John K. Ploof, 65, editor and publisher of the Danube Enterprise and a former editor of the Bird Island Union was laid to rest Monday, Nov. 28, 1960.
Mr. Ploof passed away at the Renville County Hospital in Olivia, Friday, Nov. 25. In failing health for the past several years, he entered the hospital Wednesday evening. He underwent an emergency operation for bleeding ulcers about midnight Thursday. He developed heart complications and died about 7:30 Friday morning.
Funeral services were held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 28 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bird Island. Father Thomas Ploof of Rochester, a cousin of the deceased officiated at the Requiem Mass. Interment was in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Bird Island. Present also at the Mass were Msgr. George Rolwes of New Ulm, a former pastor of St. Mary’s and friend of the Ploof family, and Father Mark Otto, pastor of St. Mary’s.
Survivors left to mourn his death include widow, Ann; 3 sons, Robert of Chaska; John of Shakopee, and Kenneth of St. Louis Park; 5 daughters, Mrs. Adrian (Germaine) Weis; Mrs. Frank (Joan) Undesser, Jr. of Bird Island; Mrs. ARlyn (Eileen) Janke, of Hector; Mrs. Stewart (Lois) Holt of St. Cloud and Patricia of Minneapolis, 13 grandchildren; brother, Howard Ploof of Warroad, 3 sisters, Mrs. L.E. Alberts of Spring Valley; Mrs. John Johnson of Spring Valley; and Mrs. A.C. Ward of Lake Crystal. One daughter, La Vonne died in 1937 at the age of 9 months.
Pallbearers were : Ed Jungers, Ruben Ruehle, Bennie Maier, Al Ringness, Al Schnieder and Ben Neubauer.
Renville County Editors were honorary pallbearers. Those in attendance were: Vern Pushing, Olivia, Fred and Ed Schiere of Fairfax, Gene Hall of Franklin, U.T. Licklider of Renville, Jay Lighter of Sacred Heart, Garland Hubin of Buffalo Lake, Willard DeGroat of the Hector Mirror, and Art Noecker of Bird Island.
Glesener Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Mr. Ploof was born May 14, 1895, at Wykoff, Minnesota, the son of the late William E. and Margaret (Baumgartner) Ploof. He attended school and began his newspaper career in Wykoff at a very early age, working for a newspaper that set all its type by hand. At the age of 13, he was already enrolled as a member of the Minnesota Editorial Assn., now known as the Minnesota Newspaper Assn. He was awarded a 50-year pin in that organization in 1958.
In 1914, Mr. Ploof began his career as a linotype operator in the employment of the Fairfax Standard, then owned by his older brother and a partner. He was also employed as a printer-operator in Iowa for a time.
He enlisted in the Army in June 1916 and from November 1918 to August 1919 was with the army of occupation at Coblenz, Germany. He was a Linotype operator at the Osakis Review from 1919 to 1921, then worked for the Alexandria Citizen-News until 1922 when he became advertising manager of the Bird Island Union. In 1924 he became publisher of the Bird Island Union, which he published for 22 years.
In 1946 Mr. Ploof sold the UNION and for a short time held a traveling sales job. In that same year, he was called to take the helm of the Morton Enterprise after the publisher suffered a heart attack. After leasing the paper a few months, Mr. Ploof purchased the Morton Enterprise which he operated for a number of years. In 1953 he moved the publication to Danube where he published the Danube Enterprise until his death.
In addition to spending his entire life in the printing and publishing profession, most of the couple’s children and at least one son-in-law learned the trade under Mr. Ploof’s guidance. Two sons, Robert and Kenneth have followed the trade and are presently employed as linotype operators at Minneapolis Suburban Newspapers, Inc., Hopkins, Minn.
John K. Ploof and Anna T. Brunner were married Sept. 18, 1923 at Fairfax and the couple made their home in this village (Bird Island) their entire married life. All of their children graduated from St. Mary’s Schools.
A World War I veteran, Mr. Ploof, with many years of service including overseas duty, was elected three times as commander and adjutant of the Bird Island Legion Post No. 430, as well as serving in the top position in the Osakis Post No. 111.
He was a member of the National Editorial Association, the Minnesota Newspaper Association, as well as the 7th District and Renville County Editorial Associations.
From 1923 to 1928 he was athletic coach at St Mary’s High School in Bird Island. During his first year as coach, his team qualified for the first state Catholic High School basketball tournament, where the team defeated St. Anne’s of LeSaeur 26 to 4. Ploof’s team of “Four Brothers” (four Baumgartners) as it was called emerged victorious in their second game as well, downing St. Mary’s of Waverly 24 to 7, but were defeated in the semifinals.
Mr. Ploof was also a great baseball enthusiast and was one of the organizers of the Bird Island Civic and Commerce Assn. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, and also had been a member of the Disabled American Veterans. He was a member of the Renville County Fair Assn. for many years, and was presently serving as first Vice-President. He also served as mayor of Bird Island at one time.
Many friends and former residents of the community came from Minneapolis, Chaska, St. Cloud, Benson, Fairfax, and other towns to pay their last respects and attend the funerals services of the widely known publisher.