Epiphany Stories | John L.

Okay, here it is the sanitized and condensed version of my last 68 years.

I was born 1949 in Ames, Iowa. At the time, my Dad was an engineering student at Iowa State after returning from being a WW II fighter pilot in the South Pacific.

Dad’s family are Lutheran Norwegians that homesteaded in Story County, Iowa.

Mom’s family German and Scots Irish have a long history in the Christian Church.

Let me digress a little about the faith history of Mom’s family.

James and Sara Hanen, my grandparents 7 generations past, were Baptized in Buffalo Creek, Pennsylvania, June 1812, along with Alexander Campbell his wife and sister, Thomas Campbell and his wife.  This was very early in the foundation of the Disciples of Christ.

The Hanen’s grandson James H. Dodd, my grandfather 5 generations past, graduated from Bethany College and in the 1860’s and became a preacher in the Christian Church.

My grandfather and his brother Jim both attended Hiram College to become preachers in the Christian Church.  Grandpa, after WWI, changed professions and went back to school at Ohio State to become an engineering professor.

Back to my journey. When I was 1 year old, Dad graduated from College and we moved to Mexico, Missouri, and he began his career in the refractories industry.

At this time our family joined First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Mexico, Missouri.

I attended regularly as dictated by Mom, attending Church, Sunday School, Chi Rho and being a Jr. Deacon.

I was an average student and enrolled at the University of Missouri for my first year of college.

Our family moved after my first year of college to Youngstown, Ohio.

As myself, my brother, and sister were in college at the same time, we all went to Youngstown State University and lived at home to save money.

Moving away from my home town and all my friends required me to rely on my faith and increased my need for achievement.  Without the distraction of my old friends, I decided to get into my education.

One of the achievements I attribute to my faith was graduating first in my college class at Youngstown State and being inducted into the Academic Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi.

After graduation I accepted a job in a management training program with a manufacturer of hydraulic components, metal stampings, and forging in Youngstown.

Five years later, I took a new job with a larger German hydraulics manufacturing company that had a plant in Wooster, Ohio.  I pretty much immersed myself in my career and worked my way up the ladder.

The direction of my life changed significantly while working in Wooster, Ohio.

I met the love of my life, who was the Accounting Manager of our company. She was recently divorced and with sons Sam (4 years) and Lincoln (2 years).  We married, and at the age of 37 I became a husband and father of two with all the associated responsibilities.

As Phoebe grew up in the Lutheran Church, we joined Trinity Lutheran in Ashland, Ohio.  It was a very good experience, particularly our monthly prayer group with 3 other couples.  I really enjoyed our Christmas trips to Severance Hall in Cleveland.

When the boys were in high school, I took a new job for a Swedish hydraulic manufacturing company headquartered in Rockford, Illinois.  This was a good move career-wise and the family enjoyed a larger town and being near Chicago.  We attended the Lutheran Churches in Rockford but without the same fellowship we enjoyed in Ohio.

These were busy times. I was beginning a new job in a new town; the boys were attending new schools with new friends.  Phoebe began a new career with Woodward in Rockford.

We all worked hard. I was traveling a lot and the company sent me to an MBA program in Stockholm, Sweden.  This put a lot of pressure on Phoebe, but we persevered getting both the boys through college and launched in life.

I retired my position with the Swedish firm in 2009 and spent the last couple years of my career helping a large pump manufacturing company in Bangalore, India set up sales and marketing in North America.  The travel to India was interesting, and I met some very nice people there.  We were able to get significant business with John Deere in the US.

Phoebe continued to work at Woodward after my retirement and was lucky to be asked to move the new headquarters in Fort Collins. We were very fortunate for this opportunity.  The decision was easy as both our boys were living in Denver. We arrived here in January 2016.

Phoebe insisted we find a Disciples of Christ Church here as she knew of my Disciples background and how important is was to me.

We arrived at Heart of the Rockies on Youth Sunday March 2016 to the beat of drums and were warmly welcomed by David and Kay Hartley, joining a couple of months later.

Phoebe is looking forward to serving as a Steward, and I enjoy the Men’s Prayer Breakfast and helping the Property Team.

Being at Heart of the Rockies I’m sure was influenced as well by my parents and siblings. Both of my parents are Elders Emeritus at Boardman Christian Church in Ohio and my sister is an Elder.  My brother is active in the First Christian Church in Fort Myers, Florida and his daughter is a Youth Minister in Minneapolis.

I am happy to have new friends here to share my faith in God with, and hopefully I can contribute to the Heart of the Rockies.


The season of Epiphany reminds us to look for the places God reveals God’s self in the world. When we share our stories, we see how God is at work in and through us. Each week, we’ve seen God revealed through our storytellers.

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