Council sent congratulations to St. Agatha Council #3789 in New Athens and St. Mary’s Council #3790 in Chester, who were both celebrating their 50th Anniversaries during the month of February. Council 1952 has always held close ties with our Brother Councils and wish them a prosperous 50 more years. Celebrations were planned at both locations to commemorate this milestone. In a very limited capacity our Friday Night Chef Rich Stefani has returned to the kitchen in February 2004. He needed the assistance of a chair but prepared those delicious meals his family is so famous for. Our Council donated two picnic tables to St. John’s Catholic School in Red Bud. The tables were built by Brother Knight Paul Young. During the Annual Mothers Day Dinner in May 2004, the Air Conditioning units breathed their last in the Council Hall. After exploring various options, two new AC units have been installed in the Hall. It was estimated the old units had served us since 1973. Nearly two months of planning, design, and construction had concluded our air conditioning project. The officers were anticipating this day as the old units installed in the early 1970’s were on their last leg. Special thanks to so many of our Brother Knights and Squires who pitched in to help keep the cost down. Council members donated the labor for the concrete work, electrical work and other needed landscaping. Heuman Heating and Air Conditioning was the selected contractor. For the first time in years we have had no complaints that the hall was too hot -- but a few saying that its too cold...
The Council was a recipient of a generous gift from the Gilbert J. Birk and Charles Birk families of a new Crucifix that now graces the Council Home. It was donated in memory of their Father Gilbert P. Birk. The crucifix is enhanced by an oak framework designed by BK Paul Young and stained and finished by PGK David Young. It is beautifully illuminated and has brought many comments from our visitors.The Squires held a Benefit Breakfast Buffet this Sunday, November 7, 2004 for Justin Renner, a member of the Columbian Squires and a 2004 graduate of Sparta High School. Justin is the son of Ken & Kaye Renner of Schuline. He was seriously injured in a automobile accident September 6, 2004. After hospitalization he had been confined to the Rehabilitation Institute of Saint Louis for treatment and rehabilitation. Also injured in the same accident was Mike Tooley, son of Richard Tooley and Bonnie Tooley. Mike is Past Chief Squire of the Evansville Circle. He has recovered from his injuries. Both Justin and Mike are members of the our Council. The event raised $2.000.Sir Knight Stephen Stefani was selected as one of 20 Sir Knights from the Belleville Diocese to serve as a member of the Honor Guard for the Farewell Mass for Archbishop Wilton Gregory on Friday January 7, 2005. Steve reported that it was an experience that he will always remember. Nearly 1000 parishioners, friends, and religious joined together at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Belleville to bid farewell to our Bishop. Ed Young, Paul Young, and Bob Cowell added the “secret ingredients” to the Chicken Soup prepared for the Annual Saint John the Baptist Soup Cook-off held on Super Bowl Sunday February 5, 2005. Following the judging of the many tasty soups available at the Cook-off the results were in. The famous K of C Chicken Soup received 2nd. Place Overall! In February 2005 welcomed home Brother Knight and US Marine Corps Sergeant Darren Hess who had recently returned from his deployment in Afghanistan. Darren was home visiting with family and friends for a few days before reporting to his next assignment. The Council recognized Honey Stefani and Bernie Snyder (The Wittenbrink Sisters) who have been whipping up some delicious food for many years.
Their work begins on Thursday at the Council Home preparing the many ingredients for the meals. Their dedication to the K of C has been outstanding. After the food preparation, Chef Rich takes over cooking them to perfection, which are plated by his wife Gail. During the Annual Convention Memorial Weekend May 2005, in Chicago, Paul Havrilka from Woodlawn, Illinois (near Mt. Vernon) was elected our new State Deputy succeeding Logan Ludwig. Paul is the first Knight from the Belleville Diocese to serve as State Deputy since 1965. During the proceedings of the 107th Annual K of C Convention in Chicago Memorial Day Weekend, new State Squires Officers were installed. They were also honored to be Mass Servers for the Convention Mass Presided over by His Eminence Francis Cardinal George. Following Mass His Eminence joined the State Officers for a photo. Joining the Cardinal were; Immediate Past State Chief Squire Dane Walter, Evansville Circle, and State Marshall Nathan Bleem, Evansville Circle. We were delighted to receive a lengthily note from our good Brother Knight Ray Kaiser who has been recuperating after going through quite an ordeal. Brother Kaiser had major surgery and was receiving treatments. Ray stated in his letter how much he missed visiting with all the Brother Knights at the meeting and catching up on all the latest news. He hoped that soon it will be possible for him to join us at the meetings. He also asked to express his thanks to everyone who remembered him with prayers, cards, and gifts during his hospital stay. There was a fantastic turn-out for the Annual Mother’s Day Dinner despite many activities being held around the Evansville area. We were slightly down from last year but only by a few. Thanks to everyone who worked, donated, or brought the family to the hall to enjoy a delicious meal. As usual we had plenty of help in the dinning room, kitchen and chicken fryers.
Chairman Stephen “Beaver” Stefani, noted that he never remembers having everything cleaned-up so quickly. The Knights of Columbus Supreme Council has announced the largest disaster relief effort in its history. Our Order has pledged a minimum of $2.5 million in financial assistance and matched any funds beyond that donated to the Knights of Columbus Katrina Relief Fund over the next 60 days.After the recent storms in April 2006, and just general wear and tear on the Council Home it was that we would schedule a “Clean-up Day” to get the Council Home all spruced up for Spring. The day consisted of cleaning up around the outside, some painting, some cleaning, and some carpentry repairs. Significant changes to our Famous Friday Night Fish Fry were announced. Namely, Chef Rich Stefani, his wife Gail and Mother Honey Stefani planed to retire April 30, 2006 after nearly 10 years of dedicated service to the Knights of Columbus. The trio had devoted their Friday Nights to building up a business that had become known throughout Randolph County and neighboring communities. The Council was deeply grateful for their dedication through good times and bad. We welcomed Betty Kawalec to our Friday Night Fish Fry Team. Betty lives in Ruma along with her husband George. As part of the revitalization of the Council and to help with our long-term cash flow issues a three part Capital Fund Drive was put underway in July 2006. The initial mailing to members and wives of departed members had been sent and we have had one outstanding response. The gifts arrive daily in the K of C mailbox. Small gifts, medium gifts and large gifts all combined added up daily. The Council congratulated the 2006 Evansville Citizen of the Year Jo Ann McConachie, wife of PGK Mark McConachie and Daughter of BK Marvin & Lorene Mudd. Marvin was also a Citizen of the Year. To help with expenses, the Council stared to sponsor the 4 man Golf Tournament at the Red Bud Country Club Golf Course. The 2006 Capital Fund Drive had “unofficially ended”!
Thanks to everyone who contributed! There will be a short ceremony celebrating the “burning of the mortgage” at the February 13, 2007 Council Meeting. Thanks to the generosity of our many members, extended K of C family, businesses, brother Knights of Columbus Councils and Assemblies. We will retire the mortgage on the building three years early. The original mortgage was taken out for improvements to our heating/air conditioning system and totaled $16,252.00. The Capital Fund Drive concluded in 2006 with a total of $9,330.00. In March 2007, Sir Knight Mike Kern was in Barnes Hospital in St. Louis. We understand from speaking with family members that Mike was facing a serious surgery. Mike continued to be an active member in our Council despite his many physical challenges. Our Famous “Steak Night” on Saturday, April 21, 2007 featured traditional Steaks, and other entrees. Our Council Welcomed Brother Knight Joe Myerscough as a Third Degree Member. Joe joined the K of C on Sunday, April 29, 2007 in Mt. Vernon. He is the son of Brother Knight Bob and Sue Myerscough. He had also enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and will be leaving for basic training in mid June. Grand Knight Steve Stefani called together the officers and members of the activity committee to discuss future plans. There were many presentations made from “moth balling” the building, to aggressively continue forward, or downsizing our activities. After discussion, it was decided for the short time, to introduce a Summer Menu & Schedule. Beginning in June the Fish Fry will only be held the 1st Friday of each month. The menu will include our present Fish & Chicken plates. Sides will be offered but limited. Summertime is our slow time. On Tuesday June 12, 2007, forty-five members of Council 1952 gathered for the June meeting. Grand Knight Stephen Stefani welcomed the large gathering. General business was conducted followed by discussion on the future of Council 1952. Presentations were made by various officers and committee members concerning finances and council expenses. Over one hour of discussion followed with many good and constructive comments. The Officers and Committee had met previously and presented their proposal for consideration. Their proposal was to begin an exploratory process of seeing the feasibility of marketing the Council home for leasing or purchase options.
The membership agreed that it was the only way to see if there was actually interest from someone to buy or lease the building. A motion was made and seconded that Bob Myerscough and Tim Lowry head a committee that would look into our options. The motion carried unanimously. It may come as a surprise to some, but did you know that the actual deed for the Council Home is listed as; “Randolph Home Association”? Most Council Homes are owned by a Home Association comprising the membership of the local K of C Council. As we continued to streamline our operations at our Council Home the membership at the July Meeting voted to elect a Board of Directors in accordance with the Home Association by-laws approved July 1924. Sitting on the Board will be the Grand Knight, Three Council Trustees, Financial Officer Bob Myerscough and committee member Tim Lowry. The board will meet when necessary to recommend and formulate plans that are submitted to the membership for consideration. During Lent 2008 the Kitchen Crew had converted the Friday Fish Fry into a Buffet Style service. It had been greatly received by our patrons. Help is needed from the membership to clean tables. Please volunteer if you can. The Fort Kaskaskia Fourth Degree Assembly #1287 joined newly Ordained Deacon Steven Pautler on Sunday July 27th for a Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Boniface Parish. Along with the Assembly was St. Boniface & St. Pius V Pastor Father Jack Joyce, State Associate Chaplain for the Knights of Columbus Father James P. Mcilhone of Our Lady of the Lake Seminary located in Mundelein, Illinois. We are honored to have 15 members who have been members of the Evansville Council 1952 for over 50 years. Our Council was founded in 1919 and we have been blessed with many long-time outstanding members. Congratulations to our long-timers! Your dedication to the Knights of Columbus is outstanding! Council 1952 is happy to announce that some of the proceeds from the Golf Tournament have been donated to various charitable and civic organizations. Co-chairmen Mark McConachie and Bob Myerscough made the recommendations at the December meeting and they were approved by the Council. $50.00 - EVANSVILLE VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT, $200.00 - MARINES TOYS FOR TOTS, $200.00 - ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST SCHOOL, $200.00 - ST. PIUS CATHOLIC CHURCH, $150.00—ST. BONIFACE CATHOLIC CHURCH, $50.00 - RAFFLE TICKES FOR ST. BONIFACE, CATHOLIC CHURCH CHRISTMAS WALK, $150.00 ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PARTY FOR CLIENTS OF THE HUMAN SERVICE CENTER, SPONSORED BY SQUIRES, $250.00 - TOWARDS A MATCHING CHARIABLE PROJECT WITH CHESTER K OF C COUNCIL.
The Council regrettably accepted a request from David Renner to resign as our Financial Secretary affective January 1, 2009. Dave has served this Council since 1995 as Financial Secretary. He has done one outstanding job and this Council is grateful for his dedication. Under the by-laws of the Supreme Council the Financial Secretary is appointed for a 3 year term and is not elected. There was a search committee appointed to begin the process of identifying a new Financial Secretary. With the approval of the Council Trustees the name of Brother Knight Howard Gallois as Financial Secretary of Council 1952 was submitted. The Financial Secretary is appointed by the Supreme Knight for a period of 3 years. Howard will be serving as Financial Secretary elect until approval is received. On April 19, 1919 the first group of Catholic Men gathered inside a tent on the grounds of St. Boniface Parish to form a chapter of the Knights of Columbus in Evansville. Still ninety years later here we are despite fire, floods, financial issues, and whatever crosses we have bore all for a cause that so many held deep. To remember this historic event the Council held a “Day of Thanksgiving” in April of 2009.