Native author, artist to kick off TC seniors program

Randy Penner, author and artist, will be the featured speaker at the first session of the Learning in Retirement Program fall series at Tabor College.

The program will begin at 10:10 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 28, in the Wohlgemuth Music Education Center on the Tabor campus.

Penner’s topic, “A Harvest of Memories,” is also the title of his 1996 book published by Reiman Publications, Greendale, Wis. Reiman specializes in publications related to rural life, including the nationally distributed Country Woman and Reminisce magazines.

Having grown up on a farm three miles northeast of Hillsboro during the 1920s and 1930s, the author and illustrator captures scenes from everyday life. Penner checked details with local residents Oliver R. Unruh, Ray Wiebe, Ray Funk and Virgil Litke, as well as the staffs of area historical museums.

Penner said, “My childhood occurred during the years of the Great Depression, drought, dust storms, grasshopper plagues and just about anything else that could and did test farmers to the limits of their endurance.

“Those times were, in many ways, among the most trying this country has ever experienced, and I felt that would lend drama to my story. After all, I was there when it all happened.”

Following a long and successful career as a commercial artist in Wisconsin, Penner retired to Freeman, S.D., the ancestral home of his wife, Lu.

Among Penner’s many credits are paintings appearing as covers on Farm & Ranch Living magazine. His paintings of life experiences use subtle colors and have been described as drawing the observer into the scene.

Older adults are invited to attend the fall series of Thursday morning sessions. Enrollment at the door is $15 per semester, $27 per couple, or $3 per session. First-time visitors can attend free. Optional lunch is $3 for registrants.

More information is available from Connie Isaac, program director, at 947-5964.

* * *

Following is the schedule for the Learning in Retirement Program fall series:

Sept. 28: “Harvest of Memories.” Randy Penner, Freeman, S.D., will travel to share stories from his book overflowing with watercolors and nostalgia-growing up at Brudertal during the 1920s and 1930s.

Oct. 5: “Singing in the Wilderness.” Walter Friesen, Newton, and a men’s ensemble who recently toured Paraguay and Brazil will share observations and songs from their repertoire. Most of the 16 men, who come from Kansas, California, Oregon, British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario, are Tabor alumni.

Oct. 12: “Through Fire and Water: John & Susanna.” Tina Block Ediger, Newton, has been doing fascinating research on a missionary couple who, in 1929, were betrayed and exiled to Siberia.

Oct. 19: “It Happened at the Reservoir.” Tim Kliewer, Fred and Bertha Epperson, and Marion Reservoir staff talk about their dramatic experience with a near drowning. Does God use human beings to intervene in a crisis here on earth? Do miracles happen?

Oct. 26: “Dust Bowl: Personal Recollections.” Paul Penner, Wichita, along with Dave Classen, Millie and Harry Friesen, Ray Just, Jess Harder, and others will look back at the “Dirty Thirties” from Nebraska to Texas. Bring clippings/pictures for a display table.

Nov. 2: “My Ukranian Adventure.” Richard Kyle, professor of history at Tabor College, recently spent six months in the Ukraine as a Fulbright Scholar learning lessons from his students and the culture.

Nov. 9: “Kannst Du Dietsch Schwetze? German Dialects of Kansas.” Bill Keel, Kansas University professor, enjoys Plattdeutsch, a dialect used to express (often humorously) ordinary life. Major funding is provided by Kansas Humanities Council.

Nov. 16: “Relating to Adult Children.” Loyal and Rosella Martin, recently retired pastoral couple, will lead a discussion how adults can successfully move from parenting children, to being equals with them, and finally, to being parented.

Nov. 30: “Kansas Bounty.” Mil Penner, of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, Inman, will bring a Thanksgiving “feast” of slides from his award-winning collection. Marie Wiens, Hillsboro, will share “food for thought.” Location: Ground floor of the new Solomon Loewen Science Center

Dec. 7: “Angels We Have Heard on High.” The Silver Chords Quartet-Anne Buller, Beatrice, Neb., and Helen Fenstermacher, Ferne Hiebert and LeOra Grunau, Hillsboro-will sing “angelically” for the class. Everyone bring a small plate of goodies for the Christmas coffee at 10 a.m.

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