John I. Hagen, age 84 years old. Died peacefully at home April 12, 2016. He was preceded in death by his parents Clara and Iver Hagen. Survived by his loving wife of 60 years Kathryn and his four children Nathan (Jean), Boston, Massachusetts; Anne (Stuart), Danville, Kentucky; Carrie (Mike), Mendota Heights, Minnesota and Matt (Jodi), St. Paul, Minnesota and grandchildren Katie, Maddie, RJ, Jack, Jake, Shahen and Nazeli. Also survived by siblings Mary Jo Lindeberg, Karl (Linda) Hagen and Paul Hagen and numerous nieces and nephews.
John was born in Osceola, Wisconsin in 1931. He graduated from St. Olaf College in 1953 and went on to attend Luther Seminary in St. Paul. He married his college sweetheart in June of 1955 and they travelled together to Los Angeles California where he served his internship at Our Savior Lutheran Church. It was a honeymoon year for the pair taking in the foreign land that was southern California. John was ordained in his family’s ancestral church in rural Polk County, West Emmanuel Lutheran in June of 1957. They took their first parish assignment in tiny Capron, Illinois where they welcomed two children and took possession of the newly built parsonage. In 1962 they moved to Sheboygan, Wisconsin where John served St. Andrews Lutheran Church as its sole clergyman for 12 years. In Sheboygan, they welcomed two more children and John was active in the church and the community serving as the president of the local school board. John also started one of his favorite ministries at nearby Terry Andrae State Park’s Chapel in the Pines, an outdoor service for campers that grew from a handful of worshipers to hundreds filling the benches in front of the rough-hewn cross. In 1974, the family moved west to Platteville, Wisconsin where John served Peace Lutheran Church. Through his efforts, the congregation built The House of Peace, elder housing on the churches property. While in Platteville, John completed his coursework for a Doctorate of Divinity at Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa but demands of work and family kept him from completing his thesis. The Hagens left Platteville in 1980 for a call to Faith Lutheran Church in Janesville, Wisconsin. There John undertook a similar effort to build senior housing on church property and update the church’s interior and install stained glass windows. John became involved in Kiwanis in Janesville and enjoyed the opportunity to volunteer in the community. John was a well-recognized sports booster in Janesville, never missing any event in which his youngest son Matt participated, but in the years after Matt graduated, John could still be seen on the sidelines cheering on young athletes from his church and the community. John retired in 1996 after 40 years of ministry. Both before and after his retirement, John was actively involved in hospice ministries acting as the chaplain for the Mercy Hospital Hospice program.
John took great pride in his family and their accomplishments, traveling to every opportunity to celebrate a graduation, birth or new home. He also enjoyed travel with Kathryn to visit their ancestors in Norway and touring Germany, Italy and France. He and Kathryn also enjoyed short and long trips in the US to visit many old friends and explore new places. In 2003, John and Kathryn moved to Hudson to be closer to family (though John didn’t want to leave Wisconsin and his beloved Packers and Badgers). They found the transition made easy by the welcoming people of Bethel Lutheran Church and their lovely new neighborhood in Red Cedar Canyon. John will be remembered for his endless patience, his unwavering faith in the Packers, his bottomless appetite (even for lutefisk), his snippets of advice, his stubbornness and his shocking endurance. And his unfailing love of God, his wife and his family.
Services will be held Saturday, April 30, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at Bethel Lutheran Church – Highlands Campus, 504 Frontage Road, Hudson, Wisconsin. Visitation to be held one hour prior to the service. Luncheon and fellowship following the service. Memorials preferred to Luther Seminary, St. Olaf College or West Immanuel Lutheran Church. Services entrusted to the O’Connell Family Funeral Home of Hudson, WI. (715) 386-3725