My bio for my 50-year high school class reunion
Although my parents were living in Madelia at the time, I was born on my grandparent’s farm in Iowa. My mother was a nurse and saved money by using a mid-wife and recovering under the care of her mother-in-law. Although she didn’t work while her children were growing up, she was trained as a nurse and her last job was in the nursery at Grossmont Hospital in San Diego, California. Although my dad worked as a traveling salesman while we lived in Madelia, his last job was owning and operating a couple of foreign car parts stores in San Diego. After my graduation, my folks moved to St. Louis Park and then to Glendale, CA and finally to San Diego. See my Homepage for more information about the name “Quass”.
My dad’s father and mother were both German, and I’ve visited the Quass ancestral village in Germany, which is about 50 miles southeast of Leipzig. My mother is a Greenley and both of my maternal grandparents were English. We’ve also visited her ancestral village in East Riding, England. While we were there, we also visited my wife’s paternal ancestral village in England. Someday, we plan to visit Norway because three of her grandparents are Norwegian.
While I was in high school, I worked as an apprentice butcher in Jacobson’s grocery store and first tried lutefisk. It’s true (as the song says) that lutefisk (if improperly prepared) can peel wallpaper right off your wall! I went to St. Olaf College (along with Garry Mussmann, Ed Mutsch, Charles Helling and Sharon Thormodson), where I majored in chemistry & math and played trombone in the college band. The highlight of those years was meeting this wonderful enchanting Norwegian girl, who is not only my eternal companion, but who also soon taught me to enjoy lutefisk.
We were married a week after graduation and my first job was in Chicago working for Swift & Co. in research, before we went to graduate school in Madison, Wisconsin, where I earned a PhD in Muscle Chemistry and Physiology. Since then, my career took us back to Chicago (Scientist involved in 2nd-generation TVP), then to western Minnesota (Dir. of R&D involved in imitation meat from soy protein isolate), then to St. Paul (Research Fellow involved in a passive immunity theraputic from cheese whey), and Fond du Lac, WI (Dir. of R&D involved in Italian cheese product development), and back to St. Paul (Contract Manager for U/MN and EPRI), where I rounded out my career by serving as a consultant to the food processing industry in non-thermal methods of food pasteurization.
We have five children (two sons, three daughters) and twenty-five grandchildren. Our youngest daughter has stayed in MN to raise her family and take care of her aging parents. She and her husband own and operate the Breadart bakery in Bayport. Our older four children have lived from coast to coast, but have settled in UT for now. Our older son (who has developed the website for this bio) will soon be selling their home in UT and moving his family to MN to continue the closer relationship that we've enjoyed while we were serving a mission for our Church in Salt Lake City.
While living in Chicago, we joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which changed the direction of our lives (for example, we were encouraged to go to graduate school). While living in western Minnesota, I served as the Branch President of a small congregation covering 10K square miles, and we taught our children the importance of attending church no matter how far away. While living in St. Paul, I was privileged to serve as a Sealer in our St. Paul, MN Temple, and was blessed to be mentored by a former President of the Chicago Temple. I cannot deny that The Lord helped me in raising our family, serving in my church callings and even in my employment. My wife, my children and my opportunities to serve have all helped me become a better person.
During those years when we were living in western MN, we converted an old school bus into an “RV” and took some memorable vacations with our children playing games and running around in the back. Gas mileage was dismal, but being together was priceless. Since then, we’ve gone the condo-rental route, but have still managed to get several of us together at the same time in memorable places.
What I like best about retirement (aside from the fact that my blood pressure dropped to a safer zone) is having the freedom to get more involved in things that my wife & I are both interested in. While we were in graduate school, we started to become involved in family history research; digging through the stacks of the Historical Library there and tramping through cemeteries and visiting courthouses and small town newspaper offices. We’ve had many wonderful experiences that have convinced us that our ancestors long to be found. By now, we’re both quite experienced in gathering information (and helping others gather their information) for our family tree.
While we were serving our mission in the Church Archives, we handled unsolicited (walk-in) donations of historical documents and photographs, which gave us the privilege to contribute to this unique culture, where the hearts of the children are definitely turned toward their ancestors. Frequently, when we listened to “Music and the Spoken Word,” we heard very moving programs which payed tribute to our veterans. Without question, the richest country in the world has paid an immeasurable price to try to vanquish tyranny and promote peace. By memorializing the testimonies of those who have paved the way for us, we’re able to contribute to that investment.
When we moved to our small townhouse to be closer to the St. Paul Temple, we shed some of our “stuff” (but not my high school letter jacket), and during our mission, we got used to even smaller accommodations. We’ll continue to shed more of our “stuff” until we get our priorities in order and we look forward to serving several missions.
What I like least about the “golden years” is the reminder that some things do not last forever. When my grandchildren wear me out, I realize that I cannot do some of the things that I used to do with ease. Nevertheless, working together and helping others multiplies our joys and eases pains and point us to a brighter day, when we will be reunited with those who have gone before us.
This is a link back to my Homepage.
There is a PBWiki website set up for details about our class reunion activities at Madelia Reunion.This is our class picture,