Members of the Month2018-06-09T16:54:51+00:00

Members of the Month


Tim and Mary, both from farming backgrounds, recently became members of Zion. Mary, the youngest of 3 children was born in Ft. Dodge. After a year of country school, she attended school in Vincent and Eagle Grove, and graduated from Arnolds Park High School where she sang in the choir. She then attended Northwest Institute in Minneapolis, learning to be a Medical Lab Technician.  Tim grew up in Connersville, Indiana, with one older brother. He was active in 4-H, and played basketball. He attended country school through the 8th grade, graduating from Connersville High School. He then went to Northwestern Institute, where he met Mary.

They were married a year later. Due to a minor car accident on their rehearsal night, Mary went to her wedding with a broken nose and black eye. Prior to the wedding, Tim lost his glasses. A friend discovered them in his car, and he put them on walking down the aisle. The day after the wedding they drove 900 miles to Indiana.  They renewed their vows in 2011.

Their jobs as Lab Technicians took them to Connersville, Indiana, Ft. Morgan, Colorado, Denver, Colorado, and Beach, North Dakota. Beach was a lonely place and they had to travel miles to do their shopping.  In April, 1982, they moved to Atlantic to be closer to family. They have lived in their current home since April, 1983. Besides Atlantic, they have also worked in Jennie Ed, Council Bluffs, and for a number of years in the Harlan Hospital. Mary retired in 2012 and Tim in 2014.

They have 4 children: Jennie, married and living in Boone; Justin, married and living in Michigan with 2 children; Matt, married and living in Colorado with 3 children, and Margaret living in Hastings, Nebraska,with one child. They have always been strong church members, Mary grew up Lutheran and Tim Methodist. He joined the Lutheran Church in 1980. Former members of St. Paul’s and Holy Trinity Lutheran churches, where they both held leadership positions, they joined Zion in September this year.

On the third Sunday of the month they show religious based videos at the Heritage House. They also play Bridge there on Wednesday and Friday afternoons. Tim previously belonged to the Optimist Club. They both like to play golf and are Hospice volunteers. They both will be singing in the Atlantic Community Choir, which will be performing a Cantata on Friday, Dec. 21, at the High School. They also are singing in Zion’s choir. Tim and Mary have taken several bus trips with friends. Among other places, they would like to visit Noah’s Ark museum in Kentucky and the Bible museum in Washington, D.C. Their dog, Eddie, completes their family. We look forward to their involvement at Zion and wish them God’s blessings.


November 30th, 2018|

Wilma Porter

This month we feature Wilma Porter, who lives at Avoca Lodge Assisted Living in Avoca. She recently celebrated her 90th birthday and received over 100 cards.  Wilma was born in Persia, Iowa where her parents farmed.  The oldest of her two older brothers, Elmer, was born in Germany.  She and her older brother Herb were born here in the United States.  Until age 14, Wilma attended country school near Persia.  When the family moved into town, Wilma remembers the fun of going to free movies on Saturday night. It was a difficult time on the farm.  All three children were sent at an early age to work and live in the homes of others while their father suffered and passed away from tuberculosis.  At 17, Wilma went to work in Council Bluffs, waitressing and doing housework.  She met her future husband Hubert attending a dance in Atlantic.  They were married October 2, 1950 at First Lutheran near Wiota, Hugh’s home church.  Wilma was later confirmed and joined the church. Since they always made their home in Atlantic, they soon transferred their membership to Zion.  Hugh worked construction and later worked as a mechanic and a service advisor at Henningsen’s, Merner’s, and Deter Motors.  Hugh fought in WWII and was awarded the Bronze Star for heroism at the Battle of the Bulge.  Their only child, Peggy, lives in Walnut with her husband, Gene.  Peggy grew up and was confirmed at Zion where Wilma also taught Sunday School. Peggy has two daughters, Christine (who died in a car accident after college) and Melissa, who is married to John Sorrick.  The Sorricks have two children: John Hugh, 4, and Luna Christine, 18 months. Wilma has two grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren and 4 step-great-grandchildren.

Wilma worked at Heritage House in dietetics for 25 years.  She was a 4-H leader and a Brownie leader. She and Hugh never missed attending school activities of their children and grandchildren.  Wilma is a life member of American Legion Auxiliary and VFW Auxiliary.  The family spent many weekends camping, fishing, and water skiing.  For years, their house always seemed to be the gathering place of extended family on Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons.  Wilma would entertain all and make sure no one went away hungry.  As  Herb’s health declined, Wilma cared for him at home for many years.  Thank you, Wilma, for your many years of service at Zion.  God’s blessings to you.


September 28th, 2018|


Jeanie was born on January 31, 1948 near Casey, and was adopted at 3 days old.  Her adoptive parents were Jim and Irma Willey, who farmed east of Exira. She had 3 half-brothers and 4 half-sisters.  She attended country school until 1960. In her Jr. year they moved to Audubon, where she graduated in 1966.   Jeanie worked at various jobs over the years, including Double J Beauty Shop where she was a cosmetologist for 3 years—Bartender at Elks Club and Country Club—Preferred Risk Insurance Company —and Good Samaritan in Fontanelle, where she helped with laundry and activities.

She was married out of High School for a year, before divorcing.  During that time her oldest child, Bryan, was born.  She remained single until Bryan was 10, at which time she married Elwood Hansen on June 19, 1978. Elwood adopted Bryan in 1979.  Elwood and Jeanie had attended school together.  Elwood farmed with his dad in Brayton until 1983, at which time he went back to driving a truck, which he did until 2005.  They lived in Casey until August, 2007 when they moved to Atlantic.  Elwood has several health problems, beginning with brain surgery when he was 15.  He eventually had back surgery.  Elwood died on January 15, 2015.   They had 2 children, Becky, who is married to Mike Dreager, who farms and does custom work.  Becky works for 21st Century Co-op.  They have 2 boys and a girl.  Also Brenda, who is married to Brad Gettler.  He works for West Central Fabrications.  They have a girl and a boy.   Bryan’s only child, Elizabeth, graduated in May 2010 and was killed in a car accident August 17, 2010.  He is engaged to Lisa Nelson Lehman, and they will be married on May 18, 2019.   Jeanie’s first great grandchild will be coming the first part of December. The parents  are Clint Hansen and Calley Klindt.

Jeanie has been very active in the church, joining the Lutheran Church when she married Elwood.   At Zion she is currently Outreach chairman.  She has been LWML President and works on prayer shawls. They have made 500 shawls since 2010   She also participates in Operation Barnabus, where she serves on the District Task Force.  She was a delegate this year to both our District convention and the LWML District Convention.   She is also on the Foundation Board for Camp Okoboji.   Having recently bought a new sewing machine, she hopes to make use of it.   She also crochets.  When possible she enjoys attending the races at Corning.  Jeanie has a lot of involvement with her family, which she really enjoys.    She seldom misses the July 4 celebration in Exira. Among her memories is the flood of 1958.

We wish her God’s continued blessing in her years ahead.


August 29th, 2018|

Ralph Beck

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.


August 1st, 2018|

Jo James

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.

July 2nd, 2018|


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.


June 1st, 2018|