Why did you decide to go to De Sales Prep as a high school student?
My family had a number of priests that were friends and were over to the house a number of times, and I had this little pull that I wanted to be a priest. It was a wonderful, wonderful experience.
What was the big thing that got in the way of the priesthood?
The thing that kind of got in the way was in the beginning of my senior year, I met this wonderful woman who was across town at DSHA. A good friend of mine was dating her and they broke up. I really liked her and I said, “Well, why don’t you go out with me and he’ll be jealous?” Lo and behold, we started getting along. She went away to school in Minnesota for nursing school and that separation made us even stronger. When she graduated, we got married.
What did you love about working in middle school administration?
It was a passion. Middle school is the perfect time, because that is where they’re looking to form their values. You need people who care about them to mold them and help them grow into the people they want to be. I was always looking for teachers who knew not only the subject matter but were very big on relationships; because for me, the key to middle school was always relationships. Students at that age had to know that you cared about them and that they could trust you, and in many ways, that you showed you loved them.
And in a really important way, you’re still an educator even though you’ve retired — you babysit your young grandson. Can you tell us about that?
I love babysitting my grandkids. Our youngest daughter is in nursing school and we babysit our soon-to-be 3-year-old grandson, Jordan, while she’s in school. There’s nothing better than to watch kids grow and learn, and when you see the light in their eyes — Jordan’s at the stage now when we probably read 25 books a day. He just loves being read to. We put a lot of emotion and emphasis, and we try to bring it alive. You know kids get something when you watch their eyes and you want that little lightbulb going on inside of them.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love going out for walks with my dog and my wife. I’ve had a lot of great hiking experiences in my life — I’ve been able to hike around Mt. Rainier, the Rocky Mountains; we’ve been out to Alaska. I love being outdoors. Locally, it’s amazing how much you can see even around neighborhood parks here.
Is there anything about you that would surprise people?
I am a pretty high-energy person, for being in my mid-60s, but one of the things I like to do to slow down and relax is birdwatching. I love sitting out either on our patio with a cup of coffee or from our little breakfast bar, looking out and watching the different types of birds come and eat. When you get a chance to look at how beautiful each one of them is and how perfectly God has created them — you can see a lot of us in birds.
What do you love about being a dad?
It’s seeing your kids be parents and instill those same values in your grandkids, and all those things you did — whether it’s faith or sharing or being helpful — you always wonder if those lessons got through. When they’re adults and you see them in their jobs and in their families, instilling those same things in their kids, you know you’ve made an impact.
What topic do you love to preach on?
I love to preach about the parables. It might be the educator in me, but Jesus gave these beautiful little stories from everyday life. They’ve lasted for 2,000 years, and they’re still applicable to us today if we take time to listen to them, to pray on them and break them open. I also love doing jigsaw puzzles and crossword puzzles, and I see the parables as a puzzle because you have to peel back the different layers to get down to what Jesus is trying to tell us today.
What is one thing you can’t live without?
I can’t live without sunshine. There is nothing that can improve my mood and my attitude any more than just being in the sun. Whether it’s outside when it’s nice out, or on a 20-below day when the sun’s out, I can sit by a window for 15 minutes and pick up enough energy to make it through the day.