It isn't everyday someone presents your life to you by the numbers.
On June 9, former Creve Coeur Mayor Harold Dielmann had that experience -- adding it to the counted others commemorating his retirement from 28 years of public service as mayor.
Though his terms were broken up from 1966-1985 and 2003-2012, Dielmann's impact in the city and in other area capacities were recognized in full fashion from city and state government officials, business owners, friends and family.
Dielmann, 82 -- as he was reminded in the "Harold by the Numbers" presentation during the evening -- was the honored guest at the Skip Viragh Center for the Fine Arts at Chaminade. The reception, beginning at 5 p.m., led up to a presentation of proclamations and other personal gifts, all the while recalling vast memories of Dielmann's city work.
Dielmann, paired with his wife, Pat, donned a red rose boutonniere and corsage respectively and greeted an expansive line of guests in the Center's front hall. More than 400 RSVP'd -- and then more showed up at the door, according to Nancy O'Loughlin, city executive office assistant and co-organizer for the event.
"The city is created in Harold's vision," said current Creve Coeur Mayor Barry Glantz, filling Dielmann's shows last April. "I am thrilled and honored to be following in his footsteps. He's a real class act."
Glantz's wife, Sheri, expressed similar sentiments. "Both Harold and Pat have indicated their comfort and excitement with us," she said. "That speaks volumes to us, filling their shoes."
State Representative Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, and Ward 1 Councilwoman Beth Kistner led a formal presentation of "Harold facts," noting the 28,453 feet of ribbon cut; 7,280 events attended; and 672 meetings presided by Dielmann in his years of service.
"The Queen of England's got nothing on you," Schupp said of Dielmann in jest.
Guests had the opportunity to write personal messages to Dielmann on heart-shaped paper cutouts, joined by a patriotic theme on the tables serving light refreshments and beverages.
"[Dielmann] is the prototype of a gentleman," said Harvey Cantor, a long-time Creve Coeur resident and husband of Francine Cantor, chair of the Horticulture, Environment and Beautification Committee.
Cantor shared a story how, even though "Fran" had helped Richard Wolkowitz campaign against Dielmann in his earlier terms, Dielmann "reached across the aisle" asking Fran to continue her service as a committee member.
"I wouldn't have ever believed I would do something like this," Dielmann said, addressing his guests. "It's all thanks to teamwork I could come this far."
Though some debate ensued over who would provide funding for the event, several local businesses and organizations sponsored a portion, including Mercy Hospital, Koman Group, Monsanto, Dierbergs and Weber Chevrolet.
Several neighboring communities were represented, most deeming June 9, 2012, Harold L. Dielmann Day.
Entering the auditorium, guests were handed a pair of glasses. The surprise came at the end: Since food and drinks were not allowed in the theater, "raise your glasses" took on a whole new meaning in a makeshift toast to the Dielmanns at the conclusion of the event.
"Wow, what a night," Dielmann said. "Almost makes me want to run again."