By Starrla Cray
WINSTED, MN Paul and Bonnie Quast have plenty to celebrate this year their 57th wedding anniversary, three grandchildren’s weddings, Bonnie’s 20th year on the Winstock committee, and now, being selected as grand marshals for the 40th annual Winsted Summer Festival.
“When Dale Maus called and said we’d been chosen to be grand marshals, I had to run back to my calendar,” Bonnie said. “August is really filling up.”
The parade starts at 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11. Paul and Bonnie’s grandson, Jesse Cafferty, is getting married the day before.
“Two weeks later, we’re heading down to Milwaukee for another one,” Bonnie added, explaining that it’ll be the wedding of her granddaughter, Alyssa Hintzen.
The third grandchild who tied the knot recently was Jesse’s sister, Amber (Cafferty) Hove, in May.
“This is the year of weddings, and next year will be graduations,” Bonnie said.
The Quasts have seven children, 15 grandchildren (plus two that passed away), and two great-grandchildren.
“At Christmas, it’s wall-to-wall people here,” Bonnie said.
Paul and Bonnie have been active in the Winsted community for over half a century.
Paul grew up in town, one of 19 children in his family. Starting in 1953, he spent 18 months in Alaska with the US Army. In 1957, he and his brother, Ray, purchased their father’s business, Quast Transfer.
Paul and Bonnie got married Sept. 8, 1956, the same day and year as the late former Mayor Don Guggemos and his wife, Helen.
Coincidentally, Tom and LuAnn Ollig got married Sept. 8 years later.
Tom and Bonnie are both long-standing members of the Winsted City Council. Bonnie was first elected in 1984, and has served all but two years since.
“It’s been a good run; I’ve really enjoyed it, and we’ve accomplished tons,” she said, giving the industrial park as one example.
Working with sponsorships for Winstock, Bonnie has been able to connect with company owners and encourage them to come to Winsted, including RAM Buildings and Advantage Mailing (now Impact Proven Solutions).
“I was in the right place at the right time, and we got them both,” she said.
As a council member, Bonnie shows her commitment to the citizens of Winsted in numerous ways.
“I would do anything for the people of this town,” she said in a November 2009 Herald Journal article.
Bonnie takes her role seriously, listening to both praise and criticism.
“That’s what we’re here for,” she said. “For every two bad calls we get, where people are venting their thoughts or concerns, I always get one thank you. I got a thank you yesterday from a business owner, and it’s nice to hear.”
Bonnie said it would be great if more citizens would attend council meetings, read the city council articles in the Herald Journal, or watch the meetings on the local cable station.
Sometimes, residents’ complaints are simply a matter of misunderstanding.
“One call I’ll never forget was on Christmas Eve,” Bonnie said. “It was during the horrible snowstorms a few years ago, and a guy called didn’t give his name and started chewing me out.”
He said he saw two people in the snowplow, and that the city should not be paying two employees for a job that could be done by one person, Bonnie recalled.
“About that time, the plow was just coming up the hill to our place,” she said.
So, while the resident waited on the line, Bonnie went outside to check. As it turned out, the second person was Mayor Steve Stotko, who was riding along to make sure there were no issues around town he needed to know about.
When Bonnie told the caller that the second person was the mayor, and that he was riding for free, the man hung up on her.
“I do the best I can with what I’ve got,” Bonnie said.
A few of Bonnie’s past contributions include serving as director of the Sunday school program at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Winsted, serving on committees in the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District, and being selected as the 1990 Merit Mother of the Year by American Mothers, Inc. of Minnesota.
Winsted’s summer best
Each year at the Winsted Summer Festival, Paul and Bonnie look forward to seeing their friends and neighbors.
“My favorite part is Bratbusters,” Bonnie said. “It’s so family-oriented, and so picnic-like. It’s almost like when people would get together in the ‘30s and ‘40s.”
The 25th annual Bratbusters will take place at Mill Reserve Park (by the lake) from 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9.
For more information about Winsted Summer Festival activities, check out the preview article that appears in this week’s Herald Journal.