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Pastor calls on his hometown

Rev. David Strang with his wife Donnsurrounded by their eight grandchildren. The phowas taken Grant Park Cancer Survivor Garden Chicago

Rev. David Strang with his wife Donna, surrounded by their eight grandchildren. The photo was taken in the Grant Park Cancer Survivor Garden in Chicago, where Strang officiated at the wedding of his niece, whose husband is a cancer survivor. | Special to Sun-times Media

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Reunion details

The Rev. David Strang will lead the invocation for the Waukegan High School Class of 1962’s 50th reunion to be held beginning at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Glen Flora Country Club in Waukegan. Classmates are invited to the 10 a.m. Sunday service at St. John’s, 1520 N. McAree Road, Waukegan, and for the ice cream social to follow at 11 a.m. For more information on the reunion, call John Schwab at (847) 662-6253.

Updated: November 20, 2012 1:38AM

WAUKEGAN — The Rev. David Strang, who has fond memories of growing up in Waukegan, could not have guessed that in his retirement he would return to his hometown to ply his trade.

“There is an old saying among clergy,” Strang, 68, said. “Old Ministers never retire, they just go out to ‘pastor.’”

Strang has served for the past year as interim pastor at St. John’s United Church of Christ, 1520 N. McAree Road, making the drive from his home in northwest suburban Huntley.

A 1962 graduate of Waukegan High School, Strang was raised a Lutheran and ordained a Lutheran minister. He attended Augustana College, Harvard Divinity school and Northern Michigan University, earning advanced degrees in theology and higher education administration.

Over the span of 20 years he served as dean of students at three church-related colleges: Suomi in Michigan, Lakeland in Sheboygen, Wis., and North Park in Chicago. During 20 more years, he was engaged in full-time UCC parish ministry. He currently teaches courses in ethics and world religions at McHenry County College.

“I’ve been able to do the things I love, ministry and teaching,” Strang said.

As a specially trained “intentional” UCC minister, Strang helps parishes in transition. His last interim pastorate at a church in Lake Geneva, Wis., lasted four years.

“St. John’s is a small church with a big heart,” Strang said. “It’s wonderfully diverse, a true reflection of Waukegan. They’re a wonderful group. They take care of each other.”

Since arriving back in Waukegan, Strang has reached out to the people from his past, retired Trinity Lutheran Pastor Willard Blomquist, the former Miss Hershberger, his high school English teacher, who insisted her students memorize poetry including Lord Byron’s “The Destruction of Sennacherib,” the first stanza which Strang can still rattle-off and that references cohorts “gleaming in purple and gold” — WHS colors. And he has embraced the memories: The W Shop, the W Club, the words to the school’s fight song, penned by his own great aunt, Jesse Strang.

“At my age, with time running out, I want to continue making a point to contact people who have been meaningful in my life before it is too late,” said Strang, who on Saturday will attend another communion — his high school class reunion.

“After 50 years, we can still break bread together.” he said.

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