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Dr. Schaeferle, June Bessman and Rev. Doner to be honored at Peace Church By Margaret Thomsen

October 20, 2011
Northern-Sun Print

Sunday, October 16, Gladbrook Peace United Church of Christ will honor three icons of the church with a special 10:30 AM church service followed by a dinner. It is a celebration of milestones for the 100th birthday of Dr. L.G. Schaeferle, the 60th birthday and 35th anniversary of ordination for Rev. Robert Doner and 45 years of playing organ and piano at Peace Church for June Bessman. The three honorees have not only touched the lives of Peace Congregation, but have reached out into the community and touched so many lives. The public is cordially invited to join the congregation for this special service and celebration. Each honoree will have a bag available for cards. There will be a special puppet service for the children. And sisters, June Bessman and Peggy Rinderknecht, will play a piano/organ duet. Senior Choir has a special selection to sing and a power point presentation featuring the honorees will be shown. Dr. L.G. Schaeferle was born in the tiny town of Havolock, IA on January 25, 1912. (We are celebrating a bit early as he is a snow bird and will leave for Florida in about two weeks.) At six months of age his father, a depot agent, was transferred to Garwin, IA. He graduated from Garwin High School in 1929. Dr. Schaeferle earned a BA from Cornell College at Mount Vernon, Iowa and entered the University of Iowa for Medical School. He graduated from Iowa in 1936 and did an internship in Madison, Wisconsin and in Galveston, Texas. When asked about a funny incident in his career Dr. Schaeferle related this story. It was his freshman year in med school and just before the Thanksgiving holiday his anatomy professor called him in and said he might just as well quit med school and stay home after Thanksgiving, as he was never going to make it. Doc says he went home for Thanksgiving and did not have the heart to tell his Dad. Doc decided to go back to school and try it anyway. He had to take a final oral exam for the semester. The students got to choose which professor gave them the exam. Doc chose the professor who told him to quit. On the day of the test the professor handed Doc a bone and asked what it was. Doc said, "I had no idea and finally told the professor, "I don't know." So the professor reached down and held out another bone and on the bone was clearly written "promotory". That was the name of the bone. I think it was a set up job. I got a B for the course. And as they say, the rest is history." As seniors the med students were asked who they admired. And Dr. Schaeferle said, "I named my anatomy professor." Dr. Schaeferle began his medical practice in Gladbrook in 1938. He and his wife, Tommy, were parents to Mark and Karen. In 1941 he received notice that he was to report to active duty to fight in World War II. He spent time overseas on the battle front caring for injured soldiers. In 1945 he returned to Gladbrook to resume his medical career. In 1978 Dr. Schaeferle sold his practice to Dr. Lund and he continued to work full time for one year and then part time for two years. Full retirement began in 1981. In 1965 Doc married Mary Jane Blaine and she and her three children, Jodi, Larry and Chuck, came to Gladbrook. Between the two of them they are parents of five, grandparents to twelve and great-grandparents to fifteen. Doc said when he came to Gladbrook he was a Methodist, but, "I liked Rev. Barton's attitude, I enjoyed his sermons and I could follow them." And Dr. Schaeferle remains an active member of Peace Church and is also our oldest member. Congratulations, Doc. Rev. Robert Doner is our second honored person. He just celebrated his 60th birthday and also his 35th year of ordination. He was born in Blue Island Illinois and graduated from Lincoln-Way High School in New Lennox, Illinois. He grew up with his brothers on a small farm and has many adventures to share - like getting run over with the tractor and losing their home to a tornado. As a child Rev. Doner was mesmerized by trains. This love was attributed to his Grandpa Doner who was an engineer on the Rock Island Railroad. He says, "I could always see myself being on the railroad." But the call of God was stronger and he headed off to Elmhurst College and on to Lancaster Seminary in Lancaster, PA. Following graduation from seminary he became associate pastor at Dubbs Memorial UCC at Allentown, PA. He served several other churches in PA before heading to Iowa and Peace Church in 1999. The summer following his first year at Elmhurst he took a summer job at Malanco and met up with a young lady named Susan Kaptur. She was about to enter Elmhurst as a freshman. And 34 years ago, following his first year as a minister, Rev. Doner and Susan Kaptur were married. She is a teacher and is well known to area students as a substitute teacher. The Doners are the parents of two daughters. Andrea and Matt Goes live in West Des Moines and Alyssa and Luke Meridith live in Columbia, Missouri. (They were just wed on October 1.) Animals are a great love of Rev. Doner he has an extensive collection of animal puppets and, thanks in part to Alyssa, Dad to assorted kitty-cats, dogs, a horse, a bunny and even a duck. A hobby of Rev. Doner is the study of the Civil War. He has an extensive collection of books, memorabilia and even a large original oil painting. Rev. Doner's long infatuation with the railroad continues as he is restoring the Lionel train set handed down to him from his Father and Grandfather Doner. When asked to relate a funny happening during a service, Rev. Doner laughed and said it had to be a wedding. The couple were at the altar and the groom accidentally stepped on the bride's train. Off it came. It was somehow attached via Velcro and easily became detached. The maid of honor was beside her self and quickly got it reattached. Crisis over no as the couple knelt the congregation began to chuckle. Some prankster had written "911" on the soles of the grooms shoes. Rev. Doner says there have been lots of nice things happen during his years of ministry. But he says, "I must say, my daughter's weddings are my most memorable." When asked what he viewed as the best part of Peace Church he noted, "I saw at the very beginning that this was a very welcoming and loving congregation. I felt like I could belong." And Peace Congregation is very glad you do belong! And lastly, but certainly in no way least, we recognize June (Hoing) Bessman for her 45 years as organist/pianist at Peace Church. June's road to playing the piano began when she was in third grade and she began taking lessons from Mrs. Ruth Mussig. June took lessons through eighth grade and she said, "Mrs. Mussig said I pretty much knew it all, from then on it was just a matter of practicing". June says in eighth grade she began playing for Sunday School, Y.F. And Junior Choir (Mrs. Poeschel was the director). In the fall of 1965 , her sophomore year in high school, June started as organist for church to fill in as her sister, Peggy, went to college. She also became accompanist for Junior and Senior Choir with Winifred Thomsen as director. Amy Hoing, June's Mom really took to heart Mrs. Mussig's advice about practicing. When June wanted to go out for basketball, her Mom said, "No." June says, "Every nite after school I went to the church after school to PRACTICE!" At one time there were two services each Sunday morning. Easter time Holy Week was always the busiest. June relates, "I pretty much lived at the church that week. It took a lot of practicing for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunrise and two Easter Services." During the 45 years June has served Peace Church as pianist/organist there have been five ministers and three interim pastors. She adds, "I have played for 112 weddings, the last one being last weekend for one of my former piano students. A lot of miles and hours spent practicing at many different churches. I've also played for around 300 funerals." She says, "I average about 56 services a year." When June began playing organ it was the old pipe organ. In 2001 a new digital organ was added. June was in college at UNI from 1969 to 1973, but came back to play at various times for church and in the summer for funerals and weddings. Also during her Junior year in college she served as organist for nine weeks at the UCC Church in Cedar Falls. In 1977 Peace Church had five organists they could call upon. The organists were Carma Horstmann, Chris Goos, Sue Martens, Lora Mullinix and June Bessman. Church Secretary Amy Hoing would make up the schedule of who played when. June has touched the lives of many as she was the Pre-school teacher at Crayon Corner for many years and worked in the Gladbrook school system. For a number of years she was a devoted piano teacher to countless area youth. June and her husband, Ron Bessman, live west of Gladbrook and are the parents of daughter, Brenda Egesdale of Reinbeck. Adding a lot of joy to their lives is Grandson Caleb Egesdale. The family will enjoy a very exciting Christmas as Brenda and her husband, Doug Egsdale are expecting a baby in December. There is a song that says, "Thanks for the memories." June Bessman, Peace Congregation says, "Thanks for the music. We do not know what we would do with out you! It's been a great 45 years!"

 
 

 

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