Huppler, Ferry named ‘Gems of Mantorville’
Each year at Marigold Days two individuals are named “Gems of Mantorville.” This year’s honorees included Karl Huppler as the present-day Gem and Tom Ferry as the historic Gem.
The Gems are chosen by the city’s Economic Development Authority.
Being on stage when the Gems are announced was not an unusual occurrence for Huppler. As a member of the EDA for 22 years, the task of announcing the Gems has fallen to Huppler for several years.
“I’m pleased to be recognized,” he said. “It’s one of those things where you don’t contribute to the community to get an award. You contribute to the community because it’s a really neat community.
“I enjoy being part of Mantorville. I didn’t need the award to enjoy being a part of Mantorville. But I enjoy being recognized,” he said.
Huppler was, in fact, one of the first members of the EDA and served as its chair for several years.
He is also a charter member of the Mantorville Theatre Company and has served on the board for nearly three decades.
Among his contributions to the community are his work on the design and construction for the stage in the Opera House and also leading the restoration of the blue carriage house that now serves as the theater’s scene shop.
He is also active at St. John Lutheran Church in Kasson where he sings in the choir. Huppler and his wife, Lynette, also volunteer for the Kasson-Mantorville AFS Chapter, which helps families enjoy the experience of hosting foreign exchange students.
‘We’ve always had a difficult time narrowing the selection down because there’s so many outstanding volunteers in the community and certainly so many people who deserve recognition,” said Mayor Chuck Bradford. “Karl is one of those people. I felt good about recognizing Karl for his efforts.”
The second Gem is chosen to recognize an individual from Mantorville’s past. Ferry represents the recent past, having died on March 10, 2019 at the age of 95.
Born in New York state, Ferry began working at IBM after graduating from high school. He served in the Navy and later graduated from Winona State. He returned to New York and IBM and in 1956 he and his wife, Helen, moved to Minnesota when he was one of the first IBM employees to be transferred to the company’s new plant in Rochester.
He served for six years as the mayor of Mantorville and was one of the founding members of the Mantorville Restoration Association.
Paul Larsen, who worked with Ferry at the Mantorville Restoration Association, said he looked at Ferry as his mentor because he was “somebody you looked to for their understanding and knowledge.
“I always regarded Tom as a mentor. Tom was always involved in the community. He really cared that we tried to preserve history.”
Ferry’s daughter, Ann Driver, said she was “very honored” that her father had received the Gem award.
“I was surprised and then was very honored,” she said. “And I knew dad would have been very pleased.”
Her father, along with Paul Pappas and George Lowry, started the MRA, Driver said, and also started the process of getting Mantorville listed as a national historic site.
“He lived a great life,” she said.
Each year the Mantorville EDA recognizes two individuals as “Gems of Mantorville.” They are people who have helped to build or maintain the unique aspects of the community.