I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, though a farm boy at heart thanks to an uncle’s dairy farm in Wisconsin. After finishing high school at Luther North High School in Chicago in 1964, I enrolled in agriculture at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois.
After graduation in 1970 I was hired as the Lake County Illinois 4H/Assistant Ag Adviser and served as vice president of the Illinois 4H Advisers’ Association. In 1978 I left 4H work to enroll in Fish & Wildlife Biology, Montana State University, Bozeman and served as a seasonal park ranger with the National Park Service at Bighorn Canyon, Montana. Although service awards were normally limited to permanent rangers, I earned a Special Achievement Award for outstanding campfire programs and guided nature hikes. In 1983 the National Park Service in Montana hired me full time, and in 1979 I married my lovely wife, Millie, from Wisconsin, and she joined me out west, her first time away from the Midwest!
Then I transferred to a Nat’l Historic Site in North Dakota in in 1984. But Lord called me into the music ministry and I returned to Southern Illinois University in 1986, earning a degree in pipe organ performance. This was followed by an M.A. in Church Music and Worship at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN and at this time also began work as a national forest fire fighter through the MN DNR as a “smoke chaser,” later as a radio dispatcher. Also in 1992 our daughter, Kristin, was born.
As a church music director in the Twin Cities I met Mark & Linda’s son, Adam who played trumpet (superbly!) for special occasions including my graduate recital. Heart broken with Adam’s loss, I offered to give “seed” money to start a memorial in Adam’s name. The result: LNF Ministries.
I served for 30 years in the music ministry, finishing in Wisconsin. During this time I was incredibly honored to have played the organ at Notre’ Dame Cathedral in Paris, France in 2009. A precious granddaughter, born in 2017 convinced us to move back to central Minnesota where we could be close to her and her parents. I still occasionally direct choir and serve as organist in Little Falls, MN.
My favorite Bible passage is Romans 8:38-39:
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Hobbies include fishing, flower gardening, reading and charcoal-pencil drawing