Regarding Rev Eldor Mickan and Other Things

The following is an email conversation between Charles Wukasch and Dave Goeke about Eldor Mickan and other things following the announcement that Eldor Mickan had died.

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Announcement: Rev. Eldor Mickan (Emeritus, Bulverde), grandfather of Rev. Paul Goeke (CrossPoint, Katy), Rev. Aaron Goeke (Messiah, Boerne) and Rev. Tab Ottmers (Immanuel, Fairview), was called home to Jesus, September 17, 2018 at the age of 101.

Visitation was held Friday, September 21, 5-8:00 pm at Mission Park Stone Oak Funeral Home, 23645 US Highway 281N, San Antonio, TX 78258. His memorial service was Saturday, September 22, 11 am, at Cross Lutheran Church, 2171 E Common, New Braunfels, 78130. A reception followed the service at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 29797 US Highway 281, Bulverde, TX 78163

We remember Maria and their extended family in prayer, and celebrate the victory we all have in Jesus.

David Goeke: I knew Eldor Mickan very, very well. You see, he was my former father-in-law. In point of fact, however, I still consider him my father-in-law to this day…and always will. I owe him a GREAT debt of gratitude not only for being an exemplary Christian father-in-law, but also for having been a remarkable colleague, having served in the same congregation with him for some 14 years. I shall miss him greatly, but am rejoicing that he now stands in the presence of Jesus, his Savior. Eldor was proud of being Wendish. His grandfather, Johann Mickan, came to Texas in the 1860’s as I recall. His mother, Theresa Zoch, was descended from Johann Zoch, one of the original immigrants in 1854. Eldor was a man used by God to impact the lives of many. After graduating from Concordia Seminary, Springfield, he was called to serve as a missionary to Argentina. He learned to speak fluent Spanish. This is remarkable because he already spoke fluent German (having been raised with that language in Copperas Cove, Texas), and, naturally, he spoke fluent English. He married in Argentina to a German girl who had moved from Germany to there with her parents. After a few years, he was called to serve a Lutheran congregation in Alice, Texas. Finally, he was called to serve Mt. Olive Lutheran in San Antonio, where he served for 29 years. He then served at Trinity Lutheran in Corpus Christi. After retiring in Kingsland, Eldor and his wife, Maria, began a Bible study in their home. From that small Bible study was born Genesis Lutheran in Kingsland. Eldor could preach just as easily in Spanish and German as he could in English. He was a humble man….and a giant servant of God.

Charles Wukasch: I recall that Mrs. Koepsell, the wife of one of my teachers, and the principal of, at Trinity Lutheran School in Austin (the school burned down several decades ago and the church didn’t reinstitute it) was a Mickan.

David Goeke: Charles, you made mention of Arnold Koepsell. It may be of interest to you to know that his wife, Lorine, was a first cousin to Eldor Mickan. And like you, Mr. Koepsell was also my teacher. What is really an odd twist, however, is the fact that Mr. Koepsell was also Eldor Mickan’s elementary school teacher in Copperas Cove, Texas. So, when Eldor and I worked with each other in San Antonio, we could truthfully tell folks that we both had the same teacher in elementary school. That wouldn’t be altogether odd except for the fact that Eldor was 31 years older than I.

Speaking of Mr. Koepsell, I had the great honor of serving as one of the pallbearers at his funeral. What a blessing. And, Eldor Mickan preached his funeral sermon. I did an audio interview with Mr. Koepsell prior to his death. Just a remarkable man! His very first call was to Copperas Cove, Texas, as THE teacher and principal, grades 1-8, and the church organist….not to mention having to start the fire in the wood stove in both the school and the church in the winter. His starting salary was $400.00 a year, but when the District President learned of this, he appealed to the congregation on behalf of Mr. Koepsell and the congregation raised the salary to $700.00 per year. Oh, and lest we forget, Koepsell got some “perks.” His final call (handwritten in German), after offering the $700.00 per year reads as follows: “Wasser, nebst Feuerung und Futter für das nötige Vieh,” which being translated means “water, heat (meaning wood for the stove), and feed for the necessary cattle.

Charles Wukasch: Yes, I was at the service and remember Rev. Mickan’s sermon. I also sadly remember that I had dropped by University Lutheran Church over in the UT campus area. I mentioned to Mrs. Born (Rev. Born’s wife – she served as his administrative assistant) that someday I’d look up Mr. Koepsell and say hello. She said, “You’d better make it quick – he’s in the hospital with cancer.” That same day, or maybe the next – I can’t recall all the details, I did go over to visit him. We just had a short talk since he was in his final days. He passed away a couple of days later.

Moral of story – Never put off visiting with loved ones, friends, colleagues, etc. As Grandma Wukasch (née Hannusch) used to say, “Tomorrow never comes.”

Dave Goeke: Back to Eldor, I’ve known few men like him. I remember him telling me once, “David, you have the gift of preaching. I have to work at it.” Well, this was one time when he was clearly wrong. His messages always properly distinguished between Law and Gospel…and believe me, he so stressed the Gospel. He led many people to Jesus. He was a man whose private life and public life were the same. I spent hours and hours with him and can say that without question.

Charles Wukasch: On my maternal (non-Wendish) side, my grandmother told me about an interesting tradition some churches had to help out the pastor. It was called “pounding the preacher.” I don’t know if it was once a year, or how often, but the largely rural congregation would bring the pastor and his family a pound of something: sausage, vegetables, etc. A pound of eggs? LOL

I’m sure many people brought more than a pound.

I also remember someone telling me that in Concordia’s early days, farmers in the Austin area would donate food items, like a big sack of potatoes, a number of links of sausage, etc. to help out the school. I imagine those hungry teenage boys appreciated that! Teenage boys are always hungry. Believe it or not, I was once a teenage boy.

Dave Goeke: Ich wünsche euch alles Gute…und seid Ihr alle Gott befohlen. (I wish you all the best…and for  you to be commended to God.)

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Posted in Dave's Corner.

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