Farewell blessings

News | May 9, 2024

A few goodbyes were shared around St. Paul as two staff members embarked on new journeys. St. Paul social worker and counselor Angie Vaaler is relocating this month and groundskeeper Harris Schneekloth retired in April after more than 30 years at St. Paul.

Farewell to Angie Vaaler
In 2015, St. Paul had an exciting idea: an on-staff social worker to help serve St. Paul people, Madison families, and the greater community. In 2018, Angie Vaaler, the first St. Paul social worker/counselor, helped bring that idea to life. Angie has spent the past five and a half years guiding clients through difficult times. Now, Angie is in a transition time of her own as she says farewell to St. Paul and hello to her next adventure.

Angie always seemed to find her way back to St. Paul, even with the 11 moves she and her family have made over the years. She and her family first arrived in the Quad Cities and to St. Paul in 1997, later returning once again just nine years ago. Her time on staff grew out of an idea and some thoughtful conversations.

“We had just moved back from overseas and I was looking to return to work. I was working on getting my licensure reactivated and I had some conversations with Peter Marty about the position,” Angie said. “Those conversations evolved into the social worker position that is here now.”

The Quad Cities is the longest “stop” Angie and her family have made, staying in the Quad Cities for around nine years. There is a lot Angie will miss about the community.

“St. Paul is a unique place. Given all the places we’ve lived, the vitality, the offerings, and the commitment to different ministries is what makes St. Paul special,” Angie said. “We will miss the Quad Cities. There aren’t many places you can go to watch a baseball game or a concert in the park with a river view. We love the caliber of the Quad Cities Symphony. And a good cup of coffee.”

Blessings in retirement to Harris Schneekloth
Early in the 90s, Harris Schneekloth found his way to St. Paul. At the time, Harris owned a cleaning company and was contacted to clean the St. Paul building. Before long, he was hired as the building supervisor. More recently, he’s shown loving care and dedication in his upkeep of the St. Paul campus as the groundskeeper. Often seen mowing, raking, watering, and mulching, nothing stops Harris and his work ethic. But now, after celebrating his 80th birthday last August, Harris is looking to the next phase of his life.

There are more than 30 years of memories, stories, and anecdotes to share about his time at St. Paul and the church has experienced much change in those years. Converting the parsonage into offices for pastoral residents, building the new sanctuary, shoveling snow on Christmas Eve with his sons (before St. Paul had a snowblower!), and Harris has a story for each one.
In a 1998 Journey story, Harris was asked what he looks for in help around the building. His response? “I want somebody who feels that this is their home.” It’s clear how much St. Paul is home to Harris and how great a change it is to step away from staff and settle fully into congregational life.

For those more than 30 years, Harris drove from his home in Durant, Iowa to his work home here in Davenport every day.

“I drove 30 minutes each way every day and I never had a day where I thought ‘I wish I didn’t have to come to work today.’ Even on early Sunday mornings or during the winters,” Harris said. “There was never a day I didn’t enjoy coming to St. Paul. It’s the personalities of the people on staff and in the congregation.”

People. It’s a recurring word throughout Harris’ stories. The people of St. Paul made a great impact on Harris’ life and Harris has left a lasting mark on St. Paul.

One comment on “Farewell blessings”

  • Becky Morgan

    May 9, 2024 at 5:47 pm

    I remember you, and want to thank you for all you’ve done. In addition to professional cleaning, we have TLC at my current church every other Friday morning, for volunteers. My last job was to clean a black streak on the floor, made by another volunteer who dragged a chair! Your work is under appreciated, ha ha! Happy retirement! Becky Morgan

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