Hall of Honor Class of 2024

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We are proud to announce the Mater Dei Hall of Honor Class of 2024: John Burke, Jr. ’86, Helen Essenpreis ‘73, Kevin Haselhorst, M.D. ’77, Joseph Klostermann ’63, and Vernon Mohesky ’63.  The celebration on Friday, May 3, 2024, included Mass, dinner, and the induction ceremony.

Established in 1997, the Hall of Honor recognizes alumni and friends of Mater Dei who have lived their lives as witnesses of our mission.  To view all members, select the following link: Hall of Honor Members 1997-2024


John Burke, Jr., Class of 1986
Following his graduation from Mater Dei in 1986, John earned an Associate of Arts degree in architectural design and structural technology from Ranken Technical Institute and built a career in the field of engineering.  Currently, he serves as a lead field engineer for CH2MHill/Jacobs Engineering, where he has been employed since 1997.

In keeping with our calling to serve our community, John established the Jared Burke Foundation (JBF) in honor of his brother, the late Jared Burke ‘01, who was killed in a hunting accident.  Since its inception in 2014, JBF has provided over 150 outdoor adventures, including hunting trips, to disabled or underserved outdoorsman, veterans, and first responders.  In addition, JBF has provided accessible hunting blinds for Eldon Hazlet State Park in Carlyle and is working with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to provide accessible hunting blinds throughout the state.  Finally, in conjunction with Illinois Conservation Foundation, JBF is preparing a video that shares the story of Jared’s accident for use as an education tool in hunter safety courses.

As a resident of Bartelso, John is an active member of St. Cecilia Catholic Church.

John and his partner, Gina Hickle, are blessed with a blended family: John’s son, Alex ‘10; Gina’s four children, Shaun, Paige, Matt, and Josiah; and nine grandchildren.


Helen Essenpreis, Class of 1973
Following her graduation from Mater Dei in 1973, Helen earned a Diploma of Nursing from St. John’s School of Nursing and began her career at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese as a registered nurse.  Her desire to continue learning led Helen to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from McKendree University and a Master of Science in Nursing from St. Louis University, as well as a Faith Community Nursing Certification.

Throughout her nursing career, during which she focused on providing exceptional perinatal care to women and infants, Helen served as a bedside nurse, administrator, educator, mentor, and author.  She also served in leadership roles at the local, state, district, and national levels for the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses and volunteered at Camp Ondessonk’s Health Center.  In 2022, after retiring in July after over 40 years of service, Helen returned to Mater Dei to teach the Certified Nursing Assistant course.

Taking an active role in her children’s education, Helen served both the Mater Dei community, as president and secretary of Mothers & Friends, and the All Saints Academy community, as a member of the athletic board and school board.

A resident of Breese, Helen is a member of St. Dominic Catholic Church, where she currently serves as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, sacristan, catechist, ambassador for the parish’s sister parish in Guatemala, parish representative for Catholic Relief Services, and member of the Altar Sodality, Liturgy Committee, and Spiritual Formation Committee; and previously served as a Parish Council member and Catholic Youth Ministry leader.  Additionally, for the Diocese of Belleville, she currently serves as president of the Belleville Diocesan Council of Catholic Women’s North Central Vicariate and previously served as a Pregnancy Aid Hotline volunteer and Natural Family Planning Ministry educator.

Helen and her late husband, Dale, are blessed with three children: Brett Ann ’01, Brad ’05, and Luke ’10; and five grandchildren.


Kevin Haselhorst, M.D., Class of 1977
Following his graduation from Mater Dei in 1977, Kevin earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Louis University and a doctorate degree from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.  He then began his career in the field of emergency medicine.

In keeping with our calling to serve as our brother’s keeper, Kevin has dedicated himself to sharing his knowledge of and passion for holistic management of advanced illness.  Throughout his career as an emergency physician and now as a holistic medical coach following his retirement in 2021, Kevin has advised and mentored patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals in the areas of advance care directives, palliative care, and creating a peaceful end-of-life journey.

To share his message, Kevin has served as a keynote speaker at TEDx events, hospice conferences, and independent and assisted living facilities.  Additionally, he served as a contributing writer for The Arizona Republic “Ask the Expert” column; has authored three books: Sail the 7 C’s of Graceful Departures, Wishes to Die For: A Caregiver’s Guide to Advance Care Directives, and Is Palliative Care Right for You?; and publishes a blog on his website (www.kevinhaselhorst.com).

A self-proclaimed excitement seeker and avid yogi, Kevin currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.  He is a member of Franciscan Renewal Center and a volunteer for Valley Big Brothers and Sisters.


Joseph Klostermann, Class of 1963
Following his graduation from Mater Dei in 1963, Joe earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Quincy College (now Quincy University) and a Master of Science degree from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  After beginning his teaching career at Mater Dei (1967-1970), Joe taught at Althoff Catholic High School, Sparta High School, and St. Paul Catholic High School before returning to Mater Dei in 1979.  He then retired from Mater Dei in 2009.

As a teacher, Joe shared his knowledge of and passion for history while guiding and encouraging students in a variety of courses.  He also shared life lessons through his many one-liners, which his former students continue to repeat to this day.  For his dedication to our students, Joe received the Educator of the Year award in 2009.

Outside the classroom, Joe served as a dedicated coach throughout his career.  As head coach of softball (1986-2000), he guided the Lady Knights to eight regional titles and four appearances at the state finals (four sectional titles).  He also served as an assistant coach for football, boys basketball, and girls basketball.

In addition to teaching and coaching, Joe served Mater Dei as a bus driver during the school year and a driver education teacher in the summer.

A resident of Breese, Joe is a member of St. Dominic Catholic Church.  For the community, he previously volunteered his time to the Breese Optimist youth baseball program.

Joe and his wife, Becky, are blessed with three children: Joseph David (J.D.) ’96, Brian ’99, and Andrew ‘01; and five grandchildren, with the sixth grandchild arriving in May.


Vernon Mohesky, Class of 1963
Following his graduation from Mater Dei in 1963, Vern earned an associate degree in electronics from United Electronics School.  Drafted during the Vietnam War, he then served as an electronics instructor for the U.S. Army.  Following his tour of duty, Vern began his career with AT&T in 1968, where he worked until his retirement as a second-level manager in 1997.  He then worked for Tellabs, Inc. as a senior engineer from 1997 until his full retirement in 2004.

In keeping with our calling to serve the Catholic Church, Vern has dedicated his time and talents to St. Dominic Catholic Church for over fifty years.  As a member of the Building and Maintenance Committee, Vern has played key roles in numerous projects, major and minor, including the church’s renovation in the 1990s and the design and construction of the St. Dominic Annex.  In addition, he serves as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, an altar server, and a member of the Men’s Sodality, Resurrection Choir, Picnic Planning Committee, Chicken Dinner Committee, and St. Dominic-St. Augustine Cemetery Committee.  Previously, he served as a member of the Parish Council and Stewardship Committee.

In the community, Vern serves an active member of Vietnam Veterans of America – Clinton County Chapter #269, Knights of Columbus – Breese Council #2869, and the Clinton County Honor Guard.  An avid cyclist, he previously assisted with planning cycling events to benefit autism organizations.

Finally, as a dedicated alumnus, Vern spearheaded the Class of 1963’s donation of a monument honoring Mater Dei alumni who have served the U.S. military and the Vietnam Veterans of America – Clinton County Chapter #269’s donation of a new flag pole.

Vern and his late wife, Ann ’63, are blessed with four children: Doug ’86, Glenn ’87, Angela ’90, and Sheila ’92; and ten grandchildren.

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