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Müllerleile Family Reunion 1997 – The Very First One

The very first Müllerleile Family Reunion ever took place from June 26 to 28, 1997, in Monticello, Iowa, USA. It was a brainchild of Marianne Muellerleile, actor from Los Angeles, who organized the event with many volunteers out of the wider family.

Camp Courageous in Monticello became the founding venue. It is a year-round respite care and recreational facility for individuals of all ages with disabilities. Camp Director was Marianne’s sister Jeanne Müllerleile who lived there with husband Wayne Nappe and daughter Allie.

120 members of the wider Müllerleile families from USA, Germany and Canada attended the reunion, among the Germans the farmers Anton and Rita Müllerleile from the Kasperhof in Schuttertal, Black Forest. The Kasperhof is regarded as one of the birth places of the Müllerleile family.

Marianne had created a logo of the family and displayed a long family tree display printed from software she filled with hundreds of family members. This family tree was later continued by Susan Muellerleile Berberich from Brunswick, Maine, and as of 2016 by Christoph Müllerleile from Oberursel, Germany.

The reunion started on Friday afternoon with check-in at lodge, pick-up welcome packet, reunion products, geneaolgy charts and a reunion booklet. The attendants were invited to drop off raffle prize, "sweets", family memorabilia. Some of the used the lodging facilities and the camping ground of the Camp, others had their caravans parked outside.

At the Opening Ceremony Jeanne welcomed to Camp Courageous, followed by the intro of Marianne and opening remarks. The "Get to Know You" game helped the attendants to learn to know each other.
Night owls got to see a movie and Marianne Muellerleile demos.

Saturday started with the Morning meditation, flag raising, and breakfast.
The day’s activities included nature hikes with Larry Berberich and Marian Gerst, childen’s games, swimming, a video from the Schuttertal presented by Christoph and Elisabeth Müllerleile.
In the evening flag lowering preceded dinner in the lodge. Kids were invited to a costume parade and talent show. After this the family danced and talked.

Sunday began with flag raising, a Catholic Mass celebrated by Fr. Ernest Muellerleile. After this the official reunion photo was taken outdoors with the reunion banner.
After brunch the closing ceremony acknowledge volunteers, issued participation certificates to kids. Raffle prizes were distributed. Marianne presented Jeanne with a memory plaque which will be kept by her until the next family reunion.

Jack Muellerleile gave the closing toast.

A video was produced of the reunion by a professional video crew and ordered by most of the participating families.

Program after the reunion

After the family reunion, the German participants stayed in the country for a few more days. They traveled with some American family members, first to the neighboring small town of Dubuque on the Mississippi. They visited the historic Old Town, the Riverboat Museum, the Arboretum and the Botanical Gardens. The fondest memory was a romantic picnic at Eagle Point Park high above the Mississippi River. Also a ride on the paddle steamer "Spirit of Dubuque" was on the program.

Via Cedar Rapids and Chicago, they went by plane to Los Angeles, where Marianne Muellerleile and Tom Norris hosted the German tour group. Highlights of the visit included a visit to Universal Studios in Hollywood, the Paul Getty Museum in Malibu and Disneyland. An evening with Marianne brought together the Müllerleile around Los Angeles once again.

Official reunion photo Iowa 1997

The Participants of the reunion pose for the official reunion photo.