Pomeroy - St. Mary
POMEROY - By 1875, Pomeroy was a growing community. In the early years of the parish, priests from Fort Dodge attended the spiritual needs of the community.
The first St. Mary's Church was built around 1881. It was destroyed in the Pomeroy Cyclone on July 7, 1893. All of the records were destroyed and the entire church and its contents were scattered over a wide area. The tabernacle as left standing and the chalice, communion cup and the surrounding fixtures were left undisturbed.
Father M. C. Daly, pastor of St. Thomas Parish, Manson, had Pomeroy assigned to him as a mission at that time. He worked diligently with the parishioners to improvise for the continued celebration of the sacraments and to replace the destroyed church. Although it is unclear, the cemetery property was thought to have been acquired around 1885.
Father John McAuliffe succeeded Father Daly in Manson in 1902 and continued to care for St. Mary's until 1909. Father Edward J. Neppel was appointed the first resident pastor at this time. Father Neppel lived in various homes in the community until the first rectory was completed in 1910. At the same time, St. Joseph Parish, Palmer, became a mission of St. Mary Parish.
The parochial school, built at a cost of $12,000, opened in the fall of 1915. Sister Theodosia and Sister Alexander, Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Family of Dubuque, were the first teachers. The school was a combination sisters' home, boarding school and day school. At one time, approximately 60 boarders from the towns of Palmer, Jolley, Knoke and Manson stayed at the school from Monday to Friday. From 1928 to 1932 eleven grades were taught at the school.
Father Joseph M. Neppel succeeded his older brother as pastor in 1923. In 1934, Father Richard Graf became pastor.
The following priests have served Pomeroy and Palmer: Father James Kane (1938-1944), Father Nobert Boes (1944-1954), Father Raymond Calkins (1954-1955), Father Louis Greving (1955-1956), Father Thomas Lawless (1956-1958), Father Gabriel O'Rourke (1958-1959), Father Linus Eisenbacher (1959-1961) and Father Alfred E. McCoy (1961-1965).
During the tenure of Father J. Charles Yetmar (1965-1971), the parish took on a new sense of direction. In 1967, the school was closed due to declining enrollment. The building continued to be used for weekly CCD classes and storage.
In the spring of 1966, plans were underway for the construction of a new church. When Adolph Peiffer offered a very generous gift in 1967, a drive was begun and enough money was pledged to make the construction a reality. The new church was completed in August of 1970.
Father Lawrence McCarty (1971-1975), directed the construction of a free-standing bell tower. The bell from the old church was installed.
These priests also served the parish: Father D. William Wingert (1975-1977), Father Robert Keefe (1977-1981), Father Robert Leiting (1981-1982), Father Edward Young (1982-1984) and Father Peter Fransco (1984-1991).
Shortly after Father Richard Macke's appointment to the parish in 1991, the school building was demolished by fire and a double garage with storage space was constructed.
After Father Macke's retirement in 1998, the parish was clustered with St. Joseph Parish, Palmer, and St. Thomas Parish in Manson. St. Joseph Parish was then closed. Father Jerome A. Degen, pastor of St. Thomas, Manson, was appointed pastor of St. Mary Parish. Currently, Father Dale George is pastor of the parish.
The parish now serves 72 households with 160 members. There are 38 children attending the parish religious education program.