HJ/EDJune 5, 2006

Painting preserves local church history

By Liz Hellmann
Staff Writer

Historic buildings often provide a window to the past, but a small, brick church north of Waverly keeps the memory of John “Jack” Bodin in the present.

Above the double doors leading into the church is displayed a painting that replicates a stained glass window, in memory of Bodin.

Bodin was a Wright County Sheriff’s Deputy before he lost his battle with cancer a year ago.

“Jack was a very caring, religious person,” Joan Bauernschmitt of Montrose, Bodin’s sister, said.

When Bodin’s family members wanted to do something in memory of him, the Marysville Swedesberg Lutheran Church, located on County Road 9, seemed like the logical opportunity.

The church, originally built in 1891, has been undergoing renovation projects since the 1970s.

“They called and asked if there was something they could do,” Dick Mattson of Buffalo, who is working on a committee to help restore the church, said.

At the time, Mattson was working with Angela Lachermeier of Waverly to paint a new cover above the entrance to the church. The painting is designed to look like a stained glass window.

“I told the Bodin family about that, and they moved forward with it,” Mattson said.

The painting, and the building, hold significance for the family because Bodin’s father, Walter, had been very involved with restoring the church in the 1970s.

He even worked alongside Mattson’s dad to help restore the church.

“My father lived in that area all his life, and all our uncles and aunts went to church out there,” Bauernschmitt said.

Bodin and his sisters also attended church there when they were younger, but Bauernschmitt isn’t sure how Bodin would take to a painting in his honor.

“I’m sure he would be honored, but he would wonder what all the fuss was about,” Bauernschmitt said.

The painting in honor of Bodin is one of many steps being taken to restore the Marysville church, which now only meets Monday nights in June, July, and August.

The church was originally founded by a few families from Sweden in 1869. Regular services were discontinued in 1950, and most members joined Zion Evangelical Lutheran in Buffalo.

“We are just trying to keep the church as a part of our history,” Mattson said.

Along with that history will always be kept safe the memory of Bodin, whenever a family or friend drives past the church, or stops in for one of its summer services.

“We are hoping to have a dedication service (for the painting) one of those nights,” Mattson said.

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