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Archive for the ‘Marriage and Family’ Category

Here’s a guest post from my brother-in-law, Alan
(originally titled, The Shop- It Was Built to Make Machines,
but It Really Formed a Family).
Alan recounts his own warm, first-hand memories
of the family shop (as previously referred to here).

I am deeply grateful to Alan for his
recollections both in word and picture.

– – – – – –

Even the Holy Scriptures designate a beginning, but I find it difficult to put a time stamp on the beginning of “the shop.” Mostly because the lineage and heritage of Young always involves a shop. This story is about the shop which was built by my Dad and the rest of our family. Our Dad, Rolly, and the four boys- Alan, Larry, Tom and Dana, were helped out by our Mom-Lois and our sister Jane. The house was built in 1973 as part of our family’s big move from Grand Forks to the land my parents bought from Mom’s father, Alvin McIntyre. Alvin and his brother, Cliff, grew up in the Old Farmhouse about 5 miles out of Grand Forks.

As children we had many trips to the farm- some in the family station wagon, some on our own bikes. As a family we spent many long hours in the summers of 1972 and 1973, clearing trees and brush from a thick wooded area north of the farmhouse that was up until then, left unfettered by time.

These woods were dominated by large oak, ash and basswood trees and thick underbrush. Beneath the underbrush one could discover the paths worn by cows from the days when Alvin ran a dairy operation and the cows were allowed to wander through the northern acres, creating paths that still form the boundaries for the current “Young Compound.” It was while wandering through these paths one Sunday afternoon that Dad and Mom were inspired to take Dad’s newly formed invention of the PanelLift® drywall lift and move from town to this new frontier.

The original portion of the shop measured 70 feet long and 42 feet wide. The concrete foundation was poured on June 8, 1973. (Interestingly enough, Eileen and I were married 12 years later on June 8, 1985). The shop building was completed in the early fall. The house was being built simultaneously by a contractor, but when it came time to move into the house it wasn’t finished, so we parked all of our boxed-up belongings in the back of the shop. My mother and my brother, Larry, spearheaded the organization of this effort, numbering every box and cataloging them in a big three-ringed binder. We also moved all of our furniture into the shop. Dad hooked up a stove, table, and other necessary items for a functioning kitchen in the front inside corner of the shop. A rug was laid down with a couch and chair for our living room. Our family bedroom was the 1948 Ford school bus which my dad had turned into a camper in 1966.

The bus was parked in the middle of the shop and it slept all 7 of us… and had a flush toilet. Pioneers from 1800 wished they had it so good!

                                                                  Alan, Dana-Tom?, Larry, Jane, Mom

The shop’s living quarters were topped off by a long rope that hung from a ceiling rafter. A large knot was tied at the bottom of the rope and this served as an inside swing that pacified the high energy of four boys and amused their sister. This North Dakota Bohemian living arrangement lasted about a month as the house was finished in time for Christmas dinner and the shop was ready to begin its 45-year career as the forge that would shape the lives of five fortunate young people. The shop was the vehicle to our futures whether we understood it or not.

The early days of a family-run business can be tricky- especially when much of the work force is still in high school and college. Dad’s new machine was slowly catching on with rental shops and contractors. It was a Providential boost to the business when a major tool distributor, Goldblatt Tools, found out about the PanelLift.

They began ordering from the fledgling home-manufacturing shop-in-the-woods. Soon a couple of full-time workers were hired to support the operation as the five kids were still in their high school and soon-to-be college years. It was the years spanning 1973-1985 that the five Young kids earned their way through college by running drill presses and punch presses, turning parts on a lathe, performing assembly tasks, and learning valuable trade-related operations including welding and painting and tasks involving mechanical design problem solving. Although only Dana and Larry stayed with the family business, all five kids learned that having a work opportunity 50 feet from their home was a good thing.

                                                                                              Jane and Dana

                                                                                                        Dana

                                                                                  Tom, Dana, Larry, Alan

                                                                                           Alan, Dana, Larry

I can’t speak for all of us, but I know I spent thousands of hours from 1973-1982 working summers and weekends to pay my way through school. Those were not easy hours. The welding booth in the summer was wretchedly hot and I remember making the decision many times to wear the least amount of leather protection so the heat wouldn’t be so oppressive. The trade-off was having to bear the inevitable welding spark that would land on my t-shirt, slowly burning a hole in it until it reached my skin and an unseen glowing spark would slowly die out 2 inches north of my navel.

Suiting up for painting was great in winter but in summer it was a sweatbath.

                                                                                                                       Alan

From this time, at this place, each of us had a vision. For some, that vision revealed clearly that these surroundings would become their future- they would help nurture and grow the machine that Dad designed and help grow this shop and in the process, make a larger forge for others who would come to work for the business. For some of us our vision was different- even if we didn’t know we had a vision at this time.  Maybe it was just cluttered by the machines we were running…

… or the machines we were building.

                                                                                     PanelLifts, ready to go

But this work allowed us to get our hands dirty and our bodies sweaty. Our clothes became worn and frazzled.  We learned not to take for granted the comfort of a shower and clean fresh clothes, as we awoke the next day and put on yesterday’s dirty jeans and t-shirts; after all, we didn’t want to ruin new clothes before the old ones had finished their abilities to shield us from dirt, grease, welding spatter, and paint.

Working in this shop allowed us to be together working with family.

                                                                            Dad, Mom, Dana, Tom, Alan

But working in this shop also allowed us to be alone. Alone at long, tedious tasks, producing parts that stacked into boxes, carts and assembly racks. We learned the value of tedium, the value of monotony, the value of being uncomfortable while your body did work and your mind was free (or forced to drift elsewhere).

Whatever one’s work environment may be, I think there is a forlornness [in its loss] unmatched by people whose hands helped to build the place they work. I think of farmers and their families who through the generations have managed the same homesteads as they built barns and granaries, sheds and facilities to run their operations. Now, as corporate farms take over the landscape, these farmers and their families are faced with the declining ability to keep pace and are losing their businesses; but more to the heart- they are losing their land and buildings- a loss that is different than moving from a cubicle to another cubicle, a company to another company, even moving from one career to a different career. When your body has contributed to the means by which an enterprise has been planted, grown, and flourished, and now that enterprise has lost the means to be maintained- there is an emptiness.

I see this emptiness now as I walk through the dimly lit rooms of the old shop. Once the heart of the operation, it is now a shell.

There are left over machines, benches, odd tools, and stacks of odd parts…

… out-dated jigs that once cleverly allowed intricate parts to be efficiently produced- all now sitting and waiting…

…waiting for what may come next.  For now, there is no clear answer to their future.

Maybe some day these machines and this building will be resurrected for a new beginning.  Maybe they will return to dust as we know our own bodies will some day.

But even as I turn on the light in an old corner office, I am reminded that we are a people of The Resurrection.

December 3, 2018

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My family home was torn down today… and I am broken-hearted.

 

For the last month, it’s been effectively gutted, leaving it a shell of the home I once knew.  It was necessarily stripped and sold of its old wooden trim and hardwood flooring, exterior doors and windows, cupboard doors, paving bricks, and even some items I was glad to harvest – flowers from the yard, a birdbath which we had even while living in town, and my mom’s china cabinet which housed her china with the silver wheat pattern.  Now seeing the pit in the ground and all semblance of home gone, it all seems so very final and I feel very lonely.

 

Dana has said that the sale of his family’s business has seemed like a death of sorts and I know what he means.

 

Remember the movie You’ve Got Mail where Kathleen Kelly has had to close the bookstore that’s been in her family for generations?  As she’s walking out for the last time, she says that she feels like her mom has died all over again and I know what she means.

– – – – – –

 

Although still thriving under new ownership and with a new name, selling the family business meant a passing of an era and wrapped up in that sale was a lifetime of events that are now memories of a business and a way of life that his dad and mom, Rol and Lois, began so many years ago in 1973.  They began with just their young family (four boys and a girl) manufacturing a humbly increasing demand for their drywall lifts and portable scaffolding.  Dana was in the 6th grade then. The designs were all his dad’s and his mom ran the office needs – as well as providing the coffee and cookies (and occasionally home-made donuts) for coffee breaks for the little growing crew.

 

 

In those days, no drywaller worth his salt used a machine to raise those heavy sheets of gypsum (usually using a mess of boards to prop up their work or lifting them on their heads).  This family set out to re-shape those attitudes and practices and by God’s grace for a season they became the world’s supplier of drywall lifts – The World’s Best Drywall Lifts™. Hardly any drywaller these days, concerned with time and costs, would be without a lift!

Rol - early Panellift - 1971                                                                          Panellift® prototype, c1970

 

“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes” (2 Cor 10:17; Psalm 118:23).

 

With the selling of the business, it feels like something living has passed, and indeed, so much of life was wrapped up in that business – the family’s move to the country; living in the shop until their house was finished; car trips by Mom and Dad to tradeshows to get their products known; Mom answering calls and Dad always planning the next building addition or the next product design (he’s received over a dozen patents); Gordon Lightfoot, John Denver, and America played on various WalkMans around the shop with the overhead doors wide open in the summer or by the heat of a wood-fired stove in the winter.  This is the lovely, small, and home-fashioned shop I first toured when Dana and I started dating our senior year of high school.

 

But much more has come and gone during those years.  All the kids grew up (working in the shop through their college years), moved from home, got married and had families.  Most found other jobs, but Dana and his brother, Larry, stayed with the business (Dana in marketing and later, the financials; Larry in manufacturing and later, engineering). Mom passed away in the summer of 1988 and the company began to change from a small cottage industry into an organized, strategic business.

In those years, a Kingdom vision for the company took root as Dana and Larry traveled to FCCI conferences (Fellowship of Companies for Christ International).  Dad, Larry, and Dana were awarded the Small Business Persons of the Year award for our state in 2000, which meant a trip to Washington, D.C. and getting to see President George W. Bush.   Many more employees came and went (once employing about 80).  Occasional employee lunches, Christmas parties, and fishing trips dotted the years.  As business grew, several additions were added to the original 42 x 70′ shop and eventually a new facility was built away from the family property.  Then the housing crisis of 2008 hit and was followed hard after by a presidential administrative policy which simply could not or would not produce an optimistic business climate – the nation slumped under it.  The lost decade followed – a decade of hardship and loss for us.

 

“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

 

The Lord used those grievous days in our lives to grow us in ways we wouldn’t have sought but in ways we knew to be for our good.  The three (Dana, Larry, and Dad) trusted heavily day-by-day and often hour-by-hour for God’s provisions and guidance.  Throughout those years, Dana often preached truth to himself and to me.  It helped to physically recite again and again the truths of what we knew of our all-good God and His redeeming, purposeful ways with his children.  We didn’t always feel it, but we always believed it.

 

Where previously, the product line had been fairly focused (construction material handling), the Lord amazingly brought specialty tool work from wide ranging sectors during these years – University Berkley Ergonomics Program, a chemical weapons disposal plant, an underground potash mine in Canada, a facility which manages a particular nuclear chemical, and a wind energy plant right in our town.

 

In the end though, there was no silver bullet nor enough money from anywhere to keep throwing at the need; there was just a very tired building and three very worn out owners.  Different decisions might have been made over the years, but they would have cost the three their fraternity and when all is said and done, that cannot be regretted.  With all their frenetic efforts, doors still shut before them even while unexpected doors opened for a season around them — it was impossible to miss that the Lord was doing a working — and we trust Him in that.

 

The business sold to a worthy employee who has dreams of taking the company forward and with his fresh wind of capital, it looks promising. So that same business, begun so long ago, still goes forward (albeit with a new name), still making and selling those products (and more) whose humble beginnings were in a small family-owned shop on the outskirts of town.  But these days, when we walk through the old, disheveled shop on the family property it seems to be a parable for us of the brevity of life, the far-reaching effects of the fall, and the fragileness of what seems permanent.  The aging of the house that was new in Dana’s youth and his dad’s move to hospice are further reminders of the fleeting nature of our time here… and at times it feels to us like his Mom has left us all over again.

– – – – – –

Now today…  my family’s home has been demolished, its barn and outbuildings gone, so many of the trees my dad planted years ago have been chopped down to make room for city development.

 

We moved to the outskirts of town in the spring of 1975 (directions to it were always the last house on Belmont).  I was finishing up 7th grade (my sister Heide was finishing 4th and Holly was still a pre-schooler) when we moved.  It was a dream for my dad (who grew up farming) to own some acreage even while working by day for the city in civil engineering.  My personal dream of farm life was first awakened in 1st grade when sweet Mrs. Lore had reason to display a large poster of an idealized farm scene complete with animals, barn, and a boy and girl playing near the little brook that ran through it.  Later, when I was introduced to the Little House series, my pioneer spirit awoke and I longed to be a Laura on a farm.

 

These wishes were answered when we moved south of town to a ten-acre farmstead  which, get this, had originally been built and owned by Dana’s granddad’s brother (back in the day, Granddad McIntyre and his brother, Clifton, had run a dairy creamery from our place).  It was Clifton who likely planted all the graceful Cottonwoods which I love so much and which still stand sentry around the boundaries of the old property (I hope many survive the development).  Our soon-to-be hobby farm was christened Belmont Acres.

 

Over the years, the city limits (and its sure taxes) made its way to the very edge of our property.  With my mom’s passing in 2004 and my dad’s more recent failing memory, it was apparent that the land must be sold, and it was, to a local developer.  The property’s western two-thirds have already been developed.  Already gone to street and housing are the three plus acres of woods in which my dad spent hundreds of hours grooming his Christmas tree farm after his young family had grown.  What a very different view we have had from the house’s west windows these last few years.  But, the front third, with its old stucco house facing the sunrise, its grassy front mall and black-topped lane, has remained virtually unchanged save for white fencing put up here and there.

 

But after today, Belmont Acres will be no more.  And as that easterly front end begins to fill up with houses, who will remember that once a young man had a dream for himself and his family there?  He wanted something important for them, a bit of farm life like he had known growing up on his family’s working farm.  Who will know of the long, late hours my dad and mom (Ray and Myrna) worked to give the home a facelift before moving the family there or how they gave up their lake place to make this move possible?  And who could guess that this young town-dwelling wife would summon all of her will and her creativity to take on the role of a farm wife and all that that entailed – large-scaled gardening, preserving foods, butchering season (even making head cheese from our own pigs), and much more yardwork than she must have ever imagined, all while meticulously managing her home and working part-time in retail.

 

The house itself wasn’t exactly the home of her dreams.  All the rooms were small-ish and her kitchen badly needed and an update (and an expansion).  For most of her days there, there was only one bathroom (upstairs) and there was never enough outlets; their bedroom, directly off the living room, was way too small (with no closet but a stand alone piece that took up coveted space in the corner); her laundry room was an old concreted space downstairs and of course, there were the trying years (before being solved) when ground water would occasionally seep in and would flood portions of the basement.  But like so many from her generation – it was my life for yours and there it was!  To her credit, she took what she was given and employed her skills at painting, decorating, and gardening to make the most of that 50 year old home for the sake of her husband and family.

In those early years, there was much to do to make this man’s dream take shape.  So after finishing his day job, he would come home and work after supper until sunset and then up early on Saturdays to work all day long.  This was his pattern through the years.  He enclosed the ten acres in carefully surveyed tamarack fencing (did I mention he was also a land surveyor?), and he lined the property in three or four rows of tree seedlings which over the years the aforementioned daughters hoed (… and hoed… and hoed).

 

Belmont Acres Truck Farm was established when roughly a half an acre of the back third was planted, hoed, and harvested each year.  A variety of vegetables were grown (but heavy on the sweet corn).  Everyone worked the garden to some extent, but it was mostly the girls’ job to pick and sell it from the house, thereby earning their own money for back-to-school clothes.

And then, of course, there was every manner of farm animal (except goats) which my dad brought home over the years.  I mean dogs, cats, chickens, pig, cows, and ponies and occasionally geese and peacocks (not to mention the homing pigeon coop).

 

In the summer, there was our daily to-do list from my dad and, of course, the rule was work before pleasure. The fall brought not only harvest but butchering time and many a 4H project was birthed (sometimes literally) on the farm.  All was done with an eye to teaching those daughters responsibility and industry while allowing that whole farm idea to have its full effect on them.

Now in a couple years, no one who drives by will know that this was the favored gathering place almost every summer for the extended family in one capacity or another.  Who could even know how much work the sometimes-hesitant mother did to prepare for those huge events?  But how much laughter and good memories came with them!  With aunts and uncles and cousins all around, there was always good food and lots of laughing and banter as we reunited and the day almost always ended around a great bonfire.  These gatherings served to plant a sense of history and belonging as well as general well-being deep down inside me which I carry with me still today.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

And on holidays, a generous welcome was always offered to any and all as this hospitable couple threw out the welcome mat to any who needed a place to be on those days– family, friends, people from work, etc.  Many a bachelor uncle or co-worker whose family was too far away found a place at the table (the dining table early in the day and the pinochle table later on).

 

Time and memory would fail me to tell of the adventures my Dad and his good friend, Jim, had working side-by-side on all sorts of plots and projects as Jim willingly lived out his own farm-life memories on our farm; of this same Jim and his wife, Gerrie, who came oft on a Sunday to play cards (keeping a notebook for years filled with their men-against-the-women scores); of my dad’s childless co-worker, Charlie and his wife Bonnie (with nearest family in New York state and Texas), who joined us every year for Thanksgiving and always brought TX pecan pie.  Our hall-of-fame (or infamy as it were) wouldn’t be complete without mention of Heide’s friends, Charlotte (still a close friend today) and Lisa, and Holly’s friend, Mitch, who made Belmont Acres their home away from home many a day.

 

And who will remember but a handful of us that a young girl fell in love from that house and that the lane which used to be just there, brought her future husband to her door for their first date?  From her upstairs bedroom window, in which she used to watch for her school bus, she now watched for signs of his old white ’65 Ford station wagon.  And in the years to come, this was home to the great outdoors in which their young children would play without fear of traffic or stranger.

 

I know as a Christian that we are just sojourners in this world.  That all we see is temporary and we are making our sure way to our true home.  That one day all the deep-seated longings born in us in this life will be filled in Christ when we reach our heavenly home and all joy will be restored to us in the realm of our victorious King.  But I also know that our good God made us with the inclination to make associations and attachments which bind our memories to those we love.

 

It’s true that time will most likely allay my sadness, but today I feel lonely and heartsick and I miss my mom all over again (and my old dad before his memory issues).  However, I consider it all grace that I have been given the people and experiences I have had in my life even if some heartache must go with it.  And I am beyond grateful that I have a permanent home being prepared for me which neither moth nor rust (nor the backhoe) can destroy!

 

In her first book for childrena, the 65-year old author, Laura I. Wilder, paints a scene of her very young self lying awake in bed, listening to her mom and dad in the other room of their log cabin in the woods.  They are awash in firelight as Ma gently rocks and knits and Pa is softly playing Auld Lang Syne on his honey-brown fiddle.  When the fiddle quiets, Laura calls out softly, “What are the days of auld lang syne, Pa?”  Pa replies simply, “They are the days of a long time ago. Go to sleep now.”

 

But as children do, that simple answer yields a stream of thoughts.  As she looks at her Ma and Pa from the next room, sensing all is well with the world as children do, she can’t help think:  “This is now.  She was glad that the cosy house, and Pa and Ma, and the firelight and the music were now.  They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now.  It can never be a long time ago”

 

… and I know what she means.

 

 

 

 

a Wilder, L. I. (2007). Little house in the big woods. New York: Scholastic, p.238.

Tell me, where is the road I can call my own,
That I left, that I lost So long ago?
All these years I have wandered,
Oh when will I know
There’s a way, there’s a road
That will lead me home?

After wind, after rain, When the dark is done,
As I wake from a dream in the gold of day,
Through the air there’s a calling
From far away,
There’s a voice I can hear
That will lead me home.

Rise up, follow me, Come away, is the call,
With the love in your heart as the only song;
There is no such beauty
As where you belong;
Rise up, follow me,
I will lead you home.

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Dana and I are so happy and blessed to add another member to our family tree – our lovely Caroline Maria Werner Young.  Can it be a week has passed since their happy wedding in the Cities?  We have so much to be thankful for in the wedding of these two who committed their lives before God – to each other and to His kingdom.

 

Indeed, on their wedding day, God extended His first of what we trust will be many graces in their lives.  The days around the wedding had been “African hot.”  The night before, just as the rehearsal came to an end and friends and family were driving across town to our dinner, a torrential rain came up to usher in the evening.  We were thankful to be in a room of candle and twinkle lights as the rain poured outside.

 

We had prayed and prayed for months about the weather for the wedding day since the couple had an outdoor ceremony planned at the place of their reception.  True, everything could be moved indoors if needed, but the hope was to be married outdoors in that beautiful setting.  According to pattern, the day of their wedding, Friday, May 25th, was a hot day too, but it was not as humid as it had previously been. It was sunny and bright (lovely for photos).

 

However, as we headed west toward the venue that afternoon, it was hard to not notice the dark clouds rolling in from that direction… and again the prayers began.  Through the next hour and a half as guests began to arrive, we watched the sky become darker and darker and the wind pick up dramatically.  Folks were checking local radar weather and reporting various things:  “Rain to pass through area quickly and then be gone”; “Hail in eight minutes”; and asking, “Can we delay the service maybe 15 minutes to let the storm pass?”  While others wondered openly what’s to happen, many of us kept praying.  At least once, our trusty crew of two went out to reset chairs upright which the wind had blown down and I wondered how we’d dry all those chairs well enough if the rain did come through.  At one point I was told plans were being made to move the chairs in from the amphitheater.  Not a tragedy, but not what our couple had hoped for.

 

Then, just 15-20 minutes before the wedding was to begin, the sky seemed to be brightening and the winds were becoming gentler.  And as we watched, our gracious God carefully moved that rain and wind to another location, giving us a most pleasantly calm, mildly warm, gentle evening (and dry chairs) for their lovely outdoor wedding.  The wedding went off at the appointed time and moved back inside for an altogether lovely reception and dance.  Just like the couple at the Canaan wedding, Bryce and Caroline received the first answered prayer of their wedded life!

 

Now as they go through life together, we pray that this young couple will always be mindful of the goodness of their God – our “abounding in loving-kindness” God!  We pray they will grow in strength together as they seek to bring Him glory in their newly created family and that God will lead and guard them always.  Amen.

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A very honoring funeral was given Uncle Warren on Thursday, May 31, 2018.  The pastor gave a straight gospel message and my cousin, Wade Shafer, Warren’s godson, ended the service with a very personal and heartfelt address with memories shared of Buddy Holly and beers being slipped to a certain nephew.   The demands of Uncle Warren’s enlisted service as a Green Beret in Cambodia during the Vietnam War were recognized; certainly that time would be defining for the rest of his life.  Thanks were given to those who cared so well for Uncle Warren in his later years and a special charge was given to Warren’s only daughter, Kelsie.

As I readied myself for the funeral, memories of better days than the latter were brought to mind: Uncle Warren’s crazy hula dance at our family reunion (grass skirt and coconut shells and all); handing over a large jar of his pocket change to my sister and me; helping my dad dig the hole for our outhouse at the lake; his amazing pasta meals and rice pudding; his business ventures – The Pantry restaurant and the camp grounds; how he most seriously reprimanded me to the point of reformation when as an upper elementary student I used a newly picked up phrase around him (“Oh my God”); his help to Dana and me during the ’97 flood; dancing at his first wedding with all the cousins; going to the first Star Wars movie in the late ’70s with him; etc.

In light of later years, Warren seemed to be the star of a tragedy, but it was good to recall better, lighter days – I will greatly miss that Warren.

– – – – – –

Warren LeClerc, 70, of Grand Forks, ND was called home by his Heavenly Father on May 24, 2018 at Dunseith Community Nursing Home, Dunseith, ND. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 11:00 A.M. in the Amundson Funeral Home in Grand Forks. Visitation will be one hour before service time. Burial will be Friday June 1, 2018 at 3:00 P.M. in Drayton, ND.

Warren Lyle LeClerc was born November 14, 1947 in Devils Lake, ND, the youngest of eight children blessed to Alex and Mae (Schumacher) Leclerc. He was tender-hearted and from a young age showed a special empathy for those less fortunate or treated disrespectfully.  Intuitively, throughout his life Warren could see when someone’s light was being diminished by the words and actions of others and felt called to intervene.

Warren attended school in Devils Lake, spending summers on the family farm near Drayton, ND. During the Vietnam War, he served with the 46th Airborne Green Beret, stationed in Thailand, an experience that would profoundly influence his life. He went on to attend Hartnell College in Salinas, CA where he also operated a hotel. In 1980 Warren was united in Marriage to Colette (Hefter) LeClerc. The couple made their home in Grand Forks where daughter Kelsie was born in 1986.

Warren had an entrepreneurial spirit, which combined with talent and passion for cooking led him to open The Pantry Restaurant in Grand Forks, where he served as co-owner and operator for many years. He later turned his rural Grand Forks property into an RV Park, welcoming travelers from several states and countries. Many returned annually and became dear friends. In 2000 Warren was hired as a security officer at Red River High School, retiring in 2014. He loved and cared about young people. His humor and willingness to truly listen and empathize with their personal struggles, big and small, endeared him to many students over the years.

A private person, who valued humility and championed anyone blazing their own unique path in life, Warren was also deeply spiritual. While peace often alluded him in his earthly life, He believed in his Lord and Savior and now knows the peace and joy that passes all understanding.

Warren is survived by his daughter Kelsie LeClerc, Grand Forks, ND, sisters Lillian (Gordon) Shafer, Detroit Lakes, MN and Rosalie (James) Ringstrom, Encinitas, CA; brothers Dale (Betsy) LeClerc, Monterey, CA, Ray (Judy) LeClerc, Grand Forks, ND, Ron LeClerc, Bismarck, ND; ex-spouse and friend Colette LeClerc, and many nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Sister Beverly Schmidt, brother-in-law Leo Schmidt; sisters-in-law Myrna LeClerc and Luella LeClerc; and many dear relatives and friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents, sister Beverly (LeClerc) Schmidt, and brother Gerald LeClerc.

 

~ Official obituary

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The pastor said it correctly, when he remarked that there was something missing from our family gathering this weekend.  Of course, it was my Uncle Jerry – he who was always looked for to bring levity and cheer to all our family events.  In his absence, the sure hope of the gospel was on display.  What a great plan!  Who wouldn’t want a Savior like Jesus – so beautiful, so kind and patient, so sacrificing to condescend to make a way for us.  A way that turns such sorrowful days into days of rejoicing and great hope – confident hope for the day we will see this all-lovely Jesus who will surely wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, as the former things pass away.
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Gerald (Jerry) LeClerc, 79, of Devils Lake, ND was called home by his Heavenly Father on Wednesday, July 12, 2017, at Aneta Parkview Health Center, Aneta, ND.

Gerald Alexander LeClerc was born Nov 18, 1937 in Grafton, ND, the fourth of eight children blessed to Alex and Mae (Schumacher) LeClerc. The family farmed near Grafton and Devils Lake until purchasing a farm near Drayton in 1947. Jerry’s love of the land and lifelong commitment to agriculture and rural communities, grew out of his early experiences on the family farm.

Jerry graduated Devils Lake High School in 1955. After receiving his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from NDSU, he returned to the family farm. Following the sudden death of his father in 1964, Jerry farmed on his own until 1968 when he accepted a position with NDSU Extension as Assistant County Agent, Pembina County. In 1970 he was hired interim County Agent, Towner County. In March of 1971 Jerry landed the County Agent position in Steele County, which he held for 25 years until his retirement in 1995. Throughout the course of his career, Jerry received many awards and accolades in recognition of his work, most notably the National Association of Agricultural Agents Distinguished Service Award in 1989; the NDSU Alumni Association Outstanding Agriculturalist of the Year Award in 1996; and induction into the North Dakota Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2004.

While living and working in Finley, ND, Jerry was involved in many civic and business organizations, including the Steel County Crop Improvement Association, Soil Conservation Service, and American Red Cross. He belonged to Trinity Lutheran Church in Hope, ND, and served 12 years on the Finley City Council. He claimed to have never met a Steel County resident he didn’t like, and appreciated how warmly they welcomed a Frenchman into their midst. In 2009, Jerry moved back to Devils Lake, becoming an active member of the faith community at St Peters Lutheran Church and producing an abundant vegetable garden to help supply the local food shelf.

Jerry was grateful for the wonderful people he met and worked with throughout his life, many of whom became lifelong friends, traveling companions, hunting and fishing buddies, and fellow “tellers of tall tales”. Blessed with a brilliant sense of humor, his quick wit brought joy and laughter to many a gathering or conversation. Although he had no children of his own, he helped raise many. Strong of character and generous with his time, Jerry touched the lives of hundreds of young people he worked with through 4-H. He loved and cherished his nieces and nephews and would move mountains to be present for the important moments in their lives.

Jerry was a blessing in the lives of those who knew him. He is survived by sisters Lillian (Gordon) Shafer and Rosalie (James) Ringstrom; brothers Dale (Betsy) LeClerc, Ray (Judy) LeClerc, Ron LeClerc, and Warren LeClerc; and many nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Sister Beverly Schmidt, brother-in-law Leo Schmidt; sisters-in-law Myrna LeClerc and Luella LeClerc; and many dear relatives and friends.

Prayer Service – Friday, July 21, 2017 at 7:00p, Immanuel Lutheran Church.  Memorial service – Saturday July 22, 2017, 11:00a at Immanuel Lutheran.  Internment  – Sacred Heart Catholic Church Cemetery, Oakwood, ND, alongside his father’s grave.  Memorials to St. Peters Lutheran Church, Devils Lake, ND; Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch; or a hunger organization of choice.

 

~ Official obituary

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What follows is a guest post from my brother-in-law, Larry.  Yesterday in
church we had a Sharing Day, something we’ve done now and again to
provide testimony to what God is doing on behalf of his people.  Larry
stood up and gave such beautiful voice to many of the thoughts and
feelings that those of us in the family business have experienced during
the past decade as we have struggled with earthly loss only to find
unspeakably great gain in Christ along the way.  Through it all, Jesus has
been careful to teach us, to cut away idols and character flaws that do not
represent him, to provide in ways that we couldn’t have dreamed, to show
us his beautiful, tender nature, and to allow us to share in these
ordained sufferings.  [For more background on that, see here.]

 

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).

This has proven a true saying as the three (two brothers and their dad)
have been able to lift each other up when one or the other on any given
day was sinking below the weight of care.  God provided personal
encouragement to each man, which was used to encourage the others
in due season.  It is also a testament to the character of these three
and to the power of God within them, that after ten plus stressful
years they find themselves on good and loving terms.

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In November of 2008, I (Larry) had been sharing about our business troubles that had begun just two years earlier in 2006. Well, just to bring you up to date – things got worse.

 

These have been long and stressful years for my wife Kim and me, for my brother Dana and his wife Kim, and for our Dad, Roland – years filled with financial hardships, difficulties and challenges resulting in many hard and difficult lessons learned.  There have been questions, realizations, and consequences – all stemming from decisions made, actions taken, and probably from actions taken too late.

 

Some verses come to mind –

Proverbs 22:7 “…The borrower is servant to the lender.”

Proverbs 27:23-24 “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.”

Proverbs 23:5 “Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

 

This has not been a quick test for us. The feelings and emotions we’ve experienced during this time along with the reaction to our circumstances have included confusion, frustration, uncertainty, uneasiness, anxiety, weariness, anger, and despondency. We’ve asked “Lord, will this never end?” At times I was tempted to apply Proverbs 31:6-7.

 

Now I have taken note of the difference between my plans and God’s plans. More so, up until this point, I had considered myself a man-of-action. I would go after projects, anticipate, think ahead, make lists, get supplies, get equipped, make – build – create – do – go, go, go!  Proverbs 16:9 tells us: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps”; and Psalm 46:10 tells me to “be still…”

 

At times God says to me: “No,” “Stop,” “Not now,” “Wait,” “This way,” “Not that way.” Then, while in this position I find myself stuck and in an uncomfortable, unnerving, and seemingly unending set of circumstances. I’ve realized I can’t fix it, I can’t stop it, I can’t change it, I can’t free myself – God has brought me to the end of myself!  I’ve come to treasure this verse from 2 Chronicles 20:12 “…We do not know what to do, Oh God, but our eyes are on you!”

 

We’ve been learning that this is an example of how God may, at times, use the storms and afflictions of our lives to work His will and accomplish His good purposes. What are his purposes? Well, among them, He intends to make us aware of our dependence upon Him; to show His glory and power; to show His goodness and loving care; perhaps to discipline us, his sons (as in Hebrews 12); or perhaps to humble us; to turn our attention away from idols and earthly things – Pastor Walt recently reminded us this world is not our home.  Another important lesson God wants us to learn is the rare jewel of Christian contentment.

 

We can take comfort in knowing and believing that God’s timing is always perfect. He brings the storms. He controls the timing, intensity and duration of the storm. Remember the disciples in the boat with Jesus (Mark 4:35-41)? “…Even the winds and waves obey him!” The Lord our God is sovereign over the times and seasons and all circumstances of my life. From Ecclesiastes 3 we are reminded that there is a time to weep and a time to laugh. Then later in chapter 7 we read: “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.”

 

God gives us rest. He gives us his peace and comfort. He sustains me. He gives me my daily bread. He gives us hope, his mercies are new every morning! He delivers me, he rescues me. He lifts me up!

 

Perhaps God has brought you through the storm. Perhaps God has proven his faithfulness to you over and over and over again.  Walk with me, dare to trust God and lean on him when you enter the slimy pit and cannot find your own way out. Follow him where he leads, when times are hard and hopeless.  Do not become bitter toward your Savior. Do not be anxious.  Keep your eyes on Jesus. No whining, don’t grumble. Be thankful in all things.

 

“It is good for me that I was afflicted” (Psalm 119:71).  Don’t give up on God before his work in you is completed. Remember Joseph in prison – wait on the Lord. He brought me in and he will bring me out!

 

I like the concept of restoration. These are comforting verses:

Psalm 90:15 “Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble.”

Joel 2:25 “I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten…”

 

I don’t know for sure what God has planned for all of my tomorrows. I know that my life is but a mist, a vapor that appears for a while and then vanishes (James 4:14). This world and all its troubles will soon be forgotten. But I do know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth (Job 19:25).

 

We want to express our sincere appreciation and thanks to all of you who have been praying for us.  We are privileged to call you our brothers and sisters in Christ!

 

So in closing I can say though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, …no sheep in the pens, no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior (Habakkuk 3:17-18)!  Praise the Lord!

 

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Painting: “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” by Rembrandt

 

 

 

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C and diploma - crop

Congratulations to our youngest daughter, Courtney, who graduated this month from Bethlehem College and Seminary with a History of Ideas major.  Congratulations to this bright, lovely, introspective, and witty daughter who displays the right mix of sense and sensibility.

My dear Courtney, you have worked through many challenges to accomplish this goal and have overcome the very demanding rigors of your major.  You have read thousands and thousands of pages and written hundreds and hundreds of pages.  You have grown both in your knowledge of western thought and philosophy as well as in understanding of how God has been at work throughout time and through eternity. You show great wisdom in applying revealed truth to everyday life. During these years, you have been witness to Jehovah Jirah, our Provider God, working on your behalf again and again through God’s people (tuition help, full-time employment for your earning year, generous housing provided, even oil changes and serpentine belts replaced at no cost).  This is your God; He who walks with you now into your future!

We look forward to seeing how God will use all the gifts He’s poured into you as you remain yielded to him.

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