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Post-Dispatch
St. Louis, Missouri
February, 1964

LUKE E. HART DIES:
HEAD OF K. OF C.

Luke E. HART, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus since 1953, died of a stroke yesterday [February 19, 1964] at a New Haven, Conn., hospital. Mr. HART, a former St. Louis attorney, was 83 years old.

He was taken to the hospital Tuesday from his apartment at the national headquarters of the Knights of Columbus, a fraternal society for Catholic men he had served since 1908.

In 1954, Mr. HART sponsored the amendment which added the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance. he began the national advertising program of the Knights of Columbus, and sponsored the microfilming of 40,000 Vatican documents for the Pius XII Library at St. Louis University.

Born in Maloy, Ia. [on July 31, 1880], Mr. HART attended Drake University [Des Moines] and received his law degree from the University of Missouri in 1905. He began the practice of law in St. Louis.

In 1913, he became an assistant city attorney and from 1915 to 1923 he was a member of the city's first Board of Aldermen. He was president and general council of the Hamilton-Brown Shoe Co. from 1934 to 1938 and a director of the Sheraton Jefferson Hotel Co.

He became Supreme Advocate of the Knights of Columbus in 1922, four years after being elected to the organization's national governing body.

He moved to New Haven in 1953 when he was elected Supreme Knight, but continued to maintain his St. Louis home at 6306 McPherson avenue. His wife, the former Catherine J. O'CONNOR, died in 1951.

Mr. HART founded the St. Louis chapters of the Big Brother organization, Boys Club, the United Service Organization and the National Catholic Community. Besides supporting Catholic church objectives, Mr. HART instituted an extensive investment program for his organizations. One move was to purchase the land on which the Yankee Stadium was built and to lease it back to its former owners.

Among his honors were Secret Chamberlain of Cape and Sword, awarded in 1951 by Pope Pius XII; Knight Grand Cross of St. Gregory in 1927, and Knight Commander in 1939, and Spain's Order of San Raimundo de Penafort.

In 1962, Pope John XXIII made Mr. HART a Knight Commander with Star of the Order of Pius IX.

He was a recipient of the Gibbons medal of the Catholic University of America. St. Louis University awarded him its 1953 Fleur-de-lis medal for outstanding service, and awarded him an honorary doctor of laws degree in 1958. He was a past president of the Lawyers' Association of St. Louis.

Surviving are two sons, Luke E. HART, Jr. and John T. HART, both of St. Louis; two brothers, Michael J. HART of St. LOUIS and Herbert HART of New Haven, and eight grandchildren.

Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Roch's Catholic Church, 6052 Waterman boulevard. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery.

  

Luke E. HART, 10th Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus from September 1, 1953 to February 19, 1964. During his term, HART doubled membership and added more councils than any other Supreme Knight in the history of the Order. HART played a major role in persudaing President EISENHOWER to add 'one nation under God' to the United States Pledge of Alliegence. By the end of the 1950's HART was actively encouraging councils to accept black candidates.

Post-Dispatch
St. Louis, Missouri
February 23, 1964

MESSAGES BY POPE, JOHNSON
ON DEATH OF LUKE E. HART

Messages of condolence on the death of Luke E. HART, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus since 1953, were received from Pope Paul VI and President Lyndon B. JOHNSON, it was announced yesterday by John W. McDEVITT, deputy supreme knight.

Funeral services for Mr. HART, 83 years old, who died at a New Haven, Conn. hospital Wednesday, were conducted at St. Louis Cathedral yesterday. Burial was in Calvary Cemetery [St. Louis, MO]. Cardinal Joseph E. RITTER, Archbishop of St. Louis, celebrated the Mass. Bishop Charles P. GRECO of Alexandria, La., national chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, gave the eulogy.

All the supreme officers and the directors of the Knights of Columbus attended the funeral. They named McDEVITT, a former chairman of the Massachusetts State Board of Education, to replace Mr. HART.

Post-Dispatch
St. Louis, Missouri
1961

LUKE E. HART CALLS ON KENNEDY IN WHITE HOUSE

Special to the Post-Dispatch

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 - Luke E. HART of St. Louis, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, talked to President John F. KENNEDY at the White House today.

HART, who conveyed an invitation to the President to address the order's Supreme Council meeting in Boston next August, said he reminded Mr. KENNEDY that the latter's grandfather, John FITZGERALD, delivered the principal address at a meeting of the Supreme Council in Boston on Aug. 5, 1913.

HART said he gave the Chief Executive a framed picture of the American flag with the revised Pledge of Allegiance beneath it and a history of how the words "under God" were inserted in the oath. He said the Knights of Columbus originated the idea of inserting those words and Congress made it official by resolution in 1954.

Post-Dispatch
St. Louis, Missouri
January 21, 1962

LUKE E. HART GETS HIGH PAPAL HONOR

Luke E. HART, 6306 McPerson avenue, was vested with the rank of knight Commander with Star in the Order of Pope Pius IX, it was announced yesterday.

The honor, considered second in importance to the papal order of knighthood of the Supreme Order of Christ, was bestowed on HART by Pope John XXIII, and announced by Archbishop Egidio VAGNOZZL, apostolic delegate to the United States.

It was conferred on HART at a recent meeting of the order's supreme council. The presentation was made by Bishop Charles P. GRECO of Alexandria, La., acting for Cardinal Joseph E. RITTER, Archbishop of St. Louis.

HART has been a lawyer in St. Louis since 1904. He is a past president of the Lawyer's Association and served two terms on the city's first Board of Aldermen.

In World War I, he was a member of the Missouri State Executive Committee of the United War Work Campaign and was one of the 10 incorporators and a member of the board of directors of the United Service Organization of World War II.

HART, a member of the Supreme Board of Directors of the Knights of Columbus since 1918, has served as its Supreme Advocate for 32 years and as its Supreme Knight since 1951.

The organization is composed of 1,150,000 Catholic lay leasers in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Philippines.

NOTE: In a message to Supreme Knight Luke E. HART at the meeting of the Supreme Council in Louisville, August 17, 1954, President EISENHOWER, in recognition of the initiative of the Knights of Columbus in originating and sponsoring the amendment to the Pledge of Allegiance, said:

"We are particularly thankful to you for your part in the movement to have the words 'under God' added to our Pledge of Allegiance. These words will remind Americans that despite our great physical strength we must remain humble. They will help us to keep constantly in our minds and hearts the spiritual and moral principles which alone give dignity to man, and upon which our way of life is founded. For the contribution which your organization has made to this cause, we must be genuinely grateful."

Biography of Luke E. HART

Newspaper clippings courtesy of Mount Ayr Depot Museum

Transcriptions & note by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2010

To submit your Ringgold County obituaries, contact Sharon R. Becker at
srbecker@windstream.net.
Please include the word "Ringgold" in the subject line. Thank you.

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