The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2646 was organized on July 18, 1932 with 79 Charter Members. The post was named Deis-Ordway-Rodenberg for men who lost their lives during World War I. The Charter members are Spanish Americans and World War I Veterans.
James Frederick Deis, killed in action Sept. 1918, was buried at National Cemetery in France.
Frederick E. Ordway, served with 89th Division, United States Army, enlisted September 5th 1917, and was killed in action November 11, 1918. His mother, Mrs. Lilled Ordway, now deceased, was a charter member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary.
John Henry Rodenberg was killed in action June 12th 1918.
W.M. Coyne, Charter Member, now deceased served as first Commander of the post and John W. John Jr.; also Charter Member served as first Quarter Master of the post and was employed with the Saline County Sheriff’s Department.
Meetings were first held on the North side of the square, upstairs over Charley Potter Harness Store, now Bellamy Law Offices.
The Ladies Auxiliary, Veterans of Foreign Wars to Post 2646 was organized November 9th 1933 with 44 Charter Members and two Honorary Members.
Roy Reade, Charter Member was Commander of the Post in 1935.
Post Meetings were also held at the Chamber of Commerce Building in 1946 before the present building was erected.
Arthur Piper, Charter Member, now deceased, donated the land to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Present location of the post. Members of the Post raised money by selling chances on a new ford automobile from A.G. Thomas Motor Company in order to start the building. They raised approximately $4,000. Leonard Barnes was Commander of the Post at the time, 1947.
In 1975, there were 40 charter Life Members and at present, 1982, there are 102 life members.
Four members of the Post 2646 are from three generations: John W. John Jr., John Robert John Sr., and John R. John Jr., and Bruce P. John. They are also Charter Life Members. John W. John Jr. was Commander of the Post in 1973.
Seventy nine Charter Members: We have located 7: Roy Reade, John W. John Jr., Thomas McCutheon, Alva C. Gauldin, William C. McCord, Silas F. McDonough, and Valentine Weisenberger; five of these Charter members have remained continuous members for fifty years.
During the Administration of Leo Nicholas as Commander of the post, 1946, a building committee was formed in the hope a suitable meeting place could be rented, leased, purchased, or built for the organization. Of course, the first problem confronted by the committee was financing. Several fundraising methods were devised and approximately $6,000 was raised before Commander Nicholas was succeeded by Commander Leonard Barnes for the year 1947. Commander Barnes continued the project and during his term of office more than $4,000 was added to the building fund. With the permission of the membership, Commander Barnes obtained the services of R.L. Voscamp, Architect of Kansas City and some preliminary plans were drawn for a building.
A member of the post, Arthur Piper, donated the land where the completed building now stands, and all was in readiness to start construction. Ground was broken in October 1947. Dr. C.A. Veatch was elected Commander for the year 1948 and commissioned with the task of completing the erection of the building. Early in the year financial difficulties began to arise and the committee was again forced to look for new methods of fundraising. Having used auctions, car give-a-ways, auxiliary benefits, and various other methods in the past, the committee decided to encourage the organization members to make personal financial contributions. This was done and the members responded most generously. Thus for the year some $5,000 had been added to the building fund.
The final cost of the home was between $24,000 and $25,000. At the time, the organization had only a deficit of approximately $4,000 against the building. The organization was still receiving outside contributions from friends of the unit and a number of members who had not made contributions in the past, did so at this time.
The building is so constructed that it can be used for almost any type of activity. The building has a large auditorium 40 feet by 60 feet; a screened in porch on the east wing 12 feet by 35 feet, which can be used for summer activities; a lounge 22 feet by 35 feet, and a fully equipped kitchen. The restrooms are conveniently arranged off the auditorium and the building also has a special room to be used for an administrative headquarters for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Organization and the utility room. The plan of the local organization to make the building and its facilities available to the various civic organizations and other groups in Marshall and the County, for their use at various times when the need is warranted, a nominal rental fee will be charged.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Home was dedicated as a memorial to the war dead of Saline County. A Bronze Plaque was placed in the foyer of the building and the inscription reads as follows: “This building was erected in memory of the war dead of Saline County, Missouri”
Members of the post worked hard in raising money as well as doing much of the physical labor in construction of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Building.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Home was dedicated in formal ceremonies, with State and National Veterans of Foreign Members, on Armistice Day, November 11, 1948.
This history was compiled and submitted for the Golden Anniversary of the Deis-Ordway-Rodenberg Post 2646, Marshall, Missouri on July 18th, 1982
Submitted by Mildred Gilliam