Michael Jolls,Daniel Jolls

Rev. William Netstraeter

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In 2019, the parish archives of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Wilmette were carefully studied to preserve the legacy of Father William Netstraeter a major civic leader who's life perfectly embodies the American dream. William Netstraeter (1843 - 1924) was born and raised in Westphalia, Germany before emigrating to the United States to complete his studies for the priesthood. At the age of 30, he agreed to be pastor of the distraught St. Joseph's Parish, located in a rural German community in Chicagoland's forest northern territory known as Grosse Pointe. In less than a decade, Fr. Netstraeter turned around the parish's financial troubles and began major expansions. At the same time, he made significant strides in local government and developed a real-estate business that grew the community. As the 1900s progressed, Fr. Netstraeter orchestrated a variety of institutions that would surpass his lifetime, and that have become landmarks of Chicago's North Shore. His achievements would contribute posthumously for over a century, most notably, a legal dispute involving Nazi Germany. For the first time, all of the known history has been established in a detailed biography of a German immigrant who became an American leader."
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Michael Jolls
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