Local History

The first Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Green Bay was disbanded by Bishop Paul P. Rhode when the Green Bay Diocesan Apostolate, (now Catholic Charities) came into being. The bishop felt that this organization could do the work of caring for the poor. But in 1957, Bishop Stanislaus V. Bona decided the Society was necessary. Three parish units or conferences were needed to make up a Council. They were St. John the Evangelist, Annunciation, and Cathedral.

Members from St. John's had heard about St. Vincent de Paul stores around the country and approached the membership with the idea of opening a store in Green Bay.

The first St. Vincent de Paul store was located in the 600 block of Main St. It was very small and inadequate. That's when Al Osterman, who owned the Bay Construction Co., and George Bell found space in a building that was formerly occupied by the Gazette Candy Co. at 824 Main St. The rent was $35 per month. Harry Conlon who was sales manager for Cobb's bakery donated an old bakery truck. The store's first inventory was 150 chairs purchased from the Catholic Woman's Club.

A fire on a very cold February morning in 1965 claimed the building and forced the store to find a new home. It was temporarily housed in Harrison Hanson's building on the corner of Main and Webster, but the need for a new building was apparent.

Once again Al Osterman entered the scene. He was about to retire and had heavy equipment stored in a building on the city's north side. He sold the building to the Society, which also purchased additional lots, using the insurance money from the fire as a down payment. The location was 1600 N. Webster Ave.

In a grand opening ceremony Bishop Bona blessed the store at 4:00 p.m. on Friday September 24, 1965.

The store continued to grow as did the Society adding many new conferences through the 1970's and 80's. As the Society grew so did its service to the poor of Brown County.

On November 8, 1990 Everett Johnson and Carl Farah explained the De Paul Homes project to the District Council. A proposal was submitted to purchase 4 houses to be used for interim housing. Main support for the program would come from St. Vincent de Paul.

In March of 1991 ballots were cast regarding the housing project and on a vote of 11 yes and 9 no the project was approved. In May of that same year the bid made for the four houses located at Webster and Doty St. was accepted. This program was called De Paul Homes & Shelters.

In September of 1991 another milestone, the opening of the new store in which St. Vincent de Paul is housed today.

Presidents of St. Vincent De Paul District Council

George Bell 1964 to 1968
R I MacDonald 1968 to 1969
Al Noel 1969 to 1973
John Loritz 1973 to 1977
Al Stary 1977 to 1979
Harold Suplinski 1980 to 1983
Tom Vander Zanden 1983 to 1987
Leo Frigo 1987 to 1991
Fran McLoughlin 1991 to 1995
Bill Style 1995 to 1999
Dan Williams 1999 to 2003
John Finco 2003 to 2007
Vince Nicklas 2007- 2011
Paul Novotny 2011 - 2013
Ken Nier 2013 - Present


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