My father, Boyd Blumer, started from humble beginnings. The farm where he grew up was modest, farming less than one section of land to feed a family of seven. He began his education in a one-room school house that he walked or rode horse to and from (allegedly in waist deep snow, uphill, in 80 mph winds) each day. Worship and the life of the community was a simple, white clapboard church on the prairie. He was the first in his family to attend college. First to become ordained as a pastor.
My father was a product of deeply religious parents and a supportive family and community. He moved away and moved on, but holds deep roots with both.
Dad started his ministry and family in a small town in North Dakota. Then moved south to serve in churches from some of the smallest to the largest (at the time) church in South Dakota. He was appointed as a District Superintendent and was the only one to complete a full six year term in the district. They finished their formal ministry by spending two years coordinating ministries on the Rosebud Reservation. From a tiny high school to Westmar College he went on to complete a Masters of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, IL and later a Doctorate of Ministry from McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL. Recently he was honored by Dakota Wesleyan University with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.
But here’s what you might not know:
- He is an avid fan of Charles Lindbergh. He told us kids that he always wanted to skydive, so for his 65th birthday we kids gave him a “put up or shut up” gift. He put up.
- Dad has a remarkable string of swear words that he says when really frustrated, usually during a home improvement project. It is a very repeatable pattern of words for us kids, but probably not a good idea to print them.
- Boyd published a couple books, the most formal was Parables of a Country Preacher. When people ask if dad taught me to write, I say no, he taught me I have a voice.
- He worked on the DWU maintenance department for years. The one quote I’ll always remember is, “I’ve been in ministry for over 50 years and think I’ve done some good. But it is very satisfying, at the end of the day, to see a door fixed or piece of sheetrock patched or plumbing repaired. To put your hands on something tangible.”
- His nickname in college was Pinky, named after blooomers.
- He likes to fix things. Most of the time they “will last forever, but look like hell.”
- Dad made a sailboat out of wood and fiberglass. The canvas sail didn’t work very well, but the adapted parachute worked marvelously. We made a pool table, intricate box kites, and a table out of cardboard, but never quite finished the horse collar mirror. He always had something in the works.
- Went to Liberia & Ghana in West Africa on a culture and ministry program.
- As a full-time pastor he also was the director of camping for a period of time. He was largely responsible for a rustic camp at Lake Cochrane and the EUB camp at Big Stone Lake.
- In high school, dad and I played ping pong almost every day. He started beating me when he went out and bought an expensive paddle. But he really taught me that connecting with sons is best over activities.
- He combined the EUB and Methodist churches together in Clear Lake, SD, two years before the official 1968 merger, and therefore takes complete credit for the creation of the United Methodist Church.
- His parents came from different traditions. Grandpa was full-blood German, Grandma was full-blood Norwegian. It was a huge thing at the time, and now many people have only a vague idea of their heritage.
- At age 85, still preaches regularly and is asked to perform weddings and funerals. He is, in my opinion, an excellent preacher and I gauge others against his sermons.
- Dad has modeled well that it’s quite possible to be a humble servant of God and make a mark on this world.