Edward and Elizabeth Guettler sat for a portrait with their nine surviving
children (son, Edward, died in 1933 in a car crash on Orange Avenue) at
their 50th wedding anniversary celebration. In the back row, from left,
are sons George, Frank, Leo and Vincent. In the middle row, from left, are
daughters: Florence Willems, Dolores Jacquin, Sister Rose Germaine, O.P.,
Marie Hoeffner and Amanda LIns.
Her father, Jeanie said, spied her mother in a group of girls
attending a festival near his hometown of Cologne, Minnesota,
and said to his friends, “That’s the girl I am going to
marry.” The girl, Lillian Heitkamp, lived on a farm out in the
countryside. Her father was an Episcopalian and wasn’t too
keen on his daughter dating a Catholic guy. One evening,
Vincent picked up Lillian for a date and said, “Look around,
this is the last time you are going to see this,” as they drove
through the fields. They went to his sister’s home to get
dressed properly for a train ride — women in that time had
to wear nice dresses, heels, hats and gloves to travel — and
headed to Florida.
Lillian lived in a rooming house near the ice cream factory
and worked each day making sodas and sundaes for customers
in the small ice cream shop at the front of the business.
One day, the sheriff stopped by, Jeanie said. He told Vincent
and his parents that he had received a telegram from a sheriff
in Minnesota who said he was coming to Fort Pierce to look
for Lillian Heitkamp and return her to her father, as she had
The two young people desperately wanted to get married
so they could stay together, but Lillian was only 20 and
couldn’t marry without her father’s signature. Later that
day, Edward and Elizabeth took the young couple on a trip
to Georgia, as they had discovered Lillian could marry there
without parental permission. They found a Catholic priest in
Brunswick, Georgia, who married the couple on Nov. 18, 1926.
This union lasted for 70 years and produced 13 children.
But this branch of the Guettler family was not the only one
to produce many children. All of the others did as well —
with Leo Guettler raising the largest number of children, 16,
two of whom were adopted. All of these Guettlers filled the
pews at St. Anastasia Catholic Church and the classrooms at
St. Anastasia Catholic School. Anyone who attended Catholic
school in Fort Pierce most likely had one, or maybe even two,
of Edward and Elizabeth’s vast family in their class.
The older cousins laugh when they recall that there might
be eight or more students in their grade at the Catholic high
school, but the others would all be cousins which left them
no one to date. In the late 1950s, Leo moved his family to Chipley,
Florida. There are probably plenty of Guettler descendants
working in various careers in Chipley, too.
Serving All of Your Real Estate
Needs on the Treasure Coast!
Live the ultimate Florida lifestyle with fishing
& boating in the beautiful Sunrise City.
We specialize in Waterfront, Residential,
Commercial Real Estate Sales
and Property Management.
visit us online at
Beverly Butt, Co-Owner
Karen Selack, Co-Owner
946 Seaway Dr. • Suite A • Fort Pierce, FL 34949
office: 772-465-5100 fax: 772-489-0077 email: ABCRealtyBB@aol.com