Behold, and take heart

St. Louis over the years - parish memories

Anna Marie Kratzer
Teresa Lynn Lake
Mondo and Vera Montez
Dr. Tim Moser
Virginia Parker Vobejda
Dudley and Millie Pitchford
Edward and Rena Puetz
Charlotte Pytlinski Collins
Jim and Irene Sirokman
Joe and Marie Kelly Smolski
Roy and Lucille Troxell
Syl and Margaret Walorski
Mary Walsh
Rosemary Wiemeyer
Ruth Woodman

Anna Marie Kratzer

Anna Marie Kratzer was born on August 29, 1936 in Omaha, Nebraska and moved into St. Louis Parish with her parents in 1939. She attended St. Louis School from 1st through 8th grades and graduated in 1950. Anna Marie has fond memories of Monsignor Joseph P. O’Heron who was known and respected by the entire small town community which was struggling through the World War II years. A “regular guy”, he enjoyed a beer at the parish Jamboree wearing Hawaiian shirts. His dog, Pal, lay up on the altar during Mass and at his feet in the confessional with his tail wagging under the curtain. Sometimes on a nice Spring day while hearing classroom recitations, Monsignor would ask, “Want a free day?” and excuse the students to go play. Most valuable, in her opinion, he brought a balance between the literal catechism and its practical application. He taught them to live their faith as best they could, modestly, and with respect and tolerance for others doing the same.

From 1942 to 1949 Anna Marie attended 1st through 7th grades in the old red brick school building on the northwest corner of Floyd and Sherman and 8th grade in the present “new” building. Her 1st grade classroom was at the west end of the building with a separate entrance from the stairs and landing. The rectory was a house on Sherman, north of the school. The convent was the building behind the church at the corner of Grant and Floyd. The present school site was a playground with huge swings and slides, bordered by a greenhouse to the south and an open city ditch to the west. When the new school was built, the children played on open lots west of the ditch and south of the church. They also played jump rope and Red Rover on the sidewalk in front of the old school. Square dance classes were taught by Mr. and Mrs. Rice in the large front lobby of the old school. The downstairs cafeteria space was also used for student musical recitals and events. The old school had a unique smell, a combination of wood floor oil treatment, crayon, chalk dust, and macaroni and cheese.

The Sisters of St. Joseph in full black woolen habits and veils conducted average class sizes of 40 to 45 students with discipline, some ruler taps, and no tolerance for gum chewing. The students were taught to memorize their catechism and multiplication tables. They learned parts of speech and diagramming sentences, dictionary use for word definition, and they had weekly spelling tests. They read everything from Dick & Jane books to Nancy Drew and from these they wrote regular book reports. They learned to print in red Big Chief tablets and learned the Palmer method of penmanship using liquid ink, pen points, and fountain pens. In addition they were taught creative art with crayon and construction paper, songbook singing and Latin Requiem singing in church choir for Mass. Individual piano lessons were given and practicing took place in the convent music room during recess. Later, organ lessons for Requiem Masses were taught by Charlotte Pylinski.

Anna Marie remembers the May Crownings of Mary with flower displays, girls wearing white dresses and big white hair bows and carrying flowers. On this and other holy days, students attended morning Mass and afterward had half an orange and a sheet pan cinnamon bun since fasting was still the rule. They sold Holy Childhood Christmas seals and received rewards of plastic small statues and religious objects. Holy cards and medals were also rewards. It was a privilege for boys to be chosen to clean blackboard erasers and punishment was to pull dandelions from the church lawn. The students participated in community wartime activities of paper drives and collecting rubber and tin cans. Rather than uniforms, girls wore home-made cotton dresses and hand-me-downs. Boys wore cords or chinos and shirts. Special class events were at Elitch Gardens or Bing Crosby movies at the Gothic. In addition to the religious foundation received at St. Louis School in the 1940’s, there were grade standards to meet and honest evaluations following a quality education which resulted in a genuine and positive self-esteem for the students. The solid, well-rounded, basic education received has been an asset to Anna Marie through Englewood Public High School, the University of Colorado, and in everyday life today.

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Teresa Lynn Lake

Teresa Lynn Toll was born on January 1, 1961. Since her family lived within the boundaries of St. Louis Parish, she attended the school. In the 7th or 8th grade there were two male teachers. One played the guitar and sang with the students. He taught history and loved to have the students put on plays for the holidays. He made learning fun and Teresa will always remember him. The experience lifted her spirit. After graduating in 1975 she attended St. Mary Academy for one year and then Englewood High. She married Bruce Chace in 1981 and they had four children, three girls and one boy. Teresa and Bruce divorced and she moved to Virginia where she met and married Tim Lake in 2011. She worked as a firefighter and paramedic. Even though Monsignor Cullen was very strict, Teresa could obviously see that he cared very much for all of the children. She also remembers Sister Emily who taught 1st grade. Teresa sang in the choir and appreciates the stable and solid education she received at St. Louis. She would like to tell younger parish members that they will also receive a well-rounded education at St. Louis.

Mondo and Vera Motez

Mondo and Vera Montez arrived in the parish in 1978. They have been active ever since, involved in the St. Louis Choir, Altar and Rosary, St. Vincent House, Social Club, Annettes, Thanksgiving Baskets, Food Bank, Eucharistic Ministers, and CCD teacher. Father Durrie appealed to them because of his common behavior. They had always put the priests on a pedestal, but saw the humanness in him. The greatest benefit of belonging to St. Louis is the camaraderie. You meet so many people you become friends with. St. Louis came to their rescue when Vera had numerous visits to her doctor, and different parishioners would take her. Some would even help sitting with her Day Care children. The Montez’ advice to younger parishioners is to have a friendly personality and get involved.

Dr. Tim Moser

Dr. Tim Moser is a family practice physician who was born and raised in north Denver. But, he practices medicine in Englewood and four of his children currently attend St. Louis School. A fifth will begin in two more years. The school is the reason Dr. Moser chose St. Louis four years ago because it offers an outstanding school and parish community. He appreciates the work Father Reycraft has done in the parish and feels the greatest benefit St. Louis has given him is an outstanding education for his children.

Virginia Parker Vobejda

Virginia Parker Vobejda was born to a homesteading family in the small town of Lodgepole in the northwestern part of South Dakota. She lived in the family home until securing teaching positions in rural schools which allowed her to live in the homes of her students. After 5 years of this she married Bill Vobejda in 1942. After the war Bill and Virginia moved to Englewood in 1946. She has been here ever since moving only three times. Because St. Louis was the closest Catholic church, she became a member and has been active and much loved for 65 years.

Thinking back on all of the parish priests she has known, three come immediately to mind. She remembers Monsignor Cullen as determined to build up the parish with a fine school. Father Mollison was so understanding of people’s problems, and Father Reycraft has done so much for the parish making sure everything is in such great shape. Active in Altar and Rosary and RCIA over the years, Virginia is most proud of her years spent at St. Louis School. She is mother to five children, all of whom attended the school from first through eighth grades and were married in St. Louis Church. In addition to being a school parent, she also taught for nine years imparting her wisdom to 3rd through 8th graders. Virginia was the first lay principal the school had, overseeing a smooth transition from the ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. She was our school’s principal for 9 years.

Virginia feels that the greatest benefit of being a member of St. Louis parish is being part of such a caring community. She experienced this firsthand with the support she received after Bill’s death. Bill and Virginia had been married for 63 years. To the younger members of St. Louis, Virginia says she hopes you will have the same feeling of belonging and the privilege of being of service to our church community.

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Dudley and Millie Pitchford

Mildred Pitchford, better known as Millie, was born in Yuma, Colorado on Dec. 6. 1916. She married Dudley Pitchford in 1941. They had five children. The Pitchfords moved to Englewood in 1949 during the time of Monsignor O’Heron. Millie taught at St. Louis School in the 1950’s. She started the bookroom in 1953. Prior to that time the parents of the students had to go to downtown Denver to get the books and workbooks for the children. There were 800 students in the school at that time. Monsignor Cullen asked Millie to get some ladies to count the Sunday collections on Monday. She got Bonnie Hayes and Vicki Urban. Millie counted money for 11 years. She was also a member of the Altar and Rosary, St. Anne’s Circle, and the Social Club. The greatest benefit Millie received from being a member of St. Louis Parish was getting to know so many people. She would tell the younger people of the parish to get involved in whatever organization fits their needs.

Edward and Rena Puetz

Being newly married and purchasing a home in Englewood, Edward Puetz and Rena arrived in St. Louis Parish in 1941. The pastor was Monsignor Joseph P. O'Heron, who was well known and loved in Englewood. He would make late night calls out in the country to ill members of the parish and would often come to the Puetz’ home and have Eddie go with him on these calls. Monsignor had diabetes. He also had a little dog that he loved. He was a wonderful priest. He baptized their first daughter Patricia. Eddie and Rena were very active in the parish, ushering, belonging to P.T.A. , Altar Society and Booster Club. The Booster Club was made up of couples who did many things that needed to be done in the parish like laying black top for the new school, building a fence, painting the rectory, and many other things. They were also active in many other activities such as dinners, weekly square dances, St. Pat's dances, as well as Jamborees to help the parish and the school.

Most children of the parish were in St. Louis School which was run by the nuns. It was originally located on the north side of Floyd where the parking lot is now. At first it was very small and the classes were very large. Rena was active in the parish until Eddie passed away after a long illness in 198l. In 1989 she married an old friend and moved to Centennial. However, she is still a member of St. Louis Parish and the Altar Society. St. Louis was the beginning of the surrounding parishes, Lourdes and All Souls.

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