In 1956, following the examples of Father McGivney and Christopher Columbus, several local men explored the idea of starting a Knights of Columbus Council in and for O’Fallon, Illinois. The effort was spearheaded by a core group of gentlemen ( Russell Thoman, Lefty Wolfersberger, John Dove, Ralph Thomas and Bob Lehman). While researching the information and requirements for forming a new council, they held meetings at Wolfersberger-Meyer Funeral Home. With much effort, and under the guidance of then District Deputy George Zimmerman, their petition was approved. Within a year of starting the process, their efforts had born fruit.
The first meeting of the newly formed O’Fallon Knights of Columbus Council #4239 was held in the basement of St. Clare School on Thursday evening May 31, 1956. District Deputy Zimmermann presided and conducted the initial elections of the officers to head the new council. Records show that sixty-two men attended this meeting, and are numbered among the charter members.
The Charter Banquet for newly established O’Fallon K of C Council was held on June 17, 1965, at the K of C Club in East St. Louis. One hundred eighty-five people were in attendance. The guest speaker for the ceremony was Bishop Mongeau.
Another banner day for the O’Fallon K of C was July 7, 1962. On that date ground was broken for a new building that would serve as the home of Council 4239. As part of the ground breaking celebration, Rev. Fr. John Geolz and then Grand Knight L.M. Wolfersberger turned over the first spades of dirt, for what would become the permanent home of the O’Fallon Council. Aubuchon Construction started construction in July 1962 and completed the project in October of the following year.
The doors officially opened on Thanksgiving, November 28, 1963 for a Thanksgiving Day dance; our first official function in the new hall. We have continues to make improvements to the hall since that time, and today, the Knights of Columbus building in O’Fallon is considered on the finest in the area.
For the better part of five decades, the men and families of Knights of Columbus Council #4239 have strove to do service to their community, and therefore, to themselves. And that effort is not without fruit. Membership has increased ten fold; we currently have over 600 members, and grow stronger every year. We constantly achieve and surpass our goals for membership and fund raising, and several times we have been recognized with the coveted Star Council award.
We are humbled by this recognition. We do not look to it as a measurement of pride, but as a gauge of our good works. We take these success to heart as being a mark of the positive contributions we have made to the community and lives of those around us, and we treat them as a series of ever higher challenges to face.
As Council #4239 has exceeded its 50th year, we continue to look to our future. We have embraced the community through our auxiliaries and our programs, and our membership grows stronger every year, supplemented by our newly founded Columbian Squires Circle.