Frank Moellenberg (1891 – 1941)

     I was raised by my stepfather, Ernest C. Diaz, so I included his family in my genealogical research.  However, Dad’s father, Joseph Diaz, immigrated from Mexico and his mother Marie Moellenberg was a first generation American born to German immigrants.  Finding information on his family has not been easy.

    We know Joseph’s father was Ulalio Diaz and his mother’s maiden name was Betty Ramiro but do not have any information about them or the generations before them.  We have a little bit more information on the Moellenberg family.  It turns out Dad’s uncle, Frank Moellenberg, left a significant legacy in St. Louis.

st-boniface-catholic-church

St. Boniface Catholic Church in St. Louis prior to closing in 2005

    Frank Moellenberg was born in Cologne, Germany on August 30, 1891 to John Moellenberg and Adele Moellenberg nee Borman.  In 1893, John and Adele immigrated with their family to St. Louis, MO, where Dad’s mom, Marie Moellenberg, was born in 1896.

     The Moellenbergs tended to be entrepreneurs.  John owned a grocery store, brother Henry owned a gas station and Frank would become own a jewlery and optical shop in Carondolet.

     In 1917, 26-year-old Frank Moellenberg joined the Army and saw action in France, where he was wounded at Argonne.  When he returned from World War I, Frank Moellnberg joined American Legion Post 162, which met at his local parish, St. Boniface Catholic Church.  Frank would remain an active supporter of St. Boniface until his death.

     Frank also served a Republican election judge in St. Louis City, Missouri.  In 1923, 32-year-old Frank Moelleberg married 29-year-old Johanna Mueller.  Frank and Johanna would have two sons, Richard and John.

     Frank continued to run his successful jewelry and optical business, while leading American Legion Post 162.  On March 28, 1941, 49-year-old Frank Moellenberg started feeling poorly, so he went to the Veteran’s Hospital at Jefferson Barracks.  Frank suffered from chronic kidney trouble but heart disease was making him feel ill.  A little over two weeks later, Frank Moellenberg passed away on April 14, 1941.

     His funeral would be at his beloved St. Boniface Church before he was interred at St. Peter and Paul Cemetery.  The other members of American Legion Post 162 voted to name the post in honor of Frank.  From that day until it closed, it was called the Frank Moellenberg American Legion Post 162.

     St. Boniface Church lasted a little longer than the post but it closed in 2005 due to a shrinking congregation.  Today, it is the Ivory Theater.

     Frank Moellenberg may not be well known in St. Louis today but in the 1920s and 1930s he was an important part of  the city’s fabric.

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