Month of Thanksgiving


There are many things in my life that I am thankful for. Here are just a few:

  1. My awesome wife, Karla
  2. My 2 wonderful kids, Grace and Seth
  3. My parents (Donnie Joe, Rita AND Karen)
  4. Supportive friends who show as much unconditional love as they can muster
  5. Pizza, and people’s love of it
  6. Students and learning
  7. My fantasy football league
  8. Motorcycle rides
  9. Creativity and innovation

There are a lot of things to be thankful for this month. Don’t forget to appreciate them.

Kevin Bromund (10/23/72 to 8/18/17)


Kevin Bromund was a badass. I’m sorry, but I don’t know of a better way to describe him. And, if you knew him, you would say the same thing. Ever since I met Kevin he possessed this quality.  He was 16 years old when we first crossed paths–I was dating his older sister. He looked like a young Tom Cruise. He had a VW beetle and was getting into this new sport called snowboarding. Long before there were runs on ski hills for snowboarding Kevin and his friends would make them up on the backside of ski resorts in MN.  They would also bring their boards to a local sand mine and board down them like hills. Like I said, badass.

As he got older, his confidence grew. He wanted to be a pilot. He longed to fly at fast speeds across the sky with 2 miles of nothing between him and the ground. He lived a lively, raucous life and no one could stop him.

It was during a physical for this pursuit that he found out about his heart defect. His heart was flip flopped. It’s called a transverse heart. It is a rare condition and one that would change Kevin’s life forever. Because of his heart’s design it would have to work harder, which caused it to enlarge. The enlargement caused his valves to leak, which caused Kevin to receive his first open heart surgery when he was 25 years old. More sobering than the surgery is that Kevin was given a timeline on his life. He was told that he would probably not live beyond his forties.

Did he crawl up into a ball and cry? Did he sit home and watch TV for the rest of his life? No. He traveled, He built homes. Drove motorcycles. Caught lunkers, Drank. Smoked. Got married. Had kids and settled down. Kevin was not the type of person to be told what to do, even by doctors. He gulped life as he desired and made the most of every opportunity to try every flavor, aroma, experience and sight.

Kevin died yesterday. He valiantly fought for 34 days at the University of Minnesota’s hospital to continue to live the life that he wanted to live, and not the life that people told him to live. His family is  going to miss him, so will his friends. Not just because he carved his way into their hearts, but I think they will miss him because deep down they liked knowing that there was someone who did as he pleased and made the most of every opportunity of the life he had on this earth. Most of us don’t know when we will pass on. Perhaps we shouldn’t see this as such a gift. Our ignorance of our own death makes us passive in life. There is always a tomorrow. There is always another day to procrastinate our humdrum nature toward. Kevin was given a gift. He was told that he had to make the most of his years on this planet–and he did. For that, I will miss him.

Elfrieda Louise Randall


Elfrieda Louise Randall, 98, of Alpena passed away on Wednesday June 28, 2017 on what would have been John and Elfrieda’s 79th wedding anniversary, at Touch of Country AFC Home. Elfrieda was born in Frankfort am Main Germany on April 4, 1919 to George and Regina (Gebhardt) McGinty. Elfrieda was nine years old when she set sail for the U.S. where her mother, older brother Earl, and step-father Arthur Maczei had gone before her as she was sick when the first ship set sail. She lived in Erie, PA and moved to Alpena prior to 1932 when her step-father bought what was known as the Packing House on Johnson Street. Elfrieda graduated from Alpena High School in June of 1938 and married John Randall the love of her life on June 28, 1938. She worked at the Packing House, the Alpena Garment Factory, and Cooper’s IGA.

Elfrieda was a stay at home mom, but was very active in the community. She served as a Girl Scout leader and was the Girl Scout Cookie Chairperson for many years. John would clean the garage out so the cookies could be delivered at the house and distributed from there. She volunteered at the hospital and worked at the elections. Elfrieda was an active member of First Baptist Church where she served as the Sunday School treasurer for many years, a member of the women’s missionary society, a Sunday School teacher, and a member of the 39er’s. John retired from HPC in 1980 allowing them to spend their summers in Alpena and winters at Pine Grove Park in St. Cloud, Florida.

Elfrieda continued to spend winters in FL after John passed away. In July of 2008 Elfrieda moved to Luther Manor where she participated in the many activities they offered. Declining health brought her to the AFC home. Surviving are her daughters; Judy (Gene) Reimann of Alpena, Karen Bromund of MN, two grandchildren; Laurel, Karla (Brandon) Barker, four great-grandchildren; Grace, Seth, Kaia, Cole, daughter in-law; Cherish Bromund, her niece Lynn Maczei Barazsu, three nephews; Dennis McGinty, Paul and Kurt Maczei, and a sister in-law; Pat Randall Clarkson. She was preceded in death by her husband John on May 30, 1987, her parents, two brothers; Earl McGinty and Arthur Maczei, her grandson Kevin Bromund who passed away on August 18, 2017, a sister in-law; Ruth Randall Fairlee, and her son in-law; Kenneth Bromund.

Excerpt from True North Radio Network

Barbara (Hilligoss) Taylor


From the Quad Cities Times

June 3, 2017
CLINTON — Barbara Kay Taylor, 71, of Clinton, Iowa, passed away at the Clarissa Cook Hospice House on Saturday, June 3, 2017. Honoring her wishes, cremation rites have been accorded. A memorial service will take place on Saturday, June 17, at 3 p.m. at Lemke Funeral Homes – South Chapel (2610 Manufacturing Drive). A visitation will occur one hour prior to the memorial service from 2 p.m. until the time of service at the Funeral Home. Lemke Funeral Homes assisted the family with arrangements.
Barbara was born November 27, 1945, in Aledo, Illinois, the daughter of Clyde and Kay (Beard) Hilligoss. She was a graduate of Aledo High School. She earned a specialized two-year degree from AIC college. Barbara worked as a secretary at both St. Ambrose University and Clinton High School.
Barbara was united in marriage to Terry Taylor on September 18, 1981. Barbara was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Barbara enjoyed sewing and cross-stitch. She also enjoyed reading and watching movies. She loved observing animals, nature and loved watching the passing of time through the changes of the season. Early in life, she enjoyed taking trips with her husband, especially to Minnesota. She loved her family very much and enjoyed socializing with them — she will be sadly missed.

Barbara is survived by her husband, Terry, of Clinton; two sons, Brandon (Karla) Barker of West Des Moines, Iowa, Nathan (Courtney) Barker of Rosemont, Minnesota; one step-daughter, Dianne (Dan) Piercy of Thomson, Illinois; two step-sons, Terry Taylor of Clinton, Iowa, and Joseph Taylor of Preston, Iowa; two brothers, Charles (Sharon) Hilligoss of Silvis, Illinois, and Daniel (Connie) Hilligoss of Aledo, Illinois; 14 grandchildren; several great-grandchildren; two aunts, June Brewer of Silvis, Illinois, and Margaret Creiger of Branson, Missouri; with many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Preceding Barbara in death were her parents.
Memorials made can be directed to the wishes of the family.

Charles H. Horn


June 06, 1921 – April 29, 2017

CHARLES H. HORN, 95, of 500 S. Jackson Street, Morrison, IL, passed away Saturday April 29, 2017 at Resthave Home in Morrison.

Chuck was born June 6, 1921 in Garden Plain, IL, to Henry Charles and Eva Mildred (Knapp) Horn. He was educated in the Garden Plain Grade School and was a graduate of Erie High School in Erie, IL. He married Betty Jane Hetz on May 13, 1944 in Cordova, IL. Chuck engaged in farming in the Newton Township area in Whiteside County. Later he worked as a truck driver for VanZuiden Trucking and Farm Supply and Cardox.  He was a member First Baptist Church in Morrison and the Fulton City Lodge #189 AF & AM. Chuck enjoyed memorizing poetry, playing the guitar and keyboard, and telling funny stories. The greatest joy in Chuck’s life was travelling and spending time with his family. Chuck never met a stranger.

Survivors include his wife, Betty; twin daughters, Linda (Dick) Adams of Morrison and Rita (Donnie) Barker of Davenport, IA; one son, Robert Horn of Conroe, TX; nine grandchildren, Randy (Deb) Adams, Rick (Stephanie Mason) Adams, Kathi (Mike) Krall, Tim (Teri) Adams, Terri (Oliver) Stanford, Brandon (Karla) Barker, Tom (Michele) Barker, Nathan (Courtney) Barker, Lori Olea; twenty-six great grandchildren; six great-great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Paul Horn.

I Love You This Much…


For Grace’s graduation open house, I asked my mom to make some Swedish pancakes and biscotti for her breakfast-themed party. I had no idea the undertaking that was going to be.  My mom and her twin sister, Linda, made 300 pancakes and 10 pounds of biscotti.

People were delighted to try something that most people don’t regularly eat. I was delighted because there were leftovers. Let me know if you want the recipe–they are amazing!