Illinois House Resolution naming the new Chester bridge in honor of Don Welge, approved

SPRINGFIELD – An Illinois House Joint Resolution sponsored by State Representative David Friess (R-Red  Bud) honoring a well-known local businessman, was adopted in the House on Wednesday.


HJR38 designates the new Chester Bridge over the Mississippi River along Illinois Route 150 and Missouri Route 51 as the “Don Welge Memorial Bridge”.


After graduating from LSU, Welge returned to southern Illinois and lead the family business in its evolution from a small flour mill, Gilster Milling, to large producer of store brand and food service products, Gilster-Mary Lee Corp based in Chester, today operating 14 plants across 4 states, employing roughly 3,000 people. 


One of southern Illinois’s most successful businessmen and one of the region’s most passionate advocates, Welge died April 16, 2020 from COVID-19. He was 84 years old.