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Say hello to the Wisconsin Worthy Grand Matron

The Worthy Grand Matron of the Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star is Brenda Gaulke of River Falls. She is pictured with her husband, Carl. Submitted photo

By Milt Helmer, RiverTown Multimedia contributor

The Worthy Grand Matron of the Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star is Brenda Gaulke of River Falls.

Gaulke, who beams with enthusiasm, has a deep seeded love of the Eastern Star. She grew up in a home located in River Falls at the "Swinging Bridge," a local landmark at the entrance to Glen Park. She spent her childhood in what she called "my own private playground."

Her family consisted of her dad, Chuck Kelly, who was a lineman for the city of River Falls and also a member of the fire department. Her mom Romelle taught first grade at Greenwood Elementary. She was the poster child for a small town girl.

Gaulke attended school in River Falls and later met and married Carl Gaulke, as she says "a super nice guy from Spooner."

As she put it "My Masonic journey is quite different." Her family was not steeped in Masonry, so when she was asked if she had a relative who was a mason, she said nope. But she did ask her mother and yes, her father was and her mother were members of the Eastern Star. She joined Job's daughters and went on to serve as honored queen, Bethel Guardian. In 1981 she joined the Eastern Star and continued on to serve in the top job of Worthy Grand Matron.

Sister Gaulke brings a unique perspective to the Grand line since she and her Worthy Grand Patron David Schreier are both active secretaries of their chapters. During her year, she plans to make some changes in the way the Chapter is viewed.

"Ritual is very important; however, I would like to also make membership in Star more fun," she said.

During her travels in the "line," Gaulke has visited with and asked questions of why members take an interest in and attend their chapters. This "on the road campaign" made it not only fun but informative. Gaulke's goal in the East is to not only retain members but to attract new members by making their experience more fun along with the ritual. She really wants to focus on the lighter side of Star membership.

To better communicate she has adopted a program that will provide monthly mailings to all members that before were sent to only officers. She plans on changing more things up. Everyone will have a chance to do the work, not just traveling teams. With more members involved she feels they will feel more connected to their chapter.

Watch for more changes coming up with 2 exemplifications in Tomah this year. One of the changes will be a special initiation held on the Wednesday night of Grand Chapter put on by the Grand Chapter officers as their final official act.

Watch the Wisconsin Masonic Journal for more information on Grand officers for the coming year.