The Knights of Columbus is the largest Catholic fraternal service organization, standing for the four principles of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. Our Council, carries the name of Monsignor Richard H. Speltz who passed on from this world on March 7, 1999.
He was born Feb. 1, 1908, in Winona County to Henry and Josephine (Jung) Speltz. Monsignor Speltz was a 1929 graduate of St. Mary’s College and was ordained on June 3, 1933, in the St. Paul Cathedral.
He served as the associate pastor at St. Mary’s Church in Caledonia, Minn., from 1933 through 1936 and then as associate pastor at St. Augustine’s in Austin, Minn., from 1936 to 1939. He served as pastor of St. John’s in Johnsburg, Minn., from 1939 to 1943.
Monsignor Speltz entered the U.S. Army in 1943 and served in the South Pacific during World War II until his honorable discharge in 1946.
He then became the pastor of Crucifixion Parish in La Crescent in 1946 and served there for 19 years. During this period he oversaw the construction of a Catholic school, convent, church and catechetical center. He also oversaw the building of a new church at Holy Cross Catholic Parish in Dakota, Minn.
In 1965, Monsignor Speltz became pastor at St. Mary’s Church in Caledonia, Minn., where he served until being named pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in Brownsville, Minn., in 1970. He served there until his retirement in 1984.
Monsignor Speltz had a love of music, especially the violin, which he had played with the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra and the Winona Symphony Orchestra. He was a member of the la Crescent Knights of Columbus Council 5115 and the Gittens-Leidel American Legion Post 595 in La Crescent.