Kevin grew up in a typically Scandinavian-Minnesotan family. His heritage is Swedish, English, Norwegian and Danish. He lived on a dairy farm which is still in his family. He attended a little red brick schoolhouse on the edge of the prairie with 17 other Lutheran students and one ‘token’ Catholic.
My father’s family came from Smaland and Jamtland, Sweden (with an Adams from Suffolk, England mixed in). My mother’s family came from Nels, Norway and the island of Fyn in Denmark. They joined the flood of Scandinavian immigrants at the time when Minnesota was the newest frontier and left their homes for a better life in America, leaving behind stony farms, limited opportunities, and poor prospects.
Some of Kevin’s earliest memories are of church traditions at Arndahl Lutheran (ALC), south of Grove City:
The big Christmas tree and the celebration on Christmas Eve, with us children receiving a bag of peanuts, ribbon candy and a big, red apple. Church picnics, which did include Tuna Noodle Casserole (hot dish, to Lutherans), potato salad and green Jello ‘salad’ with grated carrots.
My mother was the glue that bound me to Christ and his church. From my birth, through her life of 91 years, she has nurtured and encouraged my faith. My faith journey and my life journey have been one.
Kevin’s parents encouraged an interest in geography, which led Kevin to St. Cloud State, a teaching degree, and his wife, Judy. After teaching in Melbourne, Australia and Owatonna, Minnesota, he returned to his farm background and worked for 35 years with the USDA and the Farm Service Agency, bringing the family to Buffalo in 1985.
Pastor Ed ‘nabbed’ us, Pastor John ‘kept us’ and we grew in faith and as a family into this blessed place, the Zion Family.
Zion has become a large part of Kevin’s life, from youth and children’s ministries to music, church leadership, and missions. He enjoys the diversity of membership at Zion and is inspired by the whole of Zion’s family.
[Zion is] God’s people from different faiths, different walks of life, different political views, and different backgrounds with one focus: living and encouraging a Christ-centered life. I can’t imagine life in Buffalo without a life in Zion. God’s blessings of family, friends, work, and play, all accompanied with tears of joy and tears of sorrow, are found and enriched through our Zion Family.
The most recent inspiration came from working with Zion members in Jamaica. Seeing our church in humble ways, helping to bring and receive God’s blessings to those the world has forgotten or wishes to ignore.
Kevin enjoys singing and playing guitar, cutting lumber from the family farm’s 40 acre wood, woodturning, and traveling with his family. In retirement he has started beekeeping. He has served on the Wright County Parks Board since 2003, working to help provide outdoor recreation opportunities and protecting special woodland, prairie, historic and water based environments.
Their children, Kirsten and Peter, grew up and were confirmed at Zion and have found their church homes in other Lutheran congregations.