Knights of Columbus – St Isadore Council #5898
On October 16, 1966, a group of interested Catholic men met in the school auditorium for the purpose of organizing a Council of the Knights of Columbus in Leopold. This meeting was held after much of work had been done by the Pastor, Father Eckhoff, the K of C Insurance Representative, Tony Day, and the District Deputy of the Knights of Columbus, Hillary Schmittzehe,. After certification to the Supreme Council that there was a potential of having a council with 100 or more members in Leopold, it was decided to form a new Council. At this meeting 26 new members joined and 8 members from Leopold area transferred their membership from St. Vincent Council 1111 of Cape Girardeau to the new Council.
The new Council was assigned number 5898. F. X. Peters was elected Grand Knight to head the new Council. Since many of the members were engaged in farming, the council selected the name St. Isidore, Patron of Farmers, as the name of the new council. All members who joined or transferred their membership to the new council prior to January 1, 1967, were to be charter members. The group was chartered with 47 members.
Meeting dates were set at 8:30 a.m. CST on the 1st Sunday of each month and at 7:30 p.m. CST on the 3rd Wednesday night of each month. Meetings were held in the school building.
It soon became evident that the new council would have to find a home of its own. Since the Knights of Columbus owns no property of its own, a title-holding not-for-profit corporation was formed. This Corporation is the St. Isidore Home Association, Inc. It was incorporated on August 18, 1967, with Tom Elfrink as its first president. On September 26, 1967, the St. Isidore Home Association purchase tract of land from Williams Spooler. This is the property on which the K of C Hall is now located. This first building was erected in 1968, a 70 x 100 foot concrete and steel structure.
A walk-in cooler and outside cooking area was added in 1971. A memorial shrine to Our Lady, Queen of Peace, was erected under supervision of William A. Landewee in 1973. A public clubroom was built in 1975, and the 40 x 70 foot addition was added to the main hall in 1977. This later addition was to house a meeting room and private clubroom.
As the St. Isidore Home Association grew so did the St. Isidore Council. It has been truly blessed with two exceptionally good Spiritual Leaders to serve as Chaplains, Father Eckhoff who gave so much of his time to get the organization started, and Father Schneider who is the present Chaplain. It is felt that without their spiritual leadership the Council would not have accomplished the many things that have been achieved during the first 15 years.
The Council has increased its membership from the original 47 charter members to more than 230. It is one of the most active councils in the State of Missouri. It has received the Star Council Award in 14 of its 15 years. It has achieved or exceeded its Religious Information Quota for the past nine years.
The Council was very active in the organization of the Bollinger County Association for Retarded Children. It participates each year in the Knights of Columbus Tootsie Roll Program and donates the proceeds to the Bollinger County ARC.
The Council has been active in support of youth and community in general. It has sponsored Little League Baseball, Boy Scouts, and Ladies Softball and Bowling teams. Fund-raising activities had been sponsored for members who were in need, and the Council's facilities have been made available to other groups for fund-raising activities. In addition, the Council has contributed more than $75,000 in cash to various charities.
The Council has been active not only at the local level, but also at the district, state, and national levels. Two of the members, F. X. Peters and Albert Elfrink, have served as District Deputy for the local district. As District Deputy they represented the State Deputy and Supreme Knight at various Knights of Columbus activities in the district. In June of 1977 one of the members, Lonnie Nenninger, was selected as the State Knight of the Month. The family of another member, Ambrose Peters, was awarded Missouri State Knights of Columbus Family of the Month Award in September of 1979. The Peters family was awarded the State Knights of Columbus Family of the Year Award in 1980, and during the same year was awarded 2nd place as the Knights of Columbus International Family of the Year.
The present Financial Secretary, Delwin Elfrink, is serving as the President of Missouri State Knights of Columbus Softball Association. St. Isidore Council has participated in the State Knights of Columbus Softball Tournament for the past several years. On two occasions, a team from this Council won 4th place in the tournament, and in five of seven years a team from this Council has won the Sportsmanship Award. In 1981, the tournament consisted of 47 teams from throughout the State of Missouri. The Council has also been represented in state bowling and horseshoe tournaments.
In 1977, members of the St. Isidore Council formed a 4th Degree Knights of Columbus Assembly in Leopold. This assembly is known as the St. John's of Leopold Assembly #1740. It consists of the following K of C Councils: St. Isidore #5898 of Leopold, Guardian Angel #4311 of Oran, Bishop Timon #6405 of Jackson, Father Slay #6515 of Dexter, and Father John E. Wells #7063 of Advance.
These things were accomplished through the hard work and cooperation of the group of Catholic men who make up membership, with the leadership of the following members who have served as Grand Knights: F. X. Peters, Januar Peters, Thomas R. Elfrink, Donald Elfrink, Albert Elfrink, Melvin J. Steinnerd, Simon Jansen, Paul Robert Deck, and Lonnie Nenninger.
The members are grateful to God for many blessings that He has bestowed on them during the 15 years, and pray that He will continue to bless and guide them in the future.
Information provided by the Book "1856-1861 125th Jubilee" Richard J. Elfrink and many others in the Acknowledgements