What is your background?
I grew up on a farm in Cresco, Iowa, the oldest of 11 children. I attended Catholic grade school and high school. Bob and I got married right out of college (Iowa State). In the early years of our marriage I worked in accounting. When our son, Jason, was born I was home, but worked part-time as Waukee Adult Ed Director, as a newspaper correspondent, and also volunteered as faith-formation coordinator. We had three more children during that time—Carolyn, Anne and Laura. When the youngest, Laura, started school I decided to work more away from home part-time. I could have worked only in accounting again, but chose instead to work for a Lutheran Church because in addition to accounting, I had the opportunity to be more creative by doing publications and writing a monthly article. After working there 10 years, I started at St. Boniface with similar responsibilities. April 11 was my 15-year anniversary here. I work four days a week doing the accounting, payroll, reconciliations, state and federal reports (15 in January), and publications — usually a 12-page bulletin and liturgical folders, such as for funerals, and sacramental events.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Sometimes I tell people I am here for the show. These are some examples of what I mean: One January it was very warm and I decided to walk in the park during lunch time, listening to Pandora on my iPhone. When I got back I noticed the funeral home was delivering the body of a CRHP sister who had passed away. I decided I would stand as they brought in her body, kind of like the military does. My Pandora was still playing. I looked down at my device to see what the haunting, beautiful song was that I had never heard before. It was titled the “Whisper of Angels” by Amici Forever. I thought it was very fitting because as the casket was brought in there were statues of angels inset in the four corners. These are a couple verses of the song: I was yours before the first morn broke, Before the sun that woke the earth, And I was yours before rain kissed the ground, Before the first dawn’s sound was heard. I’ll be the whisper of angels, And I’ll be the frost on your glass, And I’ll be the shadows at twilight, I’ll be your first your last.
I believe I have heard the whisper of Angels many times …
When I pick a picture for a funeral worship aid for the cover, I try to find out about the person’s background. For one person I was told that she had farmed with her husband and used to drive a tractor and that she liked the country. I chose a picture of a country lane in a field with a fence and a tree on the side and the sun coming up. Later at the funeral luncheon I was astounded to see that in her video was almost an identical picture—same colors, fence, lane, tree. Also I thought it unusual to put a picture in a video without a person in it.
One time in planning another funeral worship aid, I didn’t have much on the background of the person. In kind of a hurry to get it done, I looked outside and saw crab apple trees in bloom, so I looked for a picture of a crabapple tree. Not finding one I liked, I picked a cherry blossom tree instead. It seemed the right choice when later a staff member said of the lady, “She lived on Cherry Street all her life.”
For one funeral the family requested that the Danube Waltz be played. Bob and I made an unexpected quick trip to Germany where we met our daughter and son-in-law. After dinner we walked around the village and my son-in-law remarked, “There’s the Danube River.” When I got back I asked Steve, “Did you play the Danube Waltz?” He said, “We played it at the luncheon.” With the time difference, I may have been looking at the Danube River right when they were playing the waltz back here.
Getting away from funerals …. going on trips is another thing that contributes more than usual to serendipitous moments, such as the time we went to visit our daughter Anne in California. We were at a warehouse brewery with Anne and some of her friends. Bob and I decided to duck out from the loud scene to go to Saturday night Mass a block away. It happened to be a Japanese-American church. The bulletin was half in Japanese, and the priest was from Japan. He talked about the struggles of seminary there. Returning to work our staff was doing a book study that I prepared for the morning of the study. The material for the week talked about the difficulties of the Catholic Church in Japan. I had gained greater insight about that. The whisper of angels once again …
What are your favorite hobbies or activities?
During the summer Bob and I golf at Hillcrest in Adel and bike usually along the Raccoon River Valley Trail. We also belong to a bridge group. On weekends we usually have our family over for dinner and go to our grandsons’ activities. Our family is planning to gather in July in Santa Rosa when our son-in-law participates in an Ironman competition.