60th Anniversary Celebration – November 25, 2018

Good Shepherd celebrated its 60th anniversary on November 25, 2018.  Pr. R. David Kesey-Berg, who served at Good Shepherd from 1965-1974, preached at this festival service.  The day was celebrated with a special recognition of charter members and their children, a brunch after the service, and distribution of an anniversary history booklet recounting the recent history of the congregation.  

Photos chronicling the event are posted on flickr on the Good Shepherd website.  They are gathered into an album called “60th Anniversary”.

Excerpts from the oral histories conducted with charter members who are current congregation members, recorded by Doris Barnaal on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the congregation in 2008.

Verne Koenig:
It (the farm) was an open field and they had some buildings – and this was a sheep pasture.  I can recall seeing sheep grazing in this field where the church now stands.  Unfortunately we never took any pictures.  We could see it so plainly from our house—it was an open field. 

LaVerne and Ray Ramsey (deceased). Bev Ramsey Nelson, their daughter, is a “charter child” of the congregation who was two years old when her parents joined Good Shepherd.  Summary below:

Bev had her wedding before the new sanctuary was built.  As much as people disliked the painting on the front wall of the old sanctuary, it went well with the dark green dresses the girls wore.  LaVerne made the green dresses as well as Beverly’s white dress. 

Richard and Mildred (Milly) Dinger. Summary below:

Richard and George (Knudson) built the raised platform at the north end of the first sanctuary [now Fellowship Hall].  He remembers the platform held the altar furniture, pulpit and the communion railings and there were tile floors and folding chairs.  Richard donated his time in drafting plans for the cabinetry in one of the original church offices…The cabinets and woodwork in these offices were made of vertically grained white fir plywood, which the architect had specified.

Midge Kjome, confirmed May 17, 1959:

We were west siders and I think we though it was important to support west side development. And we liked the idea of a church in our own neighborhood. West Decorah has always been a very caring community, caring about each other, and when your neighbors also are going to church at the same time you are, that caring and participation is enhanced.

Lowell Erdman, engineer, inspected the Good Shepherd property in 1958 and his report included:  

(1) Making sure the building was located in the proper place on the lot, so far from the street, etc. to meet the city code. (2) There was a real question as to how high the floor should be, because it is a flat piece of land it did not drain well…We had the same discussion on the sidewalk in front. (There were no springs on the property.) (3) Checked all construction to see that it met plans and specifications.

Lindsay Erdman, engineer, was the second child baptized at Good Shepherd (12/28/58). Lindsay remembers:

After I returned from four years away at college it took awhile before I got reconnected and reintegrated back into the church…The church was interested in expanding their parking possibilities and creating handicap accessible entrance parking opportunities. So we [Erdman Engineering] got involved That really got me back into the stream of things because I was at meetings and trying to work things out with committees…There certainly were some concerns – sitting in the sanctuary and staring out the window at a parking lot and a car instead of trees…It’s holding up well, we’re actually parking twice as many cars there than originally planned for but it serves the purpose that much better.

John Bale remembers the Church League Softball games: 

I was an outfielder. Kent Finanger was the coach. He was a rah-rah sort of guy. It was my last gasp of doing anything like that…It was good for me and good for the people on the team; we identified with Good Shepherd. It’s one of those associations that sort of cements your loyalty. I would say there were very positive memories of it, not because I hit particularly well, but it was fun. I really enjoyed that kind of thing.