Mary Lynn grew up on a farm near Hector, MN. She attended a rural congregation, Swedlanda Lutheran Church, where Christmas Eve services were still held in Swedish. She was baptized, confirmed and married at that church.
That church was the foundation of my Lutheran beliefs. My parents were devout Lutherans and lived a life of faith and goodness. Their parents were all Swedish immigrants. Our family life was centered in that church. Sunday school, Junior Mission Band, Confirmation, Luther League and choir were all instrumental in my development as a Lutheran believer.
She attended Augsburg College and majored in music education.
I sang in the Augsburg Choir all four years, an experience that helped shape me as a person and as a Lutheran. Leland Sateren, my director, was a mentor I looked up to and I cherish the things he taught me.
Mary Lynn married Gary 52 years ago. She taught junior high school and elementary music during Gary’s veterinary education.
When he was a student at the University of Minnesota and I was teaching in Osseo, MN, we joined the University of Minnesota Lutheran Church of Hope. Pastor David Preuss was the pastor who every Sunday challenged us as Lutherans to be socially pro-active. During the time we attended his church (1966-1968), he participated in civil rights marches in the South. He was fervent in his beliefs and lived his life as a model of action. He was very influential in my belief that we as Lutherans are called to be involved in defense of the poor, outcast, forgotten, the hungry, and the defenseless. This is my strongest conviction as a Lutheran to this day.
Mary Lynn doesn’t have one favorite Bible verse.
I can say that what I glean from the New Testament is a message of love toward God and one another. In the New Testament we are told over and over again to be compassionate, kind, and generous.
They moved to Menomonie, WI, in 1968 and lived there for close to 10 years.
In addition to teaching there, I directed a boy’s choir for a short time and also pursued my degree in guidance counseling. We joined Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and I taught Sunday school and sang in the choir.
Gary and Mary Lynn moved to Buffalo in 1977, and Gary joined the Buffalo Veterinary Clinic. In 1979 Mary Lynn became a guidance counselor at Buffalo High School.
This experience taught me many lessons and enriched my life. My natural inclination of compassion toward others was reinforced and reignited every day!
They soon met Pastor Ed Blair and Pastor John Folkerds, became members of Zion, and Mary Lynn has been involved in many ministries at Zion and beyond.
I have been a member of the choir for 41 years, Gary and I were part of a refugee resettlement program many years ago (one of the things I have felt the most satisfaction from in my whole life), and I also mix up your crepes for Harvest of Hands! I also help decorate for Christmas and plant flowers in the spring. I have served on the church council and the Zion Foundation.
I know that God is at work in many areas of the world, but there are four mission programs that Gary and I are especially fond of: Villages of Hope in Zambia, Hearts Together for Haiti, Lutheran Partners in Global Mission, and Nepal Social Service Fund. In each case, we know people who are deeply involved in creating and administering these programs.
Mary Lynn started delivering Meals on Wheels when her children were young.
I felt it was a service that we could do together as a family and that they could feel good about – and they did! Now that they are parents themselves and our grandchildren are experiencing the same thing when they help us. They really look forward to it and children always bring a special kind of joy.
Sharing food has always meant more than sustenance. Sharing food is a way of connecting with others. We have many programs at Zion where sharing food is an important component, where we meet and greet friends and help those in need.
Many recipients of Meals on Wheels have very little human contact. I enjoy the feeling I have when I know that in some small but important way, I may have been able to ease someone’s burden and perhaps make a spiritual connection. It’s interesting to observe all the different reactions when knocking or ringing the doorbell. Some folks are quite shy, others bubble with enthusiasm for the day and exude their appreciation.
Meals on Wheels relies solely on volunteers. If you have not signed up before or you are reluctant, I urge you to give it a try. It’s really not hard and the time commitment is really not great. Some folks partner up and make it a cooperative effort. Gary and I work together. He drives and I navigate using my cellphone GPS. Maps are also provided. The more drivers we have, the more people get to experience this wonderful mission and share the responsibility we have for this task.
Their children are now grown. Natalie is married to Chris (McClory), has three children, and lives in Maple Lake and owns the “Irish Blessings” coffee house. Tammy is married to Jimmy (Hendrickson), has three daughters, and teaches 3rd grade in Watertown. Charles is single and lives in Montrose.
We are so fortunate to have our family so close to us.
Mary Lynn retired after 28 years at Buffalo High School and has taken up the hobby of Scandinavian flat-plane carving and spoon carving.