Bye Robin Delaney
Fort Madison Daily Democrat
West Point resident Marvin Menke has been inducted into the Iowa Knights of Columbus Hall of Fame. Menke, a member of St. Mary Parish, West Point, joined the Knights in 1963. He has been passionately involved with the Knights of Columbus #3905 of Houghton for the past 59 years. “I took an interest 50-some years ago and just enjoy it, the traveling, meeting people, meeting the priests,” he said.
Menke has held all the offices of his council, from warden to grand knight, as well as serving as financial secretary. At the assembly level, he has been faithful navigator and faithful comptroller. For many years, Menke assisted on the traveling second- and third-degree team in his area.
In 1975, he began his long run in state council leadership. He served as district deputy for almost 10 years, as director of membership, family and community, and was elected as an executive committee member.
As director of new council development, Menke was instrumental in starting 13 new councils, of which he is most proud. He received the top recruiter award, personally recruiting more than 100 new members — the second highest number in Iowa.
He has dedicated many years and countless hours to the grueling task of retention chairman, a role that he says exposed him to some of the worst stories of fraternal neglect. “I would call and send letters trying to find out why they wanted to leave the Knights. I would make a hundred phone calls on Sundays talking to people and trying to save a Knight member (from leaving).”
Far from being burned out, he continues in this effort to help brother Knights see the value of the organization. Menke and his wife Rita attended their first state convention in 1962 and have attended each one since then. They say attending conventions and state meetings have been the best of times of their lives because they love the “best-friend feeling” with the Knights.
Menke is a veteran and was part of the Honor Flight to see the war memorials in Washington, D.C., last September. He continues to volunteer at the state and local levels, as well as for his assembly.
His “dedication to the principles of the Knights have marked Marv’s life for many years and (that dedication) has not faded one bit,” it was said at his induction into the Hall of Fame.