Monday, December 27, 2010


Marilyn Burke, 71 of McGregor, IA died Monday December 27, 2010 at her home.
Memorial Services will be held at 11:00 AM, Monday, January 3, 1010 at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in McGregor, IA. The Reverend William Gentry II will officiate. Friends may call from 10:00 AM until service time at the church. Condolences may be sent to the family at
Marilyn was born September 15, 1939 in Fort Dodge, IA. She was the daughter of Clell and Margaret (Rydberg) Brewer. After graduating from high school, she attended 2 years at Hawkeye Technical Institute. Marilyn was united in marriage to Daniel Burke at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in McGregor on August 25, 1989.
She is survived by her husband Daniel; daughter Debra (Sam) Kemp of Lewiston, MN; son Chris (Carol) Lattimer of Cedar Falls, IA; brothers Marvin (Mary) Brewer of Sun Prairie, WI, Marty (Janet) Brewer of Hoopeston, IL; grandchildren Ben, Zach, Caitlin, Kelly and Claire.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Members and friends gathered tonight for FCC's annual caroling event. Stops included the Great River Care Center, Prairie Mason Living Center, local area apartments houses and private residences. Thanks to Linda and Tom Munson for the post-caroling reception at their home.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Christmas 2010 activities

Christmas activities started on Nov 24 with the Family Night Potluck and preparation for the Hanging of the Greens. After the meal everyone worked (if you can call it WORK) on sanding the ornaments and getting them and the cards ready for the season. Of course the food was delicious (so what else is new) and the fellowship during the working was a lot of fun. People of all ages helped out. There are a lot more activities between now and Christmas. Come join us for all these fun activities:
Nov 24 is the Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service at Swede Ridge at 7:00pm.
Nov 28 is the Family Night Soup Supper to set up the tree and finish the prep for the HOG. Please bring a dessert or a salad.
Dec 5 is the Hanging of the Greens - 3:30pm music, 4:00pm service. We need cookies and helpers to serve following the service.
Dec 12 is the Cookies Walk at 10:00am between the services. We would appreciate if each family could bring 5 dozen cookies in containers that you don't want back. Thank you all in advance.
Dec 22 is Caroling - meet at the church at 5:00pm. After that we will return to the church for food and cocoa/coffee. We need volunteers to bring food. All are welcome.
Dec 24 is the Christmas Eve Service at our church at 7:00pm.
Dec 25 - Have a Blessed and very Merry Christmas. MERRY CHRISTMAS from all of us at First Congregational UCC. GOD bless us all.
And may you all have a blessed and wonderful 2011.

Also remember, on Dec 3 Central State Bank is matching every $5.00 donation made in the name of our church from 9 to 6.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


John C. Erickson of St. James, MN, formerly of Maynard, IA, passed away on Sunday, October 31, 2010, at the home of his brother, Harry and sister-in-law Diane Erickson, in Elkader, IA, where he has resided with his wife Cleo. This past year John has fought a courageous battle of Large B-cell Lymphoma.

John Charles Erickson was born December 27, 1946, in Sumner, IA, to Edwin and Charlotte (Schrader) Erickson. John attended school at Oran #2 Country School and graduated from West Central Community School in Maynard, IA. Following graduation, he attended Humboldt Institute in Minneapolis, MN, for Freight Traffic Management. During the summer, he worked for the Billy Graham Ministries. John was employed by Ozark Airlines at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, IL, after graduation. In 1966, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served as an M.P. He worked as a police officer for one year in Harlan, IA, after he was discharged. He then went to work for the Chicago Northwestern Railroad and then for the Union Pacific Railroad.

He was a member of the Rolling Prairie A.B.A.T.E., Union Pacific Employee Club #70, was a Patriot Guard and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. He recently became a member of the First Congregational Church – UCC, in McGregor, IA. John enjoyed golfing, fishing, camping, riding motorcycle, participating in Relay for Life, and being with friends and family – especially his granddaughters. This past year has been a year to remember for John – being able to play golf with his brothers and friends, go fishing, see his classmates, spend time in his camper, and take a last ride on his Gold Wing.

On July 28, 1990, John was united in marriage to Cleo L. Sandmeyer. They made their home in St. James, MN. John continued working on the Union Pacific Railroad until he retired in 2007 after 37 years as an Engineer.

Survivors include his wife Cleo of St. James, MN; daughter Debra Juarez of Cottage Grove, MN; son Matthew (Nikki) Erickson of Cottage Grove, MN; six granddaughters, Kelsey and Nisa Juarez, Makayla, Makenzie, Makenna and Makayden Erickson; brothers, Tom (Judy) Erickson of Independence, IA, Harry (Diane) Erickson of Elkader, IA, Edwin Jr. (Lois) Erickson of Maynard, IA; sisters, Carolyn (Roger) Frederick of Marion, IA, Charlene (Robert) Fairchild of Des Moines, IA, Jet Larson of Decorah, IA; brother-in-law, Jim Shimek of Robins, IA, and numerous nieces and nephews.

John was preceded in death by his parents, Edwin and Charlotte Erickson; sister, Mary Shimek; nephew, Paul Erickson and brother-in-law, Russel Larson.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Congratulations to our new members, Brandi and Dale Crozier, who were married October 9th at FCC. The people of First Congregational congratulate Brandi and Dale as they begin a new life together. God bless them.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Congratulations to Amber Valley (daughter of Lisa and Mike) and Steven Brumberlow who were married September 25th in Prairie du Chien. The people of First Congregational congratulate Amber and Steven as they begin a new life together. God bless them.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Congratulations to Chelsey (granddaughter of Roger and Virginia Drahn) and Keaton Stumpf who were married September 11th at First Congregational Church. The people of First Congregational congratulate Chelsey and Keaton as they begin a new life together. God bless them.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Congratulations to Michael (son of Robyn and Cathy) and Trisha Denning who were married August 28th at Pikes Peak State Park in McGregor,Iowa.The people of First Congregational congratulate Michael and Trisha as they begin a new life together. God bless them.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Heleen and Jan Von Tonder

Today, August 22, 2010 the congregation of First Congregational partnered with the family of Heleen Von Tonder to surprise and celebrate her 50th birthday last week. It was a wonderful celebration with delicious food and warm fellowship. We congratulate Heleen on her milestone and wish her many more blessings in Christ's name.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Richard Bruce Walters
Richard B. Walters, 63, of McGregor, Iowa, passed away peacefully at his home on June 19, 2010, following a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born September 11, 1946, in McGregor, Iowa to Burton and Lorraine (Schott) Walters. He was baptized and confirmed at the First Congregational Church in McGregor.
Rick grew up with a love of the Mississippi River and spent his early summers working at Art’s Boat landing or being with his friends on or in the water. He was an avid sports enthusiast and enjoyed hunting, especially ducks and turkeys, and fishing. He was also a die-hard Chicago Cubs, Bears and Iowa Hawkeyes fan.
Rick graduated from Mar-Mac High school in 1964 and from Winona State College in 1968 where he majored in biology and minored in geology. He enlisted in the Navy and spent time in San Diego, Portsmouth, Norfolk and the majority of the time at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. Upon returning to McGregor he worked at Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital in the lab and x-ray departments for over 36 years.
He was a member of the McGregor Hook and Ladder Co. for 28 years and a member of Ducks Unlimited.
He is survived by two siblings, Burton (Donna) Walters, Jr., and Marsha (Daniel) Bickel all of McGregor. Nephews, Burton Walters III, Jeff Bickel. Nieces Terri (Robert) Wall, Jenna Bickel and great-niece and great-nephew Kayla and Curtis Wall.
Rick was preceded in death by his parents, Burton in 1979 and Lorraine in 2009 and grandparents Bertram and Violet Schott and Irving and Matilda Walters.
He was a kind and gentle person and will be missed by his many friends. A memorial service and celebration of Rick’s life will be held at a later date. Interment will be at Pleasant Grove Cemetery.
The Thornburg-DeVries Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Virgil L. Staples
Virgil, 91 of 306 Watson ST, Garnavillo, IA died Wednesday August 11, 2010 Finley Hospital, Summit Center Dubuque, IA Services will be held at 11:00 A.M., Monday at the United Church of Christ, McGregor, IA with Rev. William Gentry officiating. Friends may call from 4:00 to 8:00 P.M., Sunday at the Thornburg-DeVries Funeral Home, McGregor. Burial will be in Pleasant Grove Cemetery, McGregor where military rites will be accorded by the McGregor American Legion. Condolences may be sent to the family at He was born November 11, 1918 in Auburn, IA son of Howard W. Staples and Alvina (Borcherding) Staples. He received his education from rural Iowa schools graduating from The American Instituted of Commerce as a member of the Phi Theta Pi International Commerce fraternity. Virgil was a veteran of the Army Air Corps, serving from 1942 to 1945 in the 5th Air Force 80th svc group in WWII as a technical sergeant. He married Donna Paden on June 25th, 1950 at the Methodist Church in Sumner, IA. Virgil and Donna made their home in McGregor where he worked with his father and later he ran the H.W. Staples and Son Plumbing & Heating in McGregor from 1950 to 1982. Together they had three children, two boys and one girl. Shortly after retiring he married Marge Musser on February 26, 1983 in Des Moines, IA where they lived for 22 years. He was a member of the American Legion, where he served a term as adjutant; Kiwanis club, where he served a term as president; Masonic Lodge where he served terms in offices including Master of the Lodge; and First Congregational Church where he served on various boards. He also served seven years on the Clayton County Board of Education and eight years on the N.E. Iowa Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He loved the outdoors, hunting, and fishing and was an avid gardener. He also spent many years collecting buying and selling antiques. He was survived by his brother Richard Staples of McGregor, IA and family; his sons Robert (Donna) Staples of McGregor, IA, Steve Staples of Denver, Colorado, his daughter Mary Staples of Longmont, Colorado; his granddaughter Dana Roberts of Van Buren, MO; his three step-granddaughters Prema, Tasha, and Sabrina Friedlein, all of McGregor, IA; and his great-step-grandson Stanley Friedlein of McGregor, IA. He was preceded in death by both his wives and his sister Helen Beving of Eloy, Arizona.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


The people of First Congregational Church congratulate Larry and Marilyn Swanson on their 50th anniversary celebration. Congratulations Swansons, may God crown your union with ever increasing joy and many more years.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

New Piano/Organ Arrives for Aug 1 Svc

The new piano/organ has arrived in time for the Aug 1 services and was dedicated at first service that morning. The previous organ was becoming undependable and a possible fire hazard. It sounds great and there are a lot of possibilities for it. It is very nice looking. Ryan showed us just a few of the sounds possible during the morning services. Come have a look at it and join us for a Sunday morning service to hear it's beautiful sounds. First service is a conventional service at 8:00; the second service is a praise service at 10:00. Second service has a live band for accompaniment. We are also working on replacing the sound system which will enhance the sound of the instrument even more and many other things. Jackie is in the process of selling piano keys. You can buy a key (or more) in honor/memory of someone or just for yourself. Each key sells for $40 and your name and dedication will be marked down.

1st Annual Drive-Through Chicken BBQ (maybe)

The First Annual Drive-Through Chicken BBQ (maybe)was held outside First Congregational Church in McGregor on July 25. The reason I say "maybe" is because it sounds like a possibility that it may even occur more than once a year, at least this year. Anything is possible with this group. We'll be sure to let you know. The BBQ was a big success. We did have a couple of problems, but they could be called "good" problems. We ran out of chicken, potato salad and beans. A couple of people made supply runs and would you believe, we still ran out again and had to turn away a number of people. Next time will be better. The food was delicious. You got 1/2 a chicken, potato salad, baked beans and a dessert for $7.50. It was a lot of hard work for a lot of people but, as usual, everyone seemed to have a lot of fun. Did I say that the food was delicious? Keep an eye out for the next one. A big thanks to everyone who worked or came to eat. A sincere apology to the folks who had to wait for their food and especially to those we had to turn away. There was even a Chicken Man (I think) running around even during our morning service before hand.

July 4 Ecumenical Service at the Peak

Here I am running behind on posts, like usual. The July 4 Ecumenical Service at Pikes Peak was great. It looked like it might rain but it held off and it was a beautiful day for an outdoor service. The service was well attended and everyone seemed to enjoy it and the fellowship and rolls afterward.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Congratulations to Michael (son of Scott and Tammy) and Jennifer Meyer who were married July 31st at St. Joseph's Church in Elkader.The people of First Congregational congratulate Michael and Jennifer as they begin new life together. God bless them.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


John Erickson was received into the fellowship of First Congregational Church on July 18th. He was warmly embraced by a congregation of family, friends and members who pledged support and love to him as he joins with us in service. Congratulations John, we are happy to have you as part of our congregation.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Congratulations to Adam and Barbara Kossman who were married July 17th at First Congregational Church.The people of First Congregational celebrate with them as they begin their new life together. God bless them.

Friday, June 25, 2010

July 4 Ecumenical Service at the Peak

Remember the Ecumenical Service at Pikes Peak on July 4. The service is at 9:00am with fellowship to follow in the shelter. Come join us for worship. The Ecumenical Choir will be singing.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Congratulations to Devin and Judi Markin who were married June 12th at St. Feriole Island. The people of First Congregational celebrate with them as they begin their new life together. God bless them.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Third Sunday Outdoor Services

Come join us at our 10:30 Praise Service on the third Sunday of the month during the Summer months. During the months of May through September we will celebrate second service outside on the grass beside the church (weather permitting). The first outdoor service was held on May 16 and was a real success. Everyone had a good time praising and worshiping God outdoors. The next one is planned for June 20 (Father's Day). Then the third Sunday of July, August and September we plan to be back out there. We look forward to and would thoroughly enjoy having you join us for this special worship service. Come on over and try it out.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Lucy Rodenberg was received into the fellowship of First Congregational Church on May 2nd. She was warmly embraced by a full congregation of family, friends and members who pledged support and love to her as she joins with us in service. Congratulations Lucy, we are happy to have you as part of our congregation.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Daughters, Mothers and Others Brunch

The fourth annual Daughters, Mothers and Others Brunch was held at the church fellowship hall on Saturday, May 1, at 9:30am. Yes, the food was really served by the men of the church. Some of the ladies prepared the quiche the previous afternoon and the men finished in the morning. Jim Arvidson provided the entertainment. He played his six-string guitar and a 12-string and sang. The ladies sure seemed to enjoy his performance. The brunch was sponsored by the R.E. Committee. I think the men had a good time working and fellowshipping together, too.