SEEDED IN FAITH
Baby brother Joseph Guettler, right, the youngest of George F. and Christine Guettler’s eight children, gets his sister, Mary Elizabeth Noelke, laughing as the
two and brother, George E. Guettler, met to talk about their parents’ devotion to their Catholic faith and to recollect stories of their childhood.
Pioneering Guettler family
shared success with church
BY PATTIE DURHAM
On acres of land along Delaware Avenue where
cows once grazed and roosters crowed, now
stands the bastion of Catholicism in St. Lucie
County: St. Anastasia Grade School, John Carroll
High School and St. Anastasia Church, the first parish in St.
Lucie County. All thanks to a generous act of faith by George
F. and Christine Guettler.
The development of the property began with a chance
visit by two young brothers to the sunny shores of Florida,
which in turn led to the migration of an extensive German
Catholic immigrant family from snowy Minnesota. When
George and Leo Guettler traveled from Cologne, Minnesota,
to Melbourne, Florida, little did they know that their fates
and that of their siblings would be so greatly altered.
Born into a German immigrant community in Cologne,
the young men were educated in Minnesota, steeped in a
deep and abiding Catholic faith. They had attended Catholic
schools in Minnesota and went to work for a parish
priest in the Melbourne area after their arrival. As there
were no restaurants at that time, one of the Catholic families
agreed to let the brothers eat their meals with them while
they worked on land the parish priest owned. When the
two returned to Cologne, George began corresponding with
Christine Knecht, one of the daughters in the family that
had fed them, who had graduated from high school and
was teaching school in the Melbourne area.
After a year of correspondence, George and Leo made
their way south again and George married Christine at St. >>