By Teresa Ohlrich Johnson
Mike Dietert is one of those individuals who does not go around tooting his own horn. Although you will not catch him talking about his many contributions to his hometown of New Braunfels, his volunteer resume does all the talking and illustrates why the Braunfels Foundation Trust selected him as a Living Legend of New Braunfels.
Mike was born in Comal County and grew up on the family farm off Watson Lane. After moving into town, he graduated from Canyon High School in 1968. He attended Texas A&M University and graduated from Southwest Texas State University (Texas State) in 1972 with a degree in Industrial Arts. Mike married his high school sweetheart, Linda Pfannstiel, in 1969, and they are proud parents to Brandon Dietert and Allison Humphries.
Mike’s passion for the history and culture of New Braunfels has preserved not only our city’s landscape, character, and story, but has greatly benefitted he missions of multiple historic organizations. Mike has restored the Pfannstiel family’s 1802 home in Comaltown, his great grandfather’s 1860s farmhouse, another 1860s farmhouse, and several other old homes. As a founding member and two-time president of the Heritage Society, Mike for many years spent countless hours building the Heritage Exhibits that for many years transformed the New Braunfels Civic Center into early New Braunfels. Held during Wurstfest, the Heritage Exhibit was a glimpse into the past and a history lesson to schoolchildren and adults, locals and visitors alike.
During the late seventies, Mike helped kick-start the newly-formed Conservation Society and served as its president for three terms. A long-time member of the Sophienburg Museum, Mike is currently on the Finance/Building Committee and the Verein membership group.
Mike also shares that common thread found in the fabric of our Living Legends – diverse and multifaceted interests. A member of the City of New Braunfels Planning and Zoning Commission for many years, Mike continues to serve on the City’s Partnership Committee. A forty-year Life Member of the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce and a Blue Coat, Mike served as chair and vice-chair of numerous committees over the years and ultimately as Chair of the Board.
In the early days of the New Braunfels Children’s Museum before its association with McKenna, Mike helped move and build the Museum at three different locations around New Braunfels.
A member of the Wurstfest Association since 1971, Mike served as Wurstfest President in 1992. He is a forty-plus-year member of the New Braunfels Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow. He has served on the boards of the Hummel Museum, Chase Bank, Citizens Bank, the New Braunfels Independent School District Education Foundation, and the McKenna Hospital Advisory Board. He served as the Major Gifts Chair for the Comal Healthcare Foundation supporting McKenna Hospital in 1997.
The Braunfels Foundation Trust is not the first organization to publicly recognize Mike’s contributions to New Braunfels. The New Braunfels Jaycees named Mike their “Outstanding New Braunfelser” in 1988. In 1986, the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce recognized Mike with the President’s Award for Historic Preservation, and the Comal Independent School District named him one of their “Outstanding Alumni” in 2010.
Mike is probably best known for his fifty-three-year employment with the New Braunfels Smokehouse. As a high school bus boy, a college student, and ultimately Vice President and General Manager, Mike has participated in the growth and prosperity of the Smokehouse. With the backing of the Smokehouse, Mike has been able to contribute and participate in the growth and prosperity of his community.
Mike Dietert has quietly, but significantly, contributed to the character of New Braunfels. The Braunfels Foundation Trust is proud to loudly trumpet his praises and recognize Mike Dietert as a Living Legends of New Braunfels.