By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN The name “Gordy Wetter” and the words “Delano development” have been nearly inseparable for the past 40 years.
Wetter, a former mayor of Delano, was, and still is, instrumental in bringing business and prosperity to the community.
“I enjoyed my time serving Delano, and I still do,” Wetter said.
Delano residents may know Wetter as an initial investor in the Crow River Bank, or as the man who helped to create the Delano Senior Center.
Wetter also brought about one of Delano’s first housing developments, added an apartment complex, and started the industrial park.
In 1969, Wetter became president of the Delano Community Development Corporation. From there, he became increasingly involved in serving the citizens of his community.
“I was asked to serve on the city council, which I did,” Wetter said.
As a council member, Wetter stood out to Delano’s mayor at the time, Lawrence Rieder. Rieder told Wetter, “You’d make a good mayor.”
“That’s what got me involved,” Wetter said.
He served three terms as mayor of Delano, starting in 1970. He didn’t serve the terms consecutively, and his last term ended in 1990.
“I represented the people,” Wetter said. “I tried to fill their needs.”
Before becoming mayor, Wetter had a wide range of unique experiences.
He served in the US Army during World War II and entered the European theater at LaHarve, France, in 1944.
After he retired from the service in 1947, Wetter worked for Minneapolis Moline and had his own trucking business.
In college, he studied poultry and animal medication, working with the University of Minnesota to produce healthier and more productive chickens.
He began promoting high-density chicken houses in Litchfield in 1960.
Throughout the years, Wetter also enjoyed working as a businessman.
“I had several businesses in Delano,” he said, including an athletic store called the Locker Room and a nation-wide brokerage business called GW Brokerage.
Wetter also worked for the Delano Cooperative Creamery, AMPI, and the American Dairy Association.
He also helped to form the Delano Lions Club, was chairman of the Highway 12 corridor committee, and served on the Delano Planning Commission.
As a lifelong Delano resident, Wetter noticed that the town has “changed tremendously.” There are many more businesses, now, he said.
Developers often contact Wetter when they are looking for a certain number of acres to use.
“That’s where I get involved,” he said.
Delano’s industrial park is still growing, and Wetter has been attending meetings regarding potential development within the next 16 to 18 months.
He can’t yet release the details, but confirmed that “there is more development coming.”
In addition to working with developers, Wetter enjoys woodworking and gardening. He usually gives away his creations for raffles.
He also likes to volunteer at church. Wetter’s grandchildren are the seventh generation to attend the Methodist Church in Delano.
Wetter’s wife, Marilyn, is also involved in the community.
“She worked as a secretary for the Delano School District for 29 years,” Wetter said.
Two of Wetter’s granddaughters were crowned as Delano royalty.
Emily Hutter, who attends college at St. Cloud State University, was the Delano princess in 2007. Elizabeth Hutter, who is a registered nurse, was crowned Miss Delano in 2000.
“Our family is all here in Delano,” Wetter said. “We’re a family that’s very involved in Delano, and we’re a very close family.”