Joe Gumboletti aka “The Distinguished Catholic Man” – Arkansas Catholic

Retired home builder awarded 2022 Knights of Columbus Arkansas

Published: June 24, 2022

James Kerry

Joe Gamboliti, a member of St. Mary’s Church in Hot Springs, holds the Knight of the Year award he received May 1 during the Knights of Columbus state convention.

Noun: Joe Gumboletti

age: 83

diocese: Saint John the Baptist, Hot Springs

family: The late widower Mildred Adele Gumboletti, who died in February 2021. He has a stepdaughter, two grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Why do you want to know Joe: Knight of the Year in the 2022 Columbus Arkansas Knights is a retired home builder who spends many waking hours helping others build and cook. He is a founding member and knight of the Grand Knight of Columbus Council 6419 in 1967. He runs the council’s kitchen and has prepared thousands of first responder breakfasts and pasta dinners for St. John’s School in Hot Springs. He also leads a volunteer construction crew to raise funds for Council 6419. He has assisted parishioners of Saint John the Baptist and Saint Mary of Springs and the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Garland County with their construction and improvement projects. A knight of the fourth degree, he held most of the leadership positions in the council and served on the building committees in the parishes of St. John and St. Mary, most recently completing the construction of St. Mary’s Parish Hall.

He was honored with Knight of the Year during the Arkansas State Assembly Convention Night of Columbus April 29 – May 1. Nomination 6419. “He’s an outstanding Catholic and American man.”

in his words

What nourishes you spiritually?

Spiritually, I like to help people and help the church. If there is something I can do to help, I will do it. I like to spend my time working in church and school in order to improve everyone’s life. I thought the Knight of Columbus was the right hand of the parish priests, which is why I joined for the first time.

You’ve been a Knight since 1967. How do you feel about being awarded Knight of the Year?

I was really proud to receive it. It never occurred to me that I would receive it. I was really very happy. I am honored. You must get help from other knights in order to do this.

You feed a lot of people with spaghetti dinners, breakfasts, and catfish dinners. Do you consider it a service?

I’ve prepared thousands of meals to help raise money for the school and church. I feel like we made a lot of people happy. I volunteered to help out with a spaghetti dinner at St John’s School Bazaar. Three years later I was a dinner cook. I have been in charge for 45 years. The knights paid for everything to make dinner, and the people who worked with me helped raise money for the school. I don’t know what I would have done without the Knights Volunteers.

Do you think you are doing the Lord’s work?

I just do it automatically. I guess what drives me is that I grew up poor. I was the oldest of eight children. I have a lot. I just want to bring something back.

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