Six of the thirteen Past Exalted Rulers of St. Louis Elks Lodge #9. Picture take during the P.E.R. Night Monday February 1, 2021.
PAST EXALTED RULERS ASSOCIATION — Article III, Section 18 of the Constitution of the Order permits and Section 13.190 of the Laws of the Order mandates that there be an association of Past Exalted Rulers of the Lodge in good standing. The association advises the Lodge and conducts such programs it elects for the good of the Lodge. It elects Officers and adopts By‑Laws or other regulatory provisions. It should meet monthly. The first meeting night in February of each year is designated as Past Exalted Rulers’ Night. For information, refer to page 17 of the Ritual of the Local Lodges (Code 511500).
The 13 current P.E.R.s are; James Allmeroth, Michael Conley, Robert Dixon, Hal Dygert, Kurt Eggerding, Mark Gabauer, Frank Kilcullen, Kurt Lord, Timothy Luby, Jim Martin, Doug McWard, Doug Reuther, and Mark R. Zust.
2009 Exalted Ruler James Allmeroth. I joined in the lodge in 1981 or so as a pool member mostly. Jim Peevler was the ER. I don’t even remember the guys in the chair in front of me, but the next year I was asked to take the position of Lecturing Knight, midway through that term the ER quit, and both other chairs got vacated, and I became the ER. Wow! So you think we have had issues now, it was worse then, for sure. Jim LaMartina Art Michel became the next ER and Jim LaMartina followed him. Non of us had any experience as members of the BPOE. We somehow managed to get through, and the lodge continued. IN 1984 I lost my job, and found that I was an alcoholic, so I took my leave from most social organizations and activities and simply stayed sober. I lost contact with the lodge, and concentrated on other activities. (TRL to proof 2/3/21). Member since 1998.
2010 & 1993 Exalted Ruler Michael Conley. Missouri Elks Vice President 2011, District Deputy 1999, Member since 1980, Life Member
2014 Exalted Ruler Robert Dixon. Per Bob, “I was ER in 2014/15, following three term ER Jerry Seger. The lodge at that time was much different than it is today. First of all, we were much smaller ( under 300 members ) and significantly more constrained financially ( there was a point in time when our bar orders were only accepted via “cash on delivery” terms ). The middle of the bar tappers were infamously known as the Mason Dixon Line with attending Hatfield and McCoy feuds a regular occurrence. Vulgarity was beyond belief and generally kept most females away ( 60 people attending a steak night in the less vulgar hall was deemed to be a “big crowd”). In summary, we were closer to a “south city tavern” than an Elk’s Lodge and the Metro East District Leaders and the Missouri Elks Association knew it. On more than one occasion, our then State Sponsor Ted Callicutt considered pulling our charter. Although it sounded kind of funny at the time, many members proudly referred to our lodge as “the independent republic of # 9.” Following rules, especially relative to spending money, was virtually non-existent ( the conversion of our fresh water pool into a salt water pool was accomplished without a lodge floor discussion, let alone a vote ). “ “Walking into that mess according to PER Mark Gabauer was “like catching a falling knife.” With the help of Leading Knight Doug McWard and other officers, we started what we referred to as “a cultural revolution” with the goal of becoming an “Elks Lodge.” My marching orders from our District Deputy were simple, “Give the lodge back to its members, it’s their lodge.” I believe that we succeeded. Doug McWard followed my year as ER and built on my themes and goals with his “devotion to transparency.” Pete added going after grants during his year so as to add on to our continually improving financial situation as well as starting our blood drives and health days ( as a step towards the lodge as a whole developing a community focus beyond the wonderful but unfortunately isolated work of the veterans committee ). Kurt Eggerding followed in Pete’s footsteps etc etc. It is fun looking back on those days. Doug, Kurt and I often reminisce amongst ourselves, wishing Pete could join us…..”to all of our absent members.” In addition, Bob served as Leading Knight in 2013/14, was Metro East District #4780 Vice President in 2019/20, currently currently Chairs the P.E.R.’s and the the Golf Committee, and has been a member since 2006.
1987 Exalted Ruler Hal Dygert. Followed Gino Lamartina. The Chesterfield Lodge emerged with 1881 during my year as ER. Member since 1971, Life Member.
2017 Exalted Ruler Kurt Eggerding. That year we purchased new meeting room seating and contributed older seating to Cedar Hill Elks Lodge #2678 for flood relief. Initiated Compliance Committee. Explored a building expansion. Member since 2008.
1995 Exalted Ruler Mark Gabauer. Per Mark. “Not understanding what the Elks were all about but knowing the Lodge offered a pool and swim team fit my needs as well as my families lead to applying for membership to the Lodge. I was initiated into the BPOE Lodge in 1990. It didn’t take long to realize the meaning of Elks Care and Elks Share, plus after a few beers I just could not keep my mouth shut and soon asked to volunteer. After being a Swim team Parent Rep. for 3 years and Pool chair for 2 I started my rotation as an Officer of the Lodge. With the Lecturing Knight refusing to move to the next (Loyal) chair, my first officer position was the Loyal Knight. The following year I was ready and was voted Leading Knight which lasted all of 3 weeks before the New Exalted Ruler announced his business had him moving to Lake of the Ozarks (Osage Beach, Missouri). After a quick floor vote, I became St. Louis Lodge #9 Exalted Ruler for the fiscal year of 1996-95 which was the year family kids took over the Lodge. The Gabauer family of 5 kids combined with Leading Knight Rick Farhney family of 5 kids plus Loyal Knight Don Mueller 3 kids changed the Lodge to wet footprints, basketball bouncing plus hide and seek. If you’re wondering, my Lecturing Knight was a young bachelor at the time, Rich Dygert. (aka Uncle Richey to all officer kids.). During my year as E.R. the swim team hit an all time high of over 110 kids. Also my year as Exalted Ruler I attended the National Convention in New Orleans during which the historic motion was passed allowing Women to apply for membership. As I look back on my year as being elected to the chair of Fidelity I remember lots of meetings, doubling my annual bar tab, and meeting lots of fantastic and generous new friends. I will always be proud of having members voting to have me represent them as their Exalted Ruler for Lodge #9. Continuing my Elk journey the following year I was elected to a 5 year Trustee position. All of the Officer positions are volunteer requiring a huge time commitment. The pay back to all of us who volunteer are the little things. In 2002 I was Elk of the year which was special. In 2020 I became a Life Member and during my 32 years as an Elk I’ve been a Board member and/or Officer for 15 years which tells me I still have not learned to keep my mouth shut and keep my hand down.” Member since 1990, Life Member.
1991 Exalted Ruler Frank Kilcullen. When I became an officer we merged with Chesterfield 2711. Became ER 1990 (followed Hal Dygert) when we merged with the Overland Lodge. Member since 1987, Life Member.
2021 Exalted Ruler Kurt Lord Kurt joined the ranks of the P.E.R.’s April 5th, 2022. He withstood two mandatory Saint Louis County shutdowns during Covid-19 and was at the helm during the Club Room gut rehab. Oversaw a new diving board, new volleyball pavilion, successful holiday clothing drive, the return of Missouri Lotto, unveiled the Larry the Elk statue, and spearheaded the St. Louis County Grant. While E.R. he personally earned the Grand Exalted Ruler ‘Making a Difference Special Citation’ while the Lodge achieve the Grand Exalted Ruler’s ‘Award For Excellence’ ( a first) and the G.E.R’s ‘Making a Difference Special Citation.’ Member since 2016.
2020 & 2019 E.R. Timothy Luby. While behind the Fidelity podium E.R. Luby witnessed the first Kayak with a Vet, Holiday Coat Drives, a $119,000 Queen of Hearts winner, additional Americanism Rituals, contemporary merchandise, redesigned and solvent newsletter, formulation of the Site Strategy Committee, a renewed sense of volunteerism, drove the quest for a stand alone website, and spearheaded All American Lodge Certification pursuit. During both years as E.R. was awarded the Grand Exalted Ruler Special Commendation Award while the Lodge achieved the G.E.R. Making a Difference Special Citations. Was the Top New Member recruiter in Missouri (2019, 2018, & 2017), Elk of the Year in 2017, and has been a member since 2013.
1981 Exalted Ruler Jim Martin. The lodge at that time on Ladue Road was 1881, and I became Exalted Ruler after the Current ER, Leading Knight and Loyal knight were either retired due to a change in employment or expelled but I became the ER. Too bad because I had very little experience in the chairs and had only become an Elk in 1980. We had very short Elk meetings, and then poker for those who wanted to play. The current Elks Lodge is far more fraternal as a group than we were. I recruited Jim LaMartina as Leading Knight, Art Michel as Loyal Knight, and can’t even remember who was the Lecturing Knight. Along with apathy we had “swim pool Elks” and “bar Elks”. The best thing that happened during that time was the initial employment of Peggy Lowe now Conley. Members since 1978.
2015 Exalted Ruler Doug McWard. While Exalted “Exhausted” Ruler Doug oversaw the installation of the additional televisions in the bar area as well as getting the glass doors installed separating the bar from the rental hall. In addition, he was the Officer of the Year + Metro East District Director in 2020, Chaired Wellness (Blood Drive, Health Fair, Organ Donations) in 2020, 2019, & 2018, was State Chaplain + Metro East Officer at Large in 2019, Officer of the year in 2017 & 2011, Pool Chair in 2012, 2011, 2010, & 2009, Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2018, 2017, & 2015, Leading Knight in 2015 & 2013, Volleyball Chair in 2013, Loyal Night in 2012, Lecturing Knight in 2012, and has been a member since 2004.
2002 & 2001 Exalted Ruler Doug Reuther. Did back to back as ER because the Leading knight had no ambition to be ER. We remodeled the Hall and had a new roof and A/C installed. Started the Christmas auction and brought back the 100 Club. Member since 1992.
2004 Exalted Ruler Dr. Mark Zust. Dr. Mark Zust is a general dentist and practices in St. Peters, Missouri. Dr. Zust is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry and is a past President of the Greater St. Louis Dental Society and of the Missouri Dental Association. He has served on the American Dental Association Board of Trustees representing the ADA Sixth District. Has served as Lecturing Knight, Loyal Knight, Leading Knight and then as Exalted Ruler. He lives with his wife Phyllis in Weldon Spring, Mo and have four children and eight grandchildren. Member since 1994.