by Cori Hilsgen
Margaret Molus is not a person who enjoys being the center of attention in the middle of a large crowd but instead prefers to be volunteering where help is needed at local functions.
Because of her many years of helping with local causes and serving others, Molus was recently selected to be the grand marshal for the annual Fourth of July parade, organized by the St. Joseph Lions Club.
“I was very surprised when I was chosen,” Molus said. “It’s an honor I didn’t expect.”
Molus, 82, has lived in St. Joseph all of her life. She grew up in a family of eight children in the John and Esther Bechtold family. Her siblings include Arnie and Herb Bechtold, Agnes Steichen, Ann Reischel, and Joe, Dave and Don Bechtold.
When she married her husband, George, they continued to live in St. Joseph, first in town and later out of town in a house they built. They were married for 49 years.
“I like St. Jo(seph),” Molus said.
Molus and her husband were both active volunteers in the area, including at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict.
After George died, Molus said she was somewhat lonely after her children had moved away from home and she felt she needed something more to do. When people started asking for her help, Molus said she had a hard time saying “no” to requests. She also found it fun to be out doing things with and for other people.
Molus said she has been able to meet and establish many connections with people through her parish, the Church of St. Joseph Catholic Church. She considers the parishioners to be like a large family and said she feels it would have been harder to get to know people if she hadn’t been a member of the parish.
Molus has helped with the Catholic church’s annual Fourth of July festival for about 70 years. She began helping wait tables when she was 12 or 13 years old and has been helping annually since then. Currently, she coordinates the intake of items for the festival.
Some of the other many things Molus has volunteered with include representing the parish by preparing once-a-month meals for Place of Hope for about 12 years. This involved preparing three or four turkeys, mashed potatoes, gravy, rice and other foods in her home and transporting it to Place of Hope in St. Cloud. Usually, about 80-100 people were served at these meals. She recently retired from this position because it was becoming harder for her to carry the large containers of food.
The Catholic church has four groups that help with dining services for funerals. Molus is in charge of one of those groups. There are several church cleaning groups for the parish and she also helps with one of those groups.
Molus helps serve school lunches once each week at All Saints Academy-St. Joseph campus during the school year.
“I like the school,” she said. “The kids always seem so happy there.”
Molus is a member of the St. Joseph Y2K Lions and serves on various committees with the group, including coordinating people to help at the St. John’s Dining Services and helping with brat sales.
She volunteers with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, helping with mailings for the College of St. Benedict.
Molus has been a member of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 328 of St. Joseph for 42 years. Her husband served in the Army and her twin brothers, Dave and Don, served in the Marines.
Molus said she feels fortunate with all of her volunteering, she has always had other wonderful volunteers helping work alongside her.
Margaret has four children, who along with their spouses include Sandra and David Woods, Mark and Jackie Molus, Gregory and Lori Molus, and Ronald and Dee Dee Molus.
She has eight grandchildren who include Mitchell and Cole Woods; Matthew, Luke, Andrea, Maxwell and Jack Molus; and Tristen Mortenson.
St. Joseph Lions parade co-chairperson Joanne Bechtold said they usually have about 100 units in the annual Fourth of July parade.
Bechtold and her husband, Joe, along with Ken and Mary Stommes, have been parade co-chairs helping coordinate the annual parade for a number of years.
Float categories for the parade include Best Dressed Business, Cool Youth, Wow! Extreme!, Classy Vehicles, Animals and a Fourth of July theme.
The St. Joseph Lion’s Club was chartered in 1964 when a group of citizens organized the club, hoping to improve the quality of life in St. Joseph. The club contributes to many local projects.
The annual parade is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 4, in St. Joseph.