Bio: Everhard, Rev. Robert #2 (Retirement - 2008)

Contact: R. Lipprandt

Surnames: Everhard, LaFave, Schultz

----Source: The Tribune - Phonograph (Abbotsford, Clark Co., WI), Wednesday, November 5, 2008, Page 10

By Ben Schultz (The Tribune-Phonograph Staff)


Rev. Robert Everhard has been pretty busy for a guy who already retired once. In fact, he’s retiring again.

His last service at Peace United Church of Christ in Dorchester will be in December, and he’s hoping he’ll conclude without much ado.

"I don’t like these prolonged good-byes," he said.

Everhard has been afflicted with health problems in recent years. He suffered a heart attack in 1992 that required six bypasses to fix but rebounded quickly. Last year in March, he had a valve replacement.

"I felt so darned good I did interim work," he said. "I’ve been chasing sinners around."

As with almost anything, he didn’t let it dampen his spirits. Rather, he greets his health woes with a good joke.

"Instead of Christmas cards, I send out health reports," he said.

Almost 16 years ago, Everhard retired from First United Presbyterian Church in Abbotsford, Wis. At his final service there he shared a few thoughts on the big change.

"Retirement is that marvelous time of life when the sun rises and you don’t," he said. "Retirement is when you putter around in the yard and mutter around in the house."

"At a certain stage in life, everything you have seems to wear out, spread out or fall out," he continued. "At least mother nature was thoughtful. By the time we reach the sitting-around stage of life she endows us with a much bigger cushion."

Rev. Robert Everhard is a Milwaukee native and World War II veteran. He was in the manager training program at J.C. Penney when he received the call to the ministry while leading a church youth group.

Everhard’s career in the ministry started at a seminary in Hebron, Ill., in 1954. Three years later he accepted a full-time position in Lodi and was there until 1963. He then became a pastor at a Hillside, Ill., church for more that 13 years.

In 1977 Everhard became pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Abbotsford until his first retirement in 1992. That was pretty short-lived as he accepted interim pastor positions at the Lakewood Presbyterian Church, Wabeno Presbyterian Church and Laona Presbyterian Church from 1993 to 1995.

He started his ministry in Dorchester in 1993 and served at the United Church of Christ in Medford from 1993 through 1996. He was also at the Owen United Church of Christ from 2000 through 2004.

Last year Everhard was given the title, "Pastor Emeritus," which is purely honorary. It marked his 50th year of preaching or as he joked "50 years of putting people to sleep." He attributes his long ministry to "short sermons and long offerings."

Everhard has three children, two of whom have remained in the area. One son Dexter, is in California. Another son, Donald, is the principal at Stetsonville Elementary School. His daughter, Darlene LaFave, is a teacher in Loyal. He also has six grandchildren.

Along with 51 years of preaching, he has as many years of marriage to his wife, Lori. That comes with its share of respect and humor.

"My faithful and loving wife served the Lord by my side all through these years," he said in an interview last year.

But Everhard couldn’t let an opportunity for a good joke slip by.

"People ask how I survived 50 years of marriage," he said. "I was in the Army; I have combat experience."

In the 51 years at the pulpit he said the rigidity between churches has relaxed significantly. Christian denominations now are much more tolerant of each other’s differences.

"Generally, churches have a little more appreciation of one another," he said.

But even with more cooperation, he said churches are as pressed as ever to put people in the pews. People, he said, seem to be more distracted than ever.

"Churches fight for time and attention," he said.

He said even though he’s retiring again he’ll help out the church when he’s able. Also, he figures he’s delivered plenty of sermons in 51 years.

Put another way, he said, "I’ve said everything I have to say."



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