This is some of the history of St. John’s Council #4797 from my memory. If you have anything to possibly add to the story of our council, please click here and submit an addition.
History of St. John’s Council #4797
The original Knights of Columbus Council in the Hutchinson area was chartered on May 21, 1916. Mother Cabrini Council 1841 was the only council in this central area of the state when it was formed. Here is a picture of that council’s membership in front of the Library in Hutchinson on the day the council was chartered.
Here is a picture of the original Charter issued to Hutchinson Council #1841.
It existed in Hutchinson until approximately 1958, when it was decided to move its location to Silver Lake, MN. This council spawned most of the councils in the area today.
In early 1959, there was action taken to form a council in Hutchinson again and on June 15, 1959, St. John’s Council #4797 was formed. Charter members were: Edmund Athman, Alvin Baune, Archie Bishman, Lyle Bishman, Raymond Borrell, Jacob Braun, Irv Burich, Benjamin Burville, Neil Busche, William Christianson, Thomas Condon, Francis Connelly, Donald Dressel, James Duhamel, Raymond Ewald, John Forcier, Greg Hennen, Walter Hettver, Joseph Julig, Joseph Julig, Jr., Norbert Kalenberg, Gordon Klicka, Frank Lamp, Brendon Madden, Paul Maiers, Henry May, Rufus Mikulecky, James Moeller, James Moran, Fabian Nohner, John Norton, Walter Norton, Harold Odergaard, Joseph O’Fallon, Donnie Olson, Arthur Plaisance, Matt Pohlmeier, Frank Portele, John Portele, Frederick Prieve, Ed Reiner, Leo Reiner, Russell Reiner, Wyllis Reiner, Bernie Schepers, Thomas Stibal, Bernard Stolpman, Roland Stolpman, Albert Tedesco, Levi Tupa, Gerald Urban, James Urban, Michael VanOverbeke, Rev. John Ward, Virgil Wegscheid, Wayne Welch, Albert Wendolek and Ralph Young. Ben Stolpman served as Charter Grand Knight from 1959 to 1960.
Most of the councils in this area of the State were formed from that original council 1841. After Hutchinson again formed it’s council, Glencoe Council #4842 was chartered September 17, 1959. Gaylord Council #7051 was formed from members of the Glencoe council on February 5, 1978. Winsted Council #8253 was formed on January 1, 1983 from members of the Silver Lake Council.
A former District Deputy of this council and Past Grand Knight (1968-1969), Cyril Hatten worked his way on to the State Council as State Membership Director in 1979 and ran for State Warden in 1981 losing the election to Frank Perry from the Fridley/Columbia Heights area.
This picture of Knights of Columbus from our council serving up meals for Thanksgiving was taken around 1980.
Another former District Deputy (1983-1987) and Past Grand Knight (1982-1983) of the Hutchinson council, Greg & Linda van der Hagen were named as the State Council Family of the Year in 1988. Greg was made State Membership Director and served in that position from 1988 through 1991. In 1991 he ran for State Warden and defeated a former District Deputy from Sleepy Eye and moved all of the way through the chairs of the state council to become State Deputy from 1997 through 1999. Greg went on to serve as 4th Degree District Master for Minnesota from 2002 through 2006, as well as 4th Degree Vice Supreme Master of the Marquette Province (States of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois) from 2007 through 2011. Greg also was hired to work for the KC Supreme Council as a Financial Secretary Training Consultant (2011-2019) traveling around the US and Canada training Financial Secretaries on their duties and use of the Member Management/Member Billing systems through the Supreme Council’s website. Greg continues to serve the state council as Administrative Assistant from 2001 to present.
Past Grand Knight David Dressel (1986-1987) served as District Deputy from 1987-1989.
Another Past Grand Knight (1992-1993 and 1997-1998) of our council, Roman Haas, was named the State Council Knight of the Year in 1992.
Past Grand Knight Gordon Weiers (1993-1994) served as District Deputy from 2016 through 2022 in the Alexandria area, where he moved to due to being transferred by 3M and retired in that area.
Past Grand Knight Paul Troska (1994-1995) served as District Deputy. Paul was instrumental in getting the KC shelter built at St. Anastasia, as well as building all the picnic tables inside it. Paul was a big membership recruiter for our council.
Past Grand Knight Mike Heinen (2002-2006) served as District Deputy from 2009-2013. Mike has served the state council as Awards Chairman from 2007 to the present.
One of the council’s major fund raisers for many years was a Turkey Sausage supper. We would order the turkey sausage from a meat market in Melrose, MN and make the annual run up there to pick it up. It was very well attended and was one of our major fund raisers for many years until sometime in the 80’s it died down and the council decided to try other things.
Around that time it was decided to put in a bid to cater the 3M steak fries. That involved buying steaks to hand out to the diners and fixing baked potatoes and other fixings to go along with the meal for 3 consecutive Fridays in the fall. We did this event for several years until the attendance started to fall, but again it was a major fund raiser for the council.
By the time that event was slowing down, the County Fair Board was looking to an organization to help with the parking of cars at the County Fair. We have done this event for many years also and are still doing it. That led to do the parking for the Orange Spectacular as well. Both events were good fund raisers for the council.
2020 has been a tough year for councils throughout the state of MN. Our council in Hutchinson, started meeting via Zoom after the covid-19 hit. We met that way for about 3 months before we decided we could meet safely outdoors in our shelter. Thank goodness for good summer weather. It wasn’t until September that we started meeting again indoors at St. Anastasia. With covid-19 around, we were unable to do most of our normal fund raising activities that we would normally be doing.
Another major fund raiser of our council has been our annual Fish Fry held on the last Friday of February every year. Our first fish fries were held at the old Elks Club downtown (in the area just east of the Ace Hardware store). We started around 1987 at that location for a couple of years before we purchased an old trailer to fry the fish in and moved out to the Armory for a few years. It has since been moved out to the McLeod County Fairgrounds where it is still held to this day. Our 2021 and 2022 Fish Frys had to be limited to drive thru and delivery only because of Covid-19.