Honoring the Memories and Sacrifices

St. Louis Gateway Chapter  •  Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge WWII  •  Saint Louis, Missouri

Chapter News

Printed Newsletter: Membership in the St. Louis Gateway Chapter Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge includes a subscription to the Chapter Newsletter. Published 4 times each year, the newsletter features lists of upcoming events, reunions, photos, membership and educational information, chapter business and articles of interest.

Message from Chapter President

(Dec 2017)

December 16th has come again. For the 73rd time since the start of the Battle of the Bulge, we took time to remember and thank those soldiers who did not know what they were getting into in 1944.

While our number of members is getting smaller, the interest and concerns of many in our community continues to grow. Last Saturday we had 157 people attend our Memorial Service and Christmas Party at the Royale Orleans Banquet Center.

Many of our members brought family guests. Doris Davis, from California, sponsored five veterans from the Missouri Veterans Home and their five medical assistants, George Despotis welcomed numerous friends and his daughter and two other high school students came so that they could meet and thank our veterans.

A special thanks goes out to our guest speaker, Lynnea Magnuson, Superintendent of Soldiers Memorial Military Museum in St. Lous. Dr. Magnuson updated us on the progress of the renovation of the museum. The grand reopening is schedulesd for November 3, 1018

Finally, it was good to see overyone and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Dave Schroeder, President

Gateway Membership News

Chapter meeting attendance: October 2017: Eighteen members and two guests; August 2017: Twenty-one members and one guest.


President Dave Schroeder received a quote of $500 from a CPA firm to re-establish our 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit status. There would also be $275 reinstatement fee due the IRS. No decision has been made at this time.

In a ceremony at the Affton Elks the French Consul awarded the French Legion of Honor to our member Harry Reed. The event was covered by a front-page story with photos in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Jerry Jacobsmeyer, chairman of the VBOB World War II Plaza, stated the flag ropes cut by vandals in August have been replaced. Cost was $357. We were not able to use steel core ropes due to the size of the pulleys.

Vice President Jim Gormley reported there is still no decsion from the History Museum regarding our proposed VBOB-sponsored seating at the renovated Soldiers Memorial, but they are committed to doing the project. Estimated cost from Monument Finishers for the seating is $1,000-$2,000 plus the cost of lettering and installation. Project completion date is still uncertain.

At the November 2017 meeting, Affton Elks provided a Veterans Day lunch in honor of our veterans.

At the October 2017 meeting, member Norman Eggemeier spoke about this experiences serving in the 87th Infantry Division during World War II. He attributes his survival to prayer.

October 21, 2017: Flag retirement ceremony at Affton Elks.

Our entry in the Webster Groves July 4 parade received the award for the best civic entry.

Educational Events

Gene Ganz, Educational Program Chairman, stated we have no programs scheduled at this time.

Great Turnout For Annual Memorial Service

The annual Memorial Service was held at Royale Orleans on Saturday, December 16 This year's ceremony was highlighted by the presence of the Webster Groves High School Jazz Band and Choir, who performed the National Anthem, Taps, and a selection of 1940s music. A special thanks to WGHS Alumni Director Pat Voss for coordinating everything needed for the students to participate in our ceremony. This year's keynote speaker was Dr. Lynnea Magnuson, superintendent of Soldiers Memorial in downtown St. Louis. Dr. Magnuson gave a wonderful talk on the history of the Memorial and the significance of many of the interior and exterior features. She then updated us on the status of the current renovations along with renderings of the final Memorial and adjacent Court of Honor.

Secretary Ben Weber then read the names of Gateway Chapter members who had passed away in 2017: Wilbur "Speed" Barton (501st Quartermaster Railhead Company), Carol Keilholz (wife of Assoc. Member Gerald Keilholz), Michael Mohrmann (son of Treasurer Pat Mohrmann), John Banjavcic (79th Infantry Division), Marie Hillgartner (wife of Glenn Hillgartner (deceased)), Howard E. Wade (252nd Field Artillery Battalion), Betty Tighe (Associate Member), Joe Manning (146th Engineer Combat Battalion), Carl Light (10th Armored Division), and Avis Breite (wife of Victor Breite).

Nice Turnout for Gateway Chapter Picnic

For the first time in recent memory, the annual picnic took place in the absence of heat, humidity, and flying insects, as it was held indoors at the Affton Elks Lodge. Activities included the ever-popular bingo games and 50-50 drawings. The Elks served a delicious array of pulled pork, fried chicken, baked beans, cole slaw, and rolls, and then told us the whole thing was going to be provided at no charge to us. What a nice surprise! The Affton Elks continue to amaze us with their hospitality and generosity, and we certainly appreciate what they do for us.

Christmas Luncheon Well Attended by Members and Guests

Following the Memorial Service, members and their guests convened in the adjacent banquet room for the Gateway Chapter Christmas Luncheon. this year's crowd numbered in excess of 150, thanks to the unseasonable warm weather, and that the 16th fell on a Saturday. Members dined on appetizers and a delicious holiday buffet of beef tenderloin and chicken cordon bleu with all the trimmings.

Certificates of Appreciation were presented by Presdient Dave Schroeder to Guest Speaker Dr. Lynnea Magnuson and to Barbara Green (on behalf of the Affton Elks Lodge #2635). Vice President Jim Gormley presented a Certificate of Appreciation to President Dave Schoeder for his years of service.

In attendance were five World War II veterans from the Missouri Veterans Home, along with their caregivers. A special thanks to Doris Davis, for providing funding for the vets and their caregivers to attend.

Numerous Pot O' Gold winners were announced. Thanks to Bobbi Ganz, Barrett Schoreder, Sherry Weber, and Leah Despotis for all their hard work.

Special thanks also to Dr. George Despotis for once again providing tickets and transportation for several tables of veterans (and Calados for the toast!!).

Thank you Forrest, Holly, and thre rest of theRoyale Orleans staff for once again making this event such a success.

New Year's Toast

In Tribute to all who served in the Battle of the Bulge, let us drink a toast again this year (the 18th year) on New Year’s Day. The choice of beverage is yours.

The times are: 12:00 noon Pacific, 1:00 pm, Mountain; 2:00 pm Central; 3:00 pm Eastern. It is our special way to be together again, even if only in our thoughts. We shared so much so many years ago, we should remember those who were with us and be grateful for each and every one.

Let us all join in a toast to Days Gone By and to the Future.

To All, a Happy and Healthy New Year to You and Yours
(In Memory of W. Kent Stephens)

Museum Exhibit / Archiving Project

Bill Pilger’s display at the JB Heritage Foundation Museum is coming along nicely. The centerpiece of the exhibit is Helen Keilholz’s VBOB quilt. Bill is still looking for small memorabilia to display. Thanks to Pat Mohrmann for lending some of her items. If you’re in the park, be sure to stop by the Museum. It’s at 96 Worth Rd., by the parade grounds, next to the Missouri Civil War Museum.

Those of you who have old photos of past Gateway Chapter events, meetings, parades, etc, please remember to bring them to the meetings so we can have them scanned into our ongoing archiving project.

Memorial Ceremony Available

A Memorial Ceremony is available for members of the St. Louis Gateway Chapter of the Battle of the Bulge.

Chaplain Eugene Ganz watches the obituaries, calls the family and offers the Memorial Ceremony. If the Ceremony is accepted, the Chaplain makes arrangements for time and place, usually the funeral home the day prior to the furneral. The Memorial Ceremony is also available for former members when the family calls and requests it.

Military Items

If you have military items you no longer use or want, they can be useful in school presentations. Such items include: division identification, gun belts, medical containers, helmets, canteens, “dinner plates”, entrenching tools, etc. All these are good display items. You may also have some green VBOB shirts, belts, caps, or bolos that are no longer needed. Bring any of the above to monthly meetings or call Gene Ganz (636) 227-1930.

Newsletter Ideas and Opinions - Your Input Desired

Please consider sharing information for the Gateway Chapter newsletter. Items which may be of interest to our readers, as well as Letters to the Editor, should be sent to Don Korte. All points of view are welcome. Letters must be signed and will be printed on a space-available basis. Deliver to Don at the monthly meeting. We have had some excellent submissions in the past and look forward to hearing from you.

"Victory Through Valor" and GI Statue Book of Honor

We are now able to offer the reduced price of $15.00 for the "Victory Through Valor" book due to the quantity of books printed. You can still get your book signed by a number of the members who are in the book. The price of the GI Statue Book of Honor is $5.00. Both books are available at the monthly meetings or you can have it sent by the USPS.     More about the book project   View photos of book signings

Newsletter Archive - Highlights of 2013 & 2014