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Fifty years, half a century; that is a long time to do anything. Unless, of course, you are passionate about what you do, in which case the years sail by. Fifty years ago last month, on June 15, 1958, The Rev. Harvey L. Kandler received his ordination at the church in which he he grew up, Ebenezer United Church of Christ in Chilton. On June 15, 2008 an anniversary celebration was held at Ebenezer to honor Rev. Kandler and to recall his many lifetime achievements. The host pastor that day was The Rev. Kathleen Gloff. The liturgist was fellow Lakeland alumnus The Rev. Vernon Jaberg '44, and the sermon was given by The Rev. Dr. Frederick Trost. With his family and extended community of friends and colleagues in attendance, it was a day for Rev. Kandler to remember the achievements of the past 50 years; to celebrate and be celebrated. In honor of this milestone occasion, his family recently had a sugar maple planted on the Lakeland College campus near the Ley Chapel.
Harvey Kandler was born in Chilton to Louis and Laura Kandler on August 13, 1933. From the time Harvey was a little boy and throughout his high school years, it was always his goal to become a minister. "My grandmother always said to me you should be a little minister, and my mother reinforced that throughout my childhood and youth."
After graduating from Chilton Public Schools, the young Kandler graduated from Lakeland College in 1955. In 1958, he graduated from Mission House Seminary with honors, receiving the award in Systematic Theology. His favorite teachers were Professors Voight, Schultz, and Hilgeman. He also lists Drs. Gunnemann, Krueger, Childs, Hessert, and Herzog for the important influence they had on his formative years.
Of the value of his education at Lakeland College and how it set him on his life's path, he writes: "It gave me a solid base in social studies and religion as well as opportunities to practice my skills of organization." His many extracurricular interests included drama, athletics, debate, and caravanning (visiting local and regional churches in fellowship teams to bring new ideas for service projects, programs, and worship). He also served as a dormitory officer, athletic equipment manager, and was a member of the Mu Lambda Sigma fraternity. This was one busy student!
Harvey Kandler's life did not slow down when he left the seminary. On June 1, 1957, he married Nancy Lee Hummitzsch of Sheboygan and they began a life together that would eventually include four children and now, four grandchildren. His first call was to St. John's UCC in western Nebraska, about 50 miles southwest of Lincoln. He remained there until 1963, when he returned to Wisconsin to serve at First Congregational UCC in Eagle River and at Community UCC in St. Germain. In 1970, Rev. Kandler was called to serve at Immanuel UCC in Kaukauna, and there he ministered for 31 years until his retirement in 2001.
Rev. Kandler's many achievements alongside his work in the church include a wide variety of activities and service to the community. He was the founding leader and is still the chair of Round House Manor, which provides affordable, dignified retirement options for those on a low income. In 2000, he was named the recipient of the Retirement Housing Foundation's Board Member of the Year Award, and just this year received his 25-year service pin for his work with Round House Manor. He worked for 42 years with UNICEF, 15 years with the Boy Scout program, led numerous trips to the Holy Land, and was a long-time member and past president of the Kaukauna Rotary Club. He received the prestigious Paul Harris Rotary Award in 1998. In February of this year, the Kaukauna Service Organization honored him with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Rev. Kandler has also been of service to Lakeland College over many years. He served on the Church Relations Board for seven years and the Alumni Association Board for six years, having been vice president and president of both groups. He was awarded the Alumni Silver Bowl in 1988. All of Rev. Kandler's four children have attended Lakeland College: Craig and Cindy (1983), Kim (1989), and Kris (1992). He is a member of the 1862 Society and frequently makes contributions in the form of memorials for Lakeland graduates or collegues that have died as a way of remembering them for their service to the college.
What are his happiest memories of Lakeland? "Chapel services, band concerts and tours, basketball events in the Old Gym and the Sheboygan Armory, football games in the Upper Peninsula and our own games on campus, especially those in the snow!" He writes that what he misses most about Lakeland is "the comraderie of the people that I went to school with for four years, plus three more in seminary, sharing life with them thoroughly." He fondly remembers gathering with clergy in the 1970s in the Appleton area once every couple months for a dinner and fellowship. He writes: "The very last thing we would do is sing the Mission House/Lakeland College Alma Mater. It was just a great experience to have six or eight alumni and even a few from Elmhurst and other schools sing the Alma Mater with us. Then, when one of our group, 93-year-old Rev. Ray Barz, ended up in a nursing home in Waupaca, Nancy and I would sing the Alma Mater with him when we would visit." Fortunately for Lakeland, Rev. Kandler has maintained his connection to the college in numerous ways, maintaining longstanding friendships and forging new ones over 50 years. Currently, Rev. Kandler is serving on the Sesquicentennial Committee to assist with the planning of the College's 150th birthday celebration coming in 2012.
If you would like to contact Rev. Kandler, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.