by Executive Director Joel Landskroener
Fifty-nine years ago, “Carver County Lutheran High School” was founded on the farm of Curtis and Arlys Honebrink. Since 1961, “Mayer Lutheran High School” grew into a vibrant Christian ministry with 3,500 graduates serving God and man throughout the world.
The founders of our school were courageous and far-sighted. Led by Pastor John Melchert, the earliest leaders of Mayer Lutheran High School guided the school with prayerful diligence and faithful courage, even pledging their own personal assets to purchase the property where our campus rests today. A handful of the founders are living. The rest are with Jesus.
Recently, I came across the Articles of Incorporation for the “Carver County Lutheran High School Association.” At the end of the document, the very first Board of Directors is listed. It includes names you may know: Oswald J. Hoese, John E. Melchert, N.F. Noennig, B.A. Pettersen, and Edgar F. Ziegler, D.D.S. I have been blessed to personally know two of those members, Bernie Pettersen and Dr. Ziegler. Truly blessed, indeed! This past year, Bernie and “Doc” entered heaven.
I attended the funeral of Doc Ziegler. He was only 29 years old when he signed on as a founder of Mayer Lutheran. As a veteran, having served in the U.S. Army Dental Corp from 1954-56, the American flag draped his coffin. He was a dentist, both in private practice and as a Professor of Dentistry at the University of Minnesota, where he played football. He was Mayor of Chaska. He and his wife, Ruth, raised two amazing boys who graduated from MLHS and now live in Nebraska near their mom.
Like the other founders, Doc Ziegler had a passion for Christian education. He served Mayer Lutheran in multiple roles through the years. His many trips from his Chaska home to Mayer were a minor inconvenience compared to the mighty work he felt called to do in raising the next generation of Christian leaders. His work took on a sense of eternal urgency. Preparing Christian leaders was just too important to neglect!
Doc’s love for Christian education was amazing. He wrote his own funeral service with the
care and precision that we came to expect. He made sure it was a teaching moment. The sermon was based on the Six Chief Parts of the Small Catechism of Dr. Martin Luther. Attendees were instructed in the Christian faith in Scripture, preaching, and song. Even though Doc was no longer alive on earth, he made sure we would be taught about Jesus one more time. The funeral is now past, but his teaching continues in the ministry at Mayer he helped found and lead.
Each Mayer Lutheran student is the recipient of a gift more precious than gold—a gift left to them by the founders long before they were born. At a time when the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His saving work on the cross is absent in so many parts of our society, be assured that it is alive and well and intentionally taught and lived each and every day at “Carver County Lutheran High School.” The Gospel drives us to do so. Doc made sure of that!