I was born on June 30, 1926, the eldest of four children. Great timing – just about when the Great Depression was to begin. Unemployment for my father was par for the course, and ultimately contributed significantly to our family moving back to my grandparent’s farm in the early 1930’s – essentially just to help us make ends meet. It proved to be a wise move, because in 1941 just before my 15th birthday, cancer took my mother’s life at the young age of 45, leaving my father with 4 young children, elderly parents to care for, and a flower and vegetable farm to manage. I guess it was a tough life, but I never gave it a thought because I simply didn’t know any better.
I attended a little one-room country school through the 8th grade, and then went on to high school in South St. Paul, Minnesota. Immediately following graduation in 1944, I enlisted in the Merchant Marine, and sailed the seas for the better part of four years. I sailed in all of the oceans of the world as well as in innumerable other seas and bodies of water, visiting six of the seven continents and lots of countries in each of them, all before I reached the age of 22! I sailed as an Oiler on tankers, as Deck Engineer on a Liberty ship, and as a Junior Engineer on a Victory ship. After my post-war duties, I continued to serve in the Naval reserves for a period of time. Later in life I enjoyed sailing some local lakes as well as the waters of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan (for pleasure this time rather than courtesy of the US government).
After my retirement from the Merchant Marine, I convinced the girl of my dreams, Daraliene, to accept me as the boy of her dreams. We had met during inter-church youth group events prior to WW2, and picked things up again after the war. We were married on September 9, 1950 and moved into a three-room basement home without running water. I had begun building that home in 1949 and continued to work on completing the remainder of the house in several phases over the years as our family grew. We raised a family of six children in that home and now our family has grown to include 17 grandchildren and, so far, 18 great grandchildren (at last count).
Also after retiring from the Merchant Marine, I quickly realized that I had better get a decent education if I ever hoped to get a decent job, so I began taking night classes at the University of Minnesota and after eight years in 1956, I completed a BBA (Bachelors of Business Administration) degree (with distinction no less!), all while working fulltime, building our house, volunteering in various church and conference capacities, and raising a family that had grown from one to five during that time.
In 1948 I started working for the Minnesota Mutual Life Insurance Company as a Mortgage Loan accountant, and I worked for that company for 43 years, retiring in 1991 as 2nd Vice President and Comptroller, a position I held for some 20 years. Before I retired, I took a few theology courses at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, and after I retired, I completed the course requirements for a Master of Theological Studies degree, which I received in 1996 at the age of 70.
My involvement (all volunteer) with the NAB Conference, the Minnesota Association, and my local church is pretty extensive, including among other things:
- General Treasurer for the NAB conference for 25 or so years
- Board member and Chair of the Church Planting Committee
- Chair of the original CEIF (now Church Investors Fund) board and getting CIF up and running
- Area Minister for the Minnesota Association for several years after I retired from my career at Minnesota Mutual.
- Board Member and Treasurer of the tri-state Village Creek Bible Camp for some 25 years
- Many Minnesota Association positions which are too numerous to count
- As a family, we were start-up members of the Apple Valley Baptist Church church extension project
- And far too many positions to begin to enumerate at the Riverview Baptist Church in West St. Paul, Minnesota, where I have attend my entire life
Now in my 92nd year, I just recently sold the home I built in the ‘50s and became a resident of an “independent living” facility, and so far am pleased that I continue to be healthy enough to maintain my daily five-mile walks.
It’s been an interesting life and of course I’ve really only hit a few highlights here. To record more of my life’s history for my family, I have already written four books and am presently working on the 5th, although still only concentrating on the “good stuff”.
I have been truly blessed in so many ways – family, employment, good health, and on and on. But I must say that God’s greatest gift to me was sending His Son, Jesus, to provide for the forgiveness of my sins and my salvation, which, by the way, became clear to me as I was cutting up potatoes for the cows one day in the barn during the depression years.