Members of the Month
Ralph was born in Calhoun County near Lake City on November 18, 1938. He has a sister in Coon Rapids and his brother died of a heart attack at the age of 44. His dad was a hired hand and turned into a farmer. Ralph grew up in Audubon County and attended country school. He graduated from Lytton High School in 1957, where he ran track for a year. There being no money for college, Ralph joined the air Force, where he served stateside for 4 years, doing teletype maintenance. Following the service he worked at several jobs, including running a home delivery for a bread route and selling insurance in the Des Moines area. He then went to work for Gambles, a hardware and furniture store. This job brought him to Atlantic in 1970. He owned the store for a year. Ralph then went to work for Mahle, where he was employed for over 30 years. He is now retired.
Ralph has been married 3 times. He was married to his first wife Betty for 7 years. Their children are Susan, who lives in Oregon, and Steven, who at the age of 17, was killed in a motorcycle accident on the first day of the fair. His second wife was Elaine, to whom he was married for 29 years. She died of cancer. They had Renae who is married to Scott Steffens, who runs the Steffens Motorcycle shop.
He was then married to Paula for 5 years. Ralph has 3 grandchildren and several step grandchildren.
Ralph enjoys tropical fish. He used to garden quite a bit, but health concerns have limited this activity. Ralph had a stroke in April, and is making a recovery which he hopes will allow him to drive soon. Most of his traveling took place when he was working for Gambles, including trips to Las Vegas. Since his stroke he spends a lot of time watching TV, enjoying the westerns and game shows. Ralph hopes to get back to church in time to sing in the choir. He has also helped usher. Currently a friend, Vicki, stays with him as his caregiver. They live at 1501 Birch Street; 2 dogs and 2 cats complete the household. We hope to see you back in church soon, Ralph! God’s blessings in your recovery.
Not many people drive 600 miles on the average working day, including 11 hours of driving time.. Such is true, however, for one of Zion’s newest members, Jo James, who joined Zion thru Adult Instruction and was recognized as a member October 19, 2015. She is a close friend of Traci Schlueter, who encouraged her to come to Zion. Jo is a native of Audubon county where her father farmed and worked at various jobs. Her mother was a stay at-home-mom. She is the 2nd oldest of 9, with 7 brothers and one sister, all of whom live in the area. She is a 1974 graduate of Exira. Jo spent some time in Nebraska and West Virginia, before moving back to the Atlantic area in 1983. She has worked at various jobs, including doing a lot of cooking. In 2000 she began trucking, which seems to run in the family. All of her family have driven trucks, except her mom. 4 years ago she bought her own truck. She now drives for Selden Trucking out of Shelby, Nebraska. Jo has a dedicated run each trip, which means she is home every night. She drives to either Waterloo, Columbus Junction or Perry and picks up pork and delivers it to Fremont, Nebraska. Her “handle” while trucking is “Powderpuff” She once won the powder puff races for ladies.
While on her runs her constant companion is her dog “Mouser” a miniature Chihuahua. Mouser is ready to go each traveling day. Jo also spends a lot of time listening to books on tape. She can download them from the library and play them through her radio. She has to keep careful track of her driving time, since it is electronically recorded and there is an 11 hour a day driving limit. Jo is an “owner-operator” which means if she doesn’t do a run, she doesn’t get paid. Her company is good about helping her with breakdowns etc. She has not had an accident in her years of driving.
Jo’s children include daughter Stacy VanAernam, married to Alan, who have 5 children and also foster children, who they might adopt. She lives next door to Jo. . Also, John Bengel in Atlantic with 2 children; Chris Bengel married to Erica with 3 girls and Cody James with 4 kids in Atlantic. Jo has 2 great grandchildren and 2 more on the way. She used to sew, making several quilts as Christmas gifts. Her vacations have been primarily to Branson. However, through her work, she has been in every state except Washington and Oregon. She is looking forward to retirement in a few years. On the weekends when she is home, you will find her in Sunday morning church and Bible Class. We welcome her into the Zion family.
LONN AND SANDY SCHLUETER
Sandy, who has 1 older brother and 2 younger. Sandy was born in Atlantic and grew up in Anita, graduating from there in 1977, the last graduating class in the old school. She was involved in band, softball, track and basketball. Her family farmed. She studied cosmetology and worked as a cosmetologist for a couple years. After meeting Lonn she worked at Lonn’s Yamaha until they sold out of the business in 1985. She later worked at Stoudt Ford for 5 years. She then went to work for Wise Motels, where she has worked for 28 years. Sandy works as the bookkeeper for 6 motels. Lonn was born in Norfolk, Nebraska. His mother is Ethel Schlueter, and he was the 5th of 7 children. His father, Leland, worked for Swift and Company and traveled quite a bit. They moved to Atlantic in 1964 when Lonn was in 2nd grade. He graduated from Atlantic in 1975. He was a classmate of Pastor Mike Vogt. Lonn participated in football and wrestling. In wrestling he qualified for State. He went on to wrestle and play football at Waldorf Jr. College. . Following College he worked for Lind Yamaha, later purchasing the business in 1979. After selling out in 1985 he went to work for Stoudt Ford for 5 years. He then went to work for Deter Motor Company in 1989. In 1991 he went to work for Lindeman Tractor, where he has been for 27 years, selling farm equipment.
Lonn and Sandy grew up in the same area, and saw each other around town. He asked her for a date and the rest is history. They dated for a year and were married on September 5, 1980 at Zion by Pastor Dohrman. Their honeymoon took them to Las Vegas, where they attended a Yamaha convention. They currently live on Sandy’s home place, which they purchased in 2003. Here they keep busy with an 80 cow calves herd and some hay making. Their children include Shannon married to Kaleb, living in Blue Springs, Mo. She is an elementary art teacher. They have 3 yr. old Leralei. Brooke is married to Tyler and lives in Avoca. She cleans houses. They have Jersey, 8 and Rilan 5. Rilan is named after 2 grandpas: Lonn and Rick.
They have been active members of Zion, Lonn serving as an Elder 3 times and as chairman of both Stewardship and Education committees. Sandy has been treasurer of the Endowment committee and taught Sunday school. Lonn’s passion for 20 years was racing stock cars. He drove a modified car with open front wheels. He raced successfully in Corning, Harlan and Denison. . He has also raced in Minnesota, Kansas, and Illinois. They regularly attend the Knoxville Nationals Sprint Car championships in Knoxville. They also enjoy riding bikes, camping and spending time with the grandchildren. They have traveled to Belgium and Paris and several states to attend Nascar races. They would someday like to visit the Alamo in San Antonio. When watching TV they enjoy The American Pickers and Blue Blood, and Sandy says anything staring John Wayne. We ask God’s blessing on their future lives together.
Traci, the youngest of seven children born to Leland and Ethel Schlueter, was born in the Atlantic Hospital. The older children included Traci in their activities. Brother Lonn would take her motorcycle riding and hunting. Her father traveled on the road with Swift and Company, and so they moved to Nebraska shortly after her birth. When she was age 4 they returned to Atlantic, where she grew up, graduating in 1979. She was active in sports, participating in volleyball, basketball, track, softball, and swimming and diving. She participated in 4H and other social activities including Girls’ Choir and the Girls Recreation Association. She also liked to roller skate and ride her horse around town.
Following graduation she attended Dana College for 1 ½ years, studying commercial art. Her sister lived in Storm Lake, so she attended Cosmetology School there for a year. While there her brother-in-law asked her to help open up a Family Table in Denison. This was the first Family Table, and he later owned 7 of them, including in Atlantic. She did this for 1 ½ years, doing all the normal restaurant chores. Not wanting to be a restaurant owner-operator, Traci did cosmetology work in Denison, working for “His and Hairs” for a few years.
She was married in Las Vegas on Super bowl Sunday; Daughter Brenna was born in Denison. Traci was later separated and divorced, and in 1989 moved back to Atlantic, where her family lived. Back in Atlantic Traci worked for Safeguard Business System, and later for Upper Cut, where she worked full time for 9 ½ years.
In 1999 she bought her current home, which has a shop in it. This way she was able to be home for Brenna. Traci has been doing Electrolysis, the permanent removal of hair, since 1987 and Cosmetology since 1981. Daughter Brenna went to Iowa Western, is an LPN, and has just moved to Hamburg, where her boyfriend, Dustin, has work at the nuclear Plant in Brownville, Nebraska. Dustin is Laurie Ullerich’s brother’s son. Brenna works at the Vista Rehabilitation Center in Lincoln, working three 12-hour shifts a week. She stays with a friend while in Lincoln. When Brenna was 8, Traci won a $2,500 travel voucher, and they took a trip to Disney World, and went on a cruise. While there they swam with the dolphins.
Traci has always been very active at Zion, currently serving as chairman of the Fellowship Committee. She is also treasurer of the Joy Circle, and attends the Sunday Morning Bible Class. Monday night is bowling night. She helps take care of her mother, getting her groceries, and taking her places. On Memorial Day they travel to Nebraska, Ethel’s home, to decorate graves. Traci likes to do artsy stuff, painting, and calligraphy. She likes CSI shows and keeps track of a soap opera over the noon hour. Her only animal is Brenna’s cat Luna, who stays with her quite often. We thank Traci for all she does for Zion, and wish her and her family God’s blessings into the future.
Sharon was raised on a farm 8 miles south of Anita, and was baptized at the Church of Christ in Anita. She then attended country school thru the 3rd grade. She was the 8th child in a family of 6 boys and 4 girls. Her mother came from an even larger family of 12. She was a housewife until the last child was born, and then became a nurse aide at the Anita Nursing Home. She also cleaned houses and took in laundry. Sharon’s father farmed and then worked several jobs after farming. From age 13 she spent every summer in Omaha babysitting for nieces & nephews. While in school she participated in FHA, basketball, was a majorette for the marching band. She was also in Declam, where they acted things out. She was on the Annual and Spy (weekly newspaper) staff.
Her husband, Roger, passed away in March, 2015 from cancer. They met in school, teaming up as biology lab partners. He would get her lab book every day, but never spoke to her, except to say “hi.” The last day of their sophomore year he asked her to go to a movie, and the rest is history. Roger graduated from Atlantic and Sharon from Anita. Prior to their marriage, Sharon’s working career took her to a subcontracting company in Omaha. After seeing an ad for a dental assistant with no experience needed, she applied. The dentist wanted to do his own training so she got the job that day. Meanwhile Roger worked for Omaha Steel as a welder.
They were married in 1968 at First Lutheran, Wiota, and later began attending Zion. That same year Sharon started working for the hospital as a switchboard operator and worked her way up to Accounts Payable Clerk and then to Payroll Supervisor. She retired in 2011. Roger worked for Camblin Plumbing and Heating for 14 years and then started at the hospital in 1982, where he worked for 33 years until his passing in 2015, about the time he had planned to retire. He was head of maintenance for 26 years.
They have 2 children. Daughter, Angie, along with her husband John Kay, farm north of town. They have 2 sons and a daughter. Their son Matt is the Network Administrator for Audubon-Manning Veterinarian Clinic in Audubon. He has one daughter from his first marriage. He and his significant other for 15 years, Jayme Farver, live on an acreage in Wiota. Jayme has two sons.
Sharon’s favorite pastime is spending time with family. She enjoys trying new recipes, rummaging thru antique stores and going on garden walks. She also enjoys reading. She has done some traveling with her family and hopes to do some more. Sharon volunteers at the Food Pantry and, at Zion, attends the Sunday afternoon Bible Class and belongs to the Joy circle. We wish her and her family God’s blessing in her retirement years.
NATHAN AND AMANDA BERG FAMILY
Nathan was born in Atlantic and raised in Anita, where he graduated in 1998, and where he played football, basketball, golf, and participated in speech. He is the son of Joel Berg and Denise Schlater. He has 3 brothers, 2 of which are older. After attending Iowa State for a year, he returned to Atlantic, working at the Coke Plant. He then got into the electricity field, and had over 12 years of experience before striking out on his own. Berg Electric has been in business for 5 years, and he now has 4 employees. They provide all electrical services, including residential, commercial and agricultural. Amanda also works there as the office manager and accountant. Amanda was born in Junction City, Kansas. Her father was in the military and they traveled a lot. Her parents, Allan & Christy Yoshida, live in Exira, where the family eventually settled. Amanda graduated from Atlantic in 1998, she was involved in track and volleyball. She took some accounting classes at Iowa Western and has worked at various jobs until the children came along. She then went to work for her husband. Amanda, a lifelong Lutheran, has also been our church treasurer for the past 5 years. She served 4 years on the Preschool Board prior to becoming the treasurer.
Nathan and Amanda met at a New Year’s Eve party in Wiota and later at a super bowl party in Atlantic. Nathan served 15 years with the Army National Guard and has been deployed overseas 3 times, twice in Afghanistan and once in Kuwait. When he returned from his first deployment he proposed and they were married at a wedding chapel in Las Vegas on September 17, 2001. This was right after 9-11 and the airlines were shut down for a while, and they were rethinking travel plans. Thankfully the flights opened up the day before their scheduled departure. A week later they had a reception at the Anita Community Center. Their family includes Zane, who is in 8th grade and is active in Archery, cross-country, track and band, where he plays the trumpet. Belle, who is in 6th grade and is involved in everything, including band, dance, basketball, volleyball, softball, and choir. Belle also enjoys being a Girl Scout along with Amanda, who has been a Girl Scout leader for the last 3 years.
Nathan has been working with the Atlantic School system to help start a trade program for Junior and Senior High School students, here in Atlantic. He loves to play golf and does so at every opportunity. Amanda likes to read, cook (especially Italian foods), garden, and sew. She also enjoys running and has down a couple of half marathons. They also like to travel and just returned from a family vacation in Belize in Central America, where they did some parasailing. Someday Amanda would like to go to Ireland. They currently live on Lomas Circle, but would like to eventually live on an acreage in the country. We wish them God’s blessings!