Dave and Marge Smigelski say they are delighted to be recognized for their dedication to a German Village church.

Dave and Marge Smigelski say they are delighted to be recognized for their dedication to a German Village church.

The Grove City residents, along with retired Rev. Ralph Huntzinger, will be honored at the St. Mary Catholic Church's sixth annual gala and silent auction, to be held Feb. 26.

The fundraiser for the St. Mary School will be held at 6 p.m. downtown at the Columbus Athenaeum, 32 N. Fourth St.

Tickets to the event are $100 each and can be purchased through the parish office, 672 S. Third St.

The church honors those who have made a lasting impact on the school or parish, said Julie Graham-Price, chair of the gala.

"The Smigelskis have been active members of the church for decades," she said. "They have held leadership positions and have been go-to volunteers of the parish for years."

The Smigelskis, both 68, graduated from the now-defunct St. Mary Catholic High School in 1960 and married at the church three years later. Both have been actively involved in the church for decades, heading up a variety of initiatives and committees.

Mrs. Smigelski, born Marjorie Friley, was president of the Women's Club while her husband was president of the Men's Club. She still is in charge of coffee and doughnuts served in between masses on Sundays and her husband is a regular handyman, having helped rebuild the church rectory and repaint the ornate woodwork behind the altar, also called the reredos, which stands 45 feet high and 20 feet wide.

"They don't seem to mind much as long as I'm paying the bill and doing the work," joked Dave Smigelski, who is retired from the insurance industry.

"We have very strong faith values but along with faith, there's the social value to it," added his wife, who works for a local property-management company.

Married for 47 years, the couple lived on Kossuth Street for 30 years until they moved to Grove City in 1993. Yet, they remained active in their church.

"If you're going to be a member of something, be a good member," Dave Smigelski said. "Do your part."

Huntzinger served the St. Mary parish from 1979 until he retired in 1994.

Known as the "German Village shepherd," Huntzinger was ordained into the priesthood in 1950. His parents, Clara Reeb and Joseph Huntzinger, were baptized at St. Mary and completed their education at St. Mary Parish Schools.

Huntzinger is credited with overseeing the renovation of the church, completed in 1987 after eight years of planning.

"His work continues to make St. Mary Church the landmark it is today," Graham-Price said.

In other news from the gala, the school is holding a $5,000 scholarship raffle good for any school in the country. The scholarship will be awarded directly to any educational institution for the 2011-12 school year - whether it be a preschool, elementary school, high school or college - or deposited directly into a college savings account. Tickets are $20 and only 500 will be sold.

Graham-Price said the gala, since its inception, has helped raise $145,000 for tuition.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

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