By Starrla Cray
WINSTED, MN This year’s Winsted Summer Festival parade grand marshals, Tom and Mary Wiemiller, are connected to their community in countless ways.
Tom, for example, served on the Winsted Fire Department for 25 years, was an EMT for 16 years, and served on the Winsted City Council for 20 years. Today, he’s still on the fire board, is a driver for Meals on Wheels, serves on the honor guard for the Winsted American Legion, and uses his electrician skills to help at the Winstock Country Music Festival.
He and Mary are both active at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Winsted, and they’ve sung in the choir “forever.”
“It’s close to 40 years by now,” Mary said.
Like her husband, Mary is also passionate about serving others. She has been involved with the Winsted Arts Council since its formation six years ago, and volunteers at an orphanage in Mexico each winter.
During the school year, Mary often substitute teaches for Holy Trinity School in Winsted and the Dassel-Cokato School District.
“The six grandkids keep us quite busy, too,” Mary said.
Their son, David, has four children Jacob, Alex, Sam, and Reese; while their daughter, Krista, has two children Anna and Ellie.
“It’s been a good life here in Winsted; it’s a great place to raise a family,” Mary said.
Loving and serving
Tom and Mary celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last fall. The couple met while Tom was in the Air Force stationed in South Dakota, which is where Mary grew up.
Except for his four years of military service, Tom has lived in Winsted his entire life.
“I’m related to half the town,” Tom said, explaining that the Wiemiller family farm was homesteaded back in 1856.
Tom, the son of Alfons and Isabelle Wiemiller, graduated from Holy Trinity High School in 1961 and enlisted in the Air Force at age 18. He earned a living as an electrician, and retired from Entegris in Chaska in 2008.
Mary’s career centered on education, and she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from St. Cloud State University.
“I was an English teacher for 11 years, and finished my career as a counselor the last 15 years,” she said.
Her first teaching job was in Hutchinson, and she then taught for about nine years at Holy Trinity in Winsted. As a counselor, Mary worked in Lester Prairie for five years, and Annandale for 10 years.
Despite their busy schedules, the Wiemillers make family a priority.
“We always had a family meal together,” Mary said, adding that their kids joke that they were “sticklers” about it.
The Wiemillers also make time for volunteerism. Serving wasn’t always convenient like when Tom would get EMT calls during a holiday gathering or the middle of the night but the family felt it was worth the effort.
“We didn’t think much of it,” Mary said. “You kind of just roll with the punches.”
Winsted Summer Festival
One of many events the Wiemillers volunteered with was the Winsted Summer Festival, back when it was called American Legion Days and was sponsored by Legion Post 407.
In recent years, the Wiemillers have spent the festival with family, enjoying a burger and a beer at the park while catching up with friends.
“Our kids usually come out, and our six grandkids have always loved the parade,” Mary said.
The parade promises to be extra special this year, with Tom and Mary riding in a place of honor. The public is encouraged to stop out and see them in the grand parade, which starts at 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14.