We are always excited when new members become part of our community. They each add a new dimension to life at Memorial UCC. Here are the people who have joined us since 2009, with the most recent at the top. If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact Pastor Phil.
December 18, 2016
Dick is a retired United Church of Christ pastor who served UCC churches in Wisconsin for 35 years — most recently in Manitowoc at First Reformed United Church of Christ. He grew up in the village of Black Creek, Wisconsin attending an Evangelical and Reform congregation that later became part of the UCC. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in Minnesota.
Dick is married to Mary who is a retired registered nurse (a graduate of UW-Madison and then UW-Milwaukee for her MBA. She spent almost 40 years working in various hospice organizations — most recently as the CEO of Horizon Hospice in Chicago. She is a member of Temple Beth El. They have three adult children — Andrea, Heather, and Amanda.
Dick enjoys running (very slowly, he says), bicycling (“also very slowly”), swimming (“thus far, I’ve been able to keep from drowning”), playing the guitar (“rather poorly”), reading (“I’m also a rather slow reader”), and doing projects around the house (“I have found plenty of these since we moved here”).
Solveig and Jonathan Schroerlucke
Solveig and Jonathan came into our lives as extraordinary talented musicians – Jonathan as our music director since 2015, Solveig as a wonderful soprano. They met and were friends at Verona Area High School – sang in choir, vocal jazz and musical theater together – but they didn’t get together as a couple until 2012.
Solveig earned her BA at Lawrence University, majoring in government & French. Jonathan earned his BA in music education at North Central College in Naperville, Ill. He performed in theater and opera companies in the Chicago area and then sang with the Florentine Opera in Milwaukee for five years. In addition to his job with us, he now works for the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra. He’s a big fan of the Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Brewers. His parents – Sandra and Keith – often worship here and Solveig’s parents – Ellen and Gary Smithback – are occasionally around here as well.
Solveig and Jonathan have been living in Stoughton since July last year. Solveig’s main projects right now are raising little Eowyn (4 months old), taking care of their French Bulldog, Elphie & rescue dog, Hugo and Jonathan’s 10-year old goldfish named Seamus. Solveig says Jonathan always points out that she forgets about Seamus when talking about their pets. They are also working on
October 23, 2016
Heather and John Dipko
Heather and John are transplants to Wisconsin, both originally from Ohio. John grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland and Heather is from the Ohio Valley. They met their freshman year at Kent State University where John majored in journalism and sociology and Heather majored in accounting and business. After college, a job opportunity for John at the Green Bay Press-Gazette brought them to Wisconsin in 1997. Heather completed her MBA at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, focusing on human resources.
They were married and moved to Madison in 2001, where John worked in the newspaper’s capital bureau. John has worked for the state since 2005, first as Public Information Director for the Department of Corrections and currently as Communications Director for the Department of Workforce Development.
Heather has held positions in the financial and legal sectors, including working for the law firm that represents the Green Bay Packers. Locally, she has worked for Stoughton Trailers and WEA Trust. She now works as a realtor with First Weber.
They reside in Fitchburg with their son, Jack, who will be 3 in January. In their free time, the family enjoys reading, outdoor activities, and traveling. They have a special present coming this holiday season. Madelyn (Maddy) Grace is due December 15th.
October 16, 2016
Brian and Barrie Martin
Brian was born and raised in Dixon, IL and graduated from the University of Illinois. After practicing law in Dixon for a few years, he moved to Madison to start an office for Edward Jones Investments. Despite living in Wisconsin for 20 years, he can’t escape his kids reminding him daily how great Bucky Badger is and how bad the Illini are. Outside of work and sports, Brian enjoys fishing, making home movies, and the occasional poker game with requisite cigar.
Barrie grew up on the east side of Madison and attended UW-LaCrosse and University of Texas. After living in Texas for 8 years, she moved back to Madison. She taught as a classroom teacher and reading specialist for over 20 years and is now “retired.” She secretly (or not so secretly) encourages her children when they mock their father’s misplaced allegiance to Illinois sports teams. Barrie enjoys helping out at her boys’ schools, gardening, DIY projects, biking, and yoga.
They have two children, Griffin (9) and Thatcher (6). Griffin is in 3rd grade in McFarland and loves all things sports, fishing, and Harry Potter. Thatcher is a first grader who’s also into sports, as well as animals – especially snow wolves.
Barrie’s mom, Georgine Hinz, introduced them to the church and they immediately felt comfortable and welcomed. They look forward to getting to know fellow members, hearing God’s word and joining projects that benefit our community.
Scot and Jen Williams
Jen and Scot are people who like to be active.
Scot was born and raised in the upper peninsula of Michigan. He owns and runs Oregon Bike and Skate store in Oregon, Wis. Not surprisingly, he enjoys mountain biking but also downhill skiing, hiking and reading.
Jen was born and raised in Waukesha. She owns and runs Saddle Up Horse Training where she gives horseback riding lessons and trains horses. She, too, enjoys mountain biking, down hill skiing and hiking as well as canoeing, gardening, quilting and reading.
They have two sons – Jack and Calvin.
April 17, 2016
Brian and Wade James-Richardson
Brian James was born in Columbus, grew up in Reedsburg and got nursing degrees from Madison Area Technical College and Marian College in Fond du Lac. He has worked for the past 10 years in hospice care, including returning to Agrace Hospice for a second since he and Wade moved back to Wisconsin from Orlando, Florida a year ago this month.
Wade Richardson was born in Indiana, but his family moved to Madison and he graduated from Madison West in 1980. He went into the Navy after high school and served as a cook – a skill that has shaped his work life ever since, He has been a cook for a number of local restaurants, including 13 years at the old CJ’s in the Westgate Mall. He managed a Krispy Kreme in Eden Prairie, Minn,, came back to Madison as head chef for the Conpass Group.
Brian and Wade met in 2005, got their union blessed in a wedding ceremony at McFarland UCC in 2007 then got legally married in New York City in 2013.
Along the way, they decided in 2009 to move to the warmer clines of Florida where Wade worked as a chef for Sea World and then for Disney World while Brian worked as a nurse. But family drew them back to Wisconsin last year and then they found Memorial a few months ago just down the road from their home in the Swan Creek area of Fitchburg. Wade is now the executive chef at Oakwood West.
They like to bicycle and have been very involved with the AIDS ride over the years. Brian likes working in the yard, doing puzzles and making people smile. Wade is teaching him more about cooking, which Wade says takes a lot of time and patience. Wade likes softball, golfing and bowling. They both enjoy their three “children” – Chihuahuas named Bella, Stella and PeeWee.
February 21, 2016
Danielle and Ryan Kools got married in the summer of 2014 and now have a wonderful baby girl named Aubree who we will be baptizing here in a couple of weeks. But today, we are welcoming Danielle and Ryan into membership at Memorial UCC.
This is a familiar place to Danielle. She grew up just around the corner from church and her best friend is Katherine Huber Smith, who grew up in this congregation. Danielle went to high school in Verona and graduated from UW-Madison. She enjoys cooking, gardening reading and scrap booking and almost all things crafty. She says she loves to try new things.
Ryan grew up in Appleton, He graduated from UW-Platteville and now works at Sub-Zero. He enjoys hunting and fishing.
Together, they enjoy traveling, exploring new places and exploring the outdoors. They love their dogs and are excited to watch Aubree grow.
Tiffani and Mike Roltgen are new to Fitchburg but not to Madison. Mike has been in the area since post-college, and Tiffani joined him when they were married in 2009. Both former teachers, the two met when Tiffani’s college friend connected the two of them. At the time, Tiffani was teaching family and consumer sciences at Park High School in Cottage Grove, MN, and Mike was teaching math at McFarland High School.
Mike currently works in technical services at Epic, and Tiffani is an Assistant Children’s Librarian at Fitchburg Public Library. In their non-existent free time, Mike enjoys playing strategy games, calculating the number of years before he can retire, and playing soccer. Tiffani loves reading, volunteering, cooking, and running marathons; if you follow the Boston Marathon, you can check in on her this April when she completes that well-known 26.2-mile course.
Tiffani and Mike have two daughters, Adelline and Stella, and one son, MacArthur. Addy is a kindergartener at Verona Area International School (VAIS). Stella is a preschooler at Christ Memorial Preschool. Baby MacArthur is the newest addition to the family.
The Roltgens are excited about the children’s programming at Memorial UCC, and they look forward to being involved in the life of the church.
January 24, 2016
C.Y. Allen and Janet Allen moved to Fitchburg from Stevens Point last November. He began teaching at UW-Stevens Point in 1969 and retired in 2008 as Professor Emeritus. His field was communications.
C.Y. and Janet will have been married 54 years this coming May. They have three daughters – Jacy lives in Oregon, Kendra lives in Madison and Crescent in Chicago.
C.Y. was very active on the Stevens Point campus and in the larger Stevens Point community. He was recognized for excellence in teaching at UW-Stevens Point and received recognition for early adoption and successful employment of computer technology for distance learning.
Janet taught English in the public schools in Stevens Point. She describes their move to Fitchburg as her last great adventure and hopes to make it a great one. She loves reading and playing piano. Sadly, she will soon be adding walking if Jacy gets her way – and she usually does.
Karen and Michael Bryant moved to Madison about 20 years ago so Karen could attend the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. It was not their intention to stay after graduation but they fell in love with Madison and like many UW grads stayed put.
Michael works as Marketing Director for Sony in Middleton. Their division produces software for audio and video production. Michael has been involved with music most of his life. He has been a professional musician, composer and manager of several recording studios.
Karen owns To Your Door Vet. It is a successful housecall veterinary practice that fills a need to see pets who are too stressed to go to a clinic (almost all cats in the universe!) and for people who find it hard to travel such as disabled or elderly folks.
For fun, Karen loves to ski and is a member of the National Ski Patrol and volunteers as a patroller at Cascade Mountain. They both love to garden, travel and spend time with their 4 year old grandson, Forest, who lives in town.
They are grateful to the members of UCC for making them feel welcomed and are delighted to find a congregation that vibrantly practices the gospel’s teachings.
Terry and Jan Hoffman
Terry retired from human resources to write that great American novel. She loves traveling, cooking, painting and music.
She volunteered at DAIS as a speaker/educator on domestic abuse for 13 years, speaking in the community and in high schools. She continues to speak about family violence at UW’s School of Social Work. She has published a book and maintains a blog for survivors.
Jan is a retired school teacher – 32 years teaching science to 12 years-olds. Hobbies include gardening, golfing, travel, woodworking and many more.
Jan and Terry have 4 children between them, 6 grandchildren, and Max–a rescued Westie.
August 23, 2015
Michelle Riesterer and Lisa Strub have been attending here over the past year and have taken the plunge to become formal members.
Lisa has two adult children. She grew up in Iowa and moved to Madison 20 years ago. She works for the City of Madison as a child care specialist. She has been part of our worship committee here and helps out at Luke House. For fun, she enjoys watching sports, spending time with her family and with the two beautiful English yellow labs she and Michelle have.
Michelle grew up in a small town in east central Wisconsin. She served in the Army and moved back to Madison 26 years ago. She has been with Madison Police Department for 25 years, the last 15 as a detective. Like Lisa, she sports and the dogs, known as “the yellows.”
Lisa and Michelle have been in a relationship for about 17 years. Next month, one of the yellows will be the ring-bearer at their wedding.
Sean and Emily O’Brien moved into the Oak Meadow neighborhood in Fitchburg 3 summers ago. They both attended Verona High School and started dating while they were both attending the UW-Madison. They got hitched in the summer of 2009.
Sean is the Director of Commercial Lending at WHEADA (Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority) and is proud to be in charge of a program that offers rehabilitation and low-income housing to families across Wisconsin. Emily is the Practice Manager at Odyssey Veterinary Care where she works with fellow Memorial UCC member Kaitlin Young.
Sean and Emily have two daughters, Riley and Celeste and a very sweet dog named Sammy. Riley was baptized at Memorial UCC when she was 3 months old after having a pretty rocky start as a premature baby born 6 weeks early. Despite her early arrival and 3 week NICU stay, Riley is now a silly and sassy 2.5 year-old who is in the 98th percentile for height and weight. Their younger daughter Celeste, (or Cece as they call her) just turned 1 on July 31st and enjoys chasing around her big sister, playing with bubbles, and giving high fives. She was baptized here on May 17.
In their free time Emily and Sean like to…oh wait, they have a 1 and a 2 year-old, there is no free time!
July 26, 2015
Peggy McEvilly grew up in Toledo Ohio, earned her bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University and then moved to San Francisco in 1973 with an amazing trip across the U.S. and Canada. She got married and she got divorced there. She was an Episcopalian until she moved to Madison in 2011.
She came to this area because she has family here and in Glenview, Ill. She is quite open about saying that she is an alcoholic who has been sober since 1977. When she came to Madison, she went to AA meetings at Plymouth UCC on Atwood Avenue, tried going to church there and became a member there since she really liked it. When she moved into Avalon Assisted Living on Fish Hatchery Road in April, she started coming to Memorial.
When she was physically able, she traveled a lot. She went to Turkey twice, to Egypt and Jordan, the Greek Islands, Peru, Russia, the Adriatic countries, the Galapagos. Now she has back issues that prevent her from travelling any more.
Chris Rode was born and raised in Milwaukee. In 1979 she moved with her then-husband to Salt Lake City. While in the West, they enjoyed hiking, horse back riding and tent camping. They returned to Wisconsin in 1981. At that time she completed her undergraduate degree in social work and psychology followed by her master’s degree in social work. She worked as a social worker for 31 years, but then had to go on disability in August of 2014 because of health issues. She hopes to return to her profession in the next year.
Chris was born and raised Lutheran. She now finds Memorial UCC to be very refreshing and a perfect fit for her spiritual growth and development. She says she has “never experienced such a loving and welcoming church community!” and wants to say a big thank you to everyone for all the support and prayers during her recent hospitalizations – as well as a big thank you to Bob and Jeff for their weekly assistance with her wheelchair and parking her car.
February 1, 2015
Sarah and Ryan Estrella have been married for 10 years. They met at UW-Madison School of Social Work. They have lived in Fitchburg for 10 years and now they have three children.
Ryan works for Dane County Human Services as a Joining Forces for Families social worker (has held this position for about 10 years). He enjoys watching NFL (although maybe not this week’s game), and loves cars he (sold cars for a stint in between college and grad school)
Sarah works for the Madison Metropolitan School District as a school social worker (12+years), currently at Jefferson Middle School. She loves to read and the outdoors, and the kids also want me to say that she likes to sleep. (She won’t deny it!)
Noah: 7, 1st grade at Leopold Elementary, loves the Packers, Legos, reading chapter books and playing soccer; Abby: 5, Kindergarten at Leopold Elementary, loves Frozen, Hello Kitty, sparkly things, coloring, swimming and dancing; Lucy: turns 2 on Feb. 4th, talks all the time, loves to color, Elmo, babies and basically loves to do anything Abby and Noah are doing.
January 25, 2015
Rita and Roger Elver moved to Fitchburg from Platteville in July of 2014. They had lived in Platteville for about 40 years.
They have two married children – a daughter in Louisville, KY and a son in Milwaukee. And there are three wonderful grandchildren in Milwaukee.
Roger is a retired dentist. Rita retired as economic development director for the City of Platteville. While in Platteville, they were members of the United Methodist Church there. And their new next door neighbors are Ellen and Phil!
January 18, 2015
Sue Williams came to Madison in the early 1980s from Ann Arbor, Michigan. She has been with the Madison Police Department since 1988 and earlier this month was promoted to Assistant Chief of Police. She is the first female to hold this rank in the Madison Police Department.
Last summer, she celebrated her 20th anniversary with her life partner, Mary Celley. They live on a farm in Brooklyn and share their home with dogs, cats, horses and chickens. There are also a few bees out there – Mary has been selling honey at the Dane County Farmers’ Market at the Bee Charmer stand for a quarter of a century.
Sue was raised a Methodist but since moving to Wisconsin, she had not found a church she found comfortable with until she found Memorial.
January 11, 2015
Tylor and Danielle Wendt are both the oldest of large families. Tylor’s mother and four of his siblings live in Detroit and his father and two of his siblings live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Tylor is pursuing a career in culinary arts and is interested in video games.
While Danielle grew up in St. Louis, her parents and three of her five brothers now live in Monroe. The other two live here… one with Tylor and Danielle. She has a bachelors in English Lit from UW-Madison and hopes to pursue a graduate degree. In the meantime, she is working in business development at Conney Safety.
Arthur is 2 years old… he likes Star Wars, David Bowie, trains, dinosaurs, cheese, and swimming.
While both Tylor and Danielle grew up in, to varying degrees, in religious households, they have struggled to find a sense of community in Madison and have felt blessed by the acceptance and love of folks at Memorial UCC.
November 23, 2014
Tara and Doug Heimerl have been worshipping with us over the past year They live in Verona and have three kids – Henry, Sam and Sophia.
Tara grew up at Lake Edge UCC. Doug and Tara were married there. And the kids were baptized there. The youngest – Sophia – was baptized by our own Lisa Schoenwetter when she was serving there as the interim pastor. They live in Verona. Doug is a police officer in Fitchburg. Tara works for Social Security disability.
What with work and kids, there’s not a lot of free time for Tara and Doug, but they enjoy running and weight lifting. And of course they enjoy watching their trio grow and doing things with them. Henry and Sam like Minecraft, Legos and anything physical. Sophia enjoys dolls, princesses or anything sparkly.
November 16, 2014
John and Cindy Rosch both enjoy cooking and reading and the outdoors. John loves his vegetable garden and Cindy loves her quilting.
They have three sons who live in the Madison area. And they have 8 grandkids.
Cindy is a long-time teacher in the DeForest Schools. John keeps the computers going so DOT keeps functioning.
They happy to be joining a church community that is so focused on social justice and being servants to those in need.
June 22, 2014
Nicholas and Elisabeth Dachniwskyj (Doc-new-ski ☺) have been looking to rejoin a spiritual community but really needed to find a church with beliefs that meshed with their own. They found kindness, openness, and warmth from everyone at Memorial and knew that it was the community that they had been searching for.
Nicholas grew up in Pewaukee, WI and was raised and confirmed in the Catholic Church. Elisabeth grew up in the Madison area and was (off and on) part of the Church of Christ on the north side of Madison. They both attended UW-Platteville, which is where they met.
They have been married for one year as of Monday (June 23) and currently live in Fitchburg. They have a dog, two guinea pigs and a fish.
Nicholas works as a mechanical engineer at Terso Solutions in Fitchburg. Elisabeth currently works part-time at Target Optical on Madison’s west side, but is a full-time students at UW Platteville (again) pursuing her degree in Elementary Education.
Jim was born and raised in urban Milwaukee and thought about going into ministry or medicine, but instead pursued conscientious objection to military combat, the cause of civil rights, and the War on Poverty. After graduating from UW-Milwaukee, he worked as a community organizer in Nashville and the Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee. But four years later, he says “necessity and opportunity” led to 35 years in the design and construction industry, business consulting, and veterinary practice development.
His first marriage produced what he describes as “a family rich in cultural, racial, and personal diversity.” And he continues: “By grace, I was given an incredible second chance with Jan to share love and an examined life, and not just with her, but with an accepting blended family and growing squad of grandchildren.”
Jan, meanwhile, has lived in Wisconsin all her life – in Lancaster, Baraboo, Portage, and Madison – but says she was born with the travel gene in her DNA. She experienced that growing up with her family, did it with her children and now with Jim and his family. She taught English at Madison Area Technical College and echoes Jim when she says “one of the true blessings in my life has been meeting and marrying Jim.”
Lisa and Justin Karnes visited Memorial several years ago for a Christmas service and received such a warm welcome even though we knew they were “those people” who just show up on holidays, Lisa says she has visited other churches, but looks forward to joining Memorial and becoming more involved.
Justin and Lisa are both originally from Iowa – Justin from Des Moines, Lisa from Dubuque – and met while attending the University of Iowa in Iowa City.
After spending a couple years in Florida, they moved to Madison in 2005. Justin recently started working at American Girl in Middleton as a finance director. Lisa works part-time at Wisconsin Public Television in Madison as a planned giving manager.
Maya is 6 ½ and will start first grade in the fall. She loves gymnastics, singing, ice skating, and swimming. She is also a very proud big sister. Nolan turned two at the end of May and keeps everyone on their toes! He likes playing outside – especially in sandboxes – and chasing after the family cats, Emmy and Diva. Maya will be participating in Vacation Bible School in August and has enjoyed learning and making friends at Sunday school. When Nolan either gets older or finally adjusts to the nursery room, Lisa says we’ll see more of him and Justin on Sunday mornings.
And they say: “We’re proud to be part of the Memorial UCC since everyone seems to be accepted there. We want to raise our children to be open-minded and we feel like Memorial is a place where differences are respected and celebrated.”
June 15, 2014
Tammy has been a mental health social worker for 25 years. She is originally from Chicago but grew up a good part of her life in Wisconsin Rapids. She has family in Wisconsin and in the Chicago area.
Marcia has been a law enforcement dispatcher for 29 years at the University Police Department, She was born and raised in Edgerton and her brother Henry and his wife Sharon continue to live there.
They have five cats and two dogs and are true animal lovers. They both enjoy outdoor activities like biking, hiking and taking their dogs to the various dog parks.
When football season rolls around they both enjoy Badger and Packer football and sometimes attend a game.
February 2, 2014
Carl Pfeiffer has transferred his membership to Memorial from Lake Edge UCC on the east side. For many years – from the mid-1950s to the late 1980s – Carl was a science teacher at Monona Grove High School. With his fellow teachers, he pioneered new ways of teaching science that integrated all the various scientific disciplines.
He and his wife, now deceased, had four children. He now lives in Stoughton and enjoys spending his summers at the family cabin near Eagle River, just a stone’s throw from the UCC camp at Moon Beach.
He has a particular passion for exploring the meaning of faith in his life and in our world.
Heather and Jason Leiber have been married for almost 12 years. They grew up and met in Green Bay, and were married at the Presbyterian church there. Heather grew up Catholic, Jason grew up Protestant. Their two daughters are Amelia, who is 8 and in second grade, and Avery, who is 22 months old.
Jason works part time at Stoughton hospital as a respiratory therapist. The rest of the time, he is – in Heather’s words – “a fantastic stay at home dad and cook.” Heather works full time (plus) as a physician assistant at the UW in vascular surgery. She is a 2004 grad of UW.
And what about their spare time? What’s that, asks Heather. They enjoy movies and eating out, Jason makes really good beer and is active at the gym. Heather says she occasionally gets to sleep.
They say they are excited to join a community to reaffirm their faith and introduce their children to this community.
November 24, 2013
Jane Landretti grew up in Burlington, Iowa and went on to study at Cornell College, Drake law school and Uppsala University in Sweden. She first visited Wisconsin to race the Birkebeiner ski race from Cable to Hayward.
Some guy named Jason from Madison struck up a conversation at the start line. Coincidentally, he appeared again in the chicken dumpling tent at the end of the race. After a series of trips from Iowa getting to know Jason and Wisconsin better, Jane decided she liked them both.
Jane now works as an attorney for the Wisconsin DNR on water quality issues. She and Jason love hanging out with their little guy Gus and competing in triathlons, cross country ski and cycling races. She also finds it fun to try adventurous and healthful new recipes in the kitchen and to play her violin.
Sue and Don Smith recently moved to Verona from Mondovi, which is near Eau Claire. Their three kids had demanded that it was time to downsize and to be near one of them.
Sue is a retired dietitian (her husband is now sole client). She enjoys gardening, and was very active in a large Mondovi garden club. She also enjoys cooking, reading and photography, and has taken up bridge again.
Don practiced farm animal vet medicine for 30 years, first in the Galena area, then in Mondovi, and he has the satisfaction of knowing that both practices are still alive and well. They also owned a livestock farm for a while. He is a history buff, and also dabbles in painting and print making.
They have had many interesting travel adventures, often involving bicycles and canoes, but they say that “now Father Time has relegated us to the old rocking chair.” They have also embraced environmental and conservation causes, to which we devoted much time and effort.They come to us after being members of Eau Claire First Congregational UCC for 25 years, so they found Memorial to be a comfortable place for them with the warmth of this congregation.
Johanna Draper Carlson and KC Carlson moved to Fitchburg just over a year ago from Richmond, Virginia.
KC grew up in Janesville and lived in Madison for most of the 80s, and they’re glad to get back to the Midwest after living in the Northeast and the South. They appreciate Madison’s local food sources, outdoor activities, diverse culture, and plenty of things to do.
Johanna is a Quality Assurance Manager with Sony Creative Software in Middleton, and KC is a freelance writer, including a regular column for local company Westfield Comics. They met at a comic book convention and worked together at DC Comics before escaping New York City. Now, they both write for and run ComicsWorthReading.com as well as sharing a home with too many collections, including CDs, DVDs, and of course, comics. They’re happy to find a welcoming church community that isn’t afraid of questions.
June 9, 2013
Jen and Zac Ambord and baby Camden have recently been visiting with us and joined because they believe that with us they have found “a spiritual community and sense of belonging.” They wrote of their experience with Memorial UCC: “we’ve felt very welcomed from the moment we came through the doors on our fist ‘visit’ to the Memorial UCC and knew from that time that it would be a great place for us to grow spiritually along with Camden.”
Jen is an accountant with the VA. Zac is nursing assistant at Meriter Hospital and a student in nursing program at UW-Madison with only one more year to go to graduation! They enjoy a variety of activities that get them outdoors like hiking, camping and walking as well as time with friends and attending local events.
I think that we both personally felt that growing up we were going through the motions when it came time to go to Church, CCD, etc… but we have always felt a spiritual connection with God. It was hard to become involved in the Church growing up when so many of the things they did, did not fall in line with our own personal stances, beliefs, acceptances, and values. When growing up, and even up until recently, there wasn’t a time when we looked forward to going to Church, now we both do!
April 14, 2013
Colette and Stan Corwin moved to Madison last September from Ashville, N.C. Just a couple of weeks ago, they moved into their new house near the Glenway Golf Course on Madison’s West Side. For Colette, moving back to Wisconsin fulfilled a long-held wish. She looks forward to a more balanced life, renewing family contacts, making new friends, doing more reading and finding meaningful ways to be involved in the community. Environmental concerns are a priority for her. She’s hoping to make good use of Madison’s bike and hiking paths and become familiar with the city’s bus service as a mode of transportation.
Stan retired from General Electric Co. in 1996, ending a career in Patent Law. Now he is an avid gardener and – after heart surgery at the end of this month – he looks forward to biking, playing golf and continuing to teach T’ai Chi Chih, I see myself as an environmentalist and look forward to the possibility of forming an Earth Team here at Memorial.
Chris Hollenback grew up in Green Bay, went to Vince Lombardi Middle School, and high school on Packerland Drive. After graduating from UW in 1998 where he majored in journalism and political science, his first job was working in PR for the Packers. So guess how he spends his Sunday afternoons and Monday evenings in the fall? In his younger days, he was also a member of the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps.
Eighteen years ago this weekend, he met Jamie, now his wife. She joined Memorial last year. Their children, Belle and John, have been great participants in our programs here, including Belle’s debut in our musical last Sunday. Chris’ first thriller novel titled Sleep When You’re Dead is being published as we speak and will be out soon. He is an outreach specialist for the UW Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention Unit.
Chris credits Memorial with restoring his faith in God and the human spirit.” He also thanks us for letting the rif-raff like me in. He’s got lots of good company here.
Jeanne Prueher lives in Stoughton with her husband, Dan, to whom she has been married for 40+ years. They have two kids – Nick is in NYC, where he has made a name for himself as a comic, including appearances on Jimmy Kimmel and upcoming with Jimmy Fallon. Daughter Jessica lives with her husband, Mike, in Sun Prairie. They are the parents of Jeanne and Dan’s two grand kids – Allie and Jacob. Spending time with those grandkids is one of Jeanne’s favorite pastimes. She also has a standing date for knitting almost every Monday, loves to read and belongs to a book club. She enjoys weekend getaways and belongs to the Stoughton Lioness Club.
She says she was longing to start attending church after a five-year absence and found Memorial UCC in the internet. In her words, “This congregation welcomed me from the moment I stepped inside. I’m especially pleased about the possibilities for participating in a number of outreach programs.”
Damon Smith is a native of the Finger Lakes Region of New York State, which is worth noting since his birthday was yesterday. He was active in Boy Scouts achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. He also was active in the Honeoye United Church of Christ. He attended the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Geneseo where he received his bachelor’s degree in biological sciences. He then moved to North Carolina where he attended North Carolina State University, receiving his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Plant Pathology. That’s where he met his wife of the last six-and-a half years, Carrie.
Carrie Smith was born and raised at the Jersey Shore. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Delaware and a Ph.D. in Genetics from North Carolina State University.
After graduation, Carrie and Damon moved to Oklahoma where they both worked for Oklahoma State University for five years. In September of 2012 Damon and Carrie moved to Madison and they have been attending Memorial for several months since then.
Damon is currently an assistant professor of plant pathology at The University of Wisconsin. Damon has extension and research responsibilities for diseases of soybean, corn, wheat and alfalfa. Carrie works in the Environment, Health, and Safety Department at UW-Madison as a biosafety specialist, overseeing laboratory safety for work with infectious and recombinant materials.
Damon likes to hike, run, and bike. Carrie enjoys cooking, reading, zumba and hiking. And they both like to spend time with each other … and their miniature dachshunds, Ruby and Ellie.
January 27, 2013
Jaren Bailey grew up in Muscoda along the Wisconsin River a bit west of Spring Green. She has been an English teacher for 12 years. She started teaching in the Bronx, New York in September 2001, then she moved to Milwaukee and taught at a charter school for 4 years. Now she is teaching English at Verona Area High School.
She has been married for almost six years, and has two stepdaughters and two daughters. We see Rhya and Jonna around here with her. I asked her about hobbies and she said, “I don’t think English teachers and parents of small children have time for any! I do enjoy reading, but lately don’t get to read much beyond Brown Bear, Brown Bear and student essays!”
October 14, 2012
Roxane and Adam Dachman: Roxane went to church as a child with her grandmother, but never really became part of a faith community until she was older. She practiced Judaism for 13 years, but for the last dozen or so years, has been searching for a relationship with God. Memorial has become a place where she can feel both God and the community in her life. Professionally, she is a registered nurse. Her hobbies include exercise and crafts. She has become part of the team of folks helping to create a personal essentials pantry in the Leopold School area. And she is the mom of Abby, 23, and Zach, who is 20.
Adam has been married to Roxane for 24 years and is the father of Abby and Zach, He grew up Jewish and has explored Christianity on and off throughout his adult life. He says he enjoys “the intimate and warm setting” of Memorial and likes the people here and enjoys participating in the music. He says he is looking forward to his first Christmas here.
Adam is a general surgeon at the hospital in Dodgeville. We have also gotten to know him here as a talented composer and pianist.
Jaimie Hollenback grew up in upstate NY. She transferred to UW-Madison in her junior year to be with her now husband, Chris. Both she and Chris spent part of their teen years in drum corps – Chris with the Madison Scouts, Jaimie with the Florida Wave for four years, then with the Colts of Dubuque, Iowa, for 8 years.
Jaimie graduated from the UW School of Education and taught kindergarten for five years, first in Redwood City, CA, then in Stoughton, WI.
Jaimie resigned from her teaching position before having her daughter, Isabella. Then 19 1/2 months later, her brother John joined our family. He’s the very blonde boy who provides entertainment during “time with children.”
While pondering what she wants to be when she grows up, Jaimie runs 1/2 marathons with Team in Training (The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) in memory of her brother Cory, who died earlier this year. She enjoys watching TV, being with friends and family and making new friends. She is grateful for the friends she’s already made here at Memorial.
June 24, 2012
Evan Karg is relatively new to Madison and to the UCC. He has embraced both with a lot of enthusiasm. He graduated from Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois at the end of last year a degree in English and minors in religion and in writing. He spent the summer of 2011 at Harvard University studying advanced fiction and business rhetoric. And while he was at Olivet, he was the student body president during both his junior and senior years. He was a summer ministry intern at two different Church of the Nazarene congregations, headed on a path to ministry.
When Evan came out publicly this past spring as a gay man, it shattered his relationship with the Church of the Nazarene. He heard about a series of programs at The Crossing campus ministry here on being gay and Christian and attended them. That opened up a series of new opportunities for Evan.
He moved to Madison, is working with The Crossing, and is the new communications coordinator for the Southwest Association of the United Church of Christ. He represented The Crossing at the Wisconsin Conference annual meeting earlier this month. This coming week he will be at the 40th anniversary gathering of the UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns, which will be at Elmhurst College near Chicago. He has a deep interest in the intersections of faith and public life and hopes to pursue degrees in both theology and law.
He is also working with The Crossing on planning a trip next year to Liberia. And he will be asking folks here at Memorial to be part of a discernment committee as he sorts out his future plans for ministry. He also plans to sing in our choir.
Barb Winger-Rourke was born in Wyoming, and her heart remains in the mountains, which she tries to get to as much as possible. That may be part of why she lives in Blue Mounds with all the hills out there.
She spent part of her youth in Marinette in northeastern Wisconsin. Her dad was the pastor of the UCC congregation there. He has been retired for a long time, although he will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of his ordination this year. And it was in Marinette, where her dad was part of an interfaith group reaching out to migrant workers, that Barb had her first contact with Hispanic culture. That experience had a big impact on her sense of working for justice.
When she went on a backpacking trip to Machu Picchu in Peru, her interest in learning Spanish was kindled. She returned and went back to school for Spanish. She has taught Spanish -kindergarten through adult night classes – ever since. She has worked in Texas as a witness to deportation hearings as well as other volunteer activities. At Memorial, she hopes to contribute in some way to the connection with Latin American organizations to further our outreach.
Barb’s husband, John, is an RN. They have two teenage children – Ellery who just got back from the confirmation trip to Atlanta, and Bryn who occasionally plays his French Horn for special music here. Barb paints and writes short fiction, bikes, skis and kayaks.
June 17, 2012
Jorge Montes-Clausen is a UCC minister. He grew up in El Salvador during a particularly tumultuous time in that Central American nation. One of his heroes is Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was murdered for his outspoken calls for social justice.
Jorge attended McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. He and his wife, LeAnne Clausen de Montes, co-pastored a multi-ethnic UCC congregation in the Chicago area before she accepted a call to be the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Oregon.
They live in Oregon and have two children – Sophie and Sam, who was born in April. He is a chaplain for Heartland Hospice, based in Madison.
Mary and Gil Nankivil live near Memorial in The Crossing condo development down Lacy Road.
They have been worshipping with us since last fall and say they have found Memorial to be a place that has welcomed them in a friendly manner and that both feeds and challenges them spiritually.
Prior to their 15-year retirement hiatus in Arkansas, Gil, a mining engineer, was a business man in Madison, and Mary was a school counselor at Waunakee High School.
They have adult children and grandchildren in the area. They are transferring their church membership from Asbury United Methodist church in Madison.
Bette Rackow is no stranger to Memorial UCC. She was part of our congregation back in the days when we were located on Madison Street. Her husband, Bob, was the chief usher and trained Jeff Falkner, among others. Bette was the head of our Sunday school for many years. She got tapped for that job because she was a teacher in the Madison schools.
Bette and Bob shifted to First Methodist Church downtown for many years, but last year, she began to reconnect with Memorial. Bob died in December. Today, Bette is formally renewing her membership here.
She likes being outdoors in nice weather, gardening and walking. And she likes to help others, visiting with people, working at food pantries, simply being a friend.
Welcome back, Bette.
Jessica Vick grew up in Boscobel and was baptized at Marion UCC in Boscobel and graduated from the University of Iowa with a double major in liberal arts and English. She notes that she will proudly be wearing black and gold on game days when most folks here are showing up in red and white … but as we say, all are welcome here.
Jessica and her husband, Colin, have a daughter, Eva, who is 5, and baby number two will be here any day now. Jessica works as a revenue management consultant for an independent hotel consulting firm. Colin is operations manager for Per Mar Security.
Family is very important to Jessica and that is a big reason why they moved to the Madison area a few years ago from Iowa City – to be closer to family. They spend a lot of weekends visiting Jessica’s sister and brother in Dodgeville or in Boscobel playing at her dad’s farm, where Eva loves to play with the kittens and jump in mud puddles.
Karen Wheelock grew up in Delavan where she was part of the UCC congregation there.
She attended Beloit College with majors in Communications and Theatre. She has participated in a variety of theater and music experiences and sang at our Evening of Music this past March.