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Remembering Ruth Hicks

Remembering Ruth Hicks…

Nearly thirty-five years ago, Ruth Hicks introduced herself to me at a conference. A discussion ensued and I found out she was a friend of Sharon Wilson and Nola Brunelle who were on staff at our school, New Life Christian Academy. Little by little, I drew out of her that she was not only an evangelist but also an accomplished musician—both in voice and piano. That fall, we welcomed her on our staff where she assisted the classroom supervisors, taught piano, and directed vocal ensembles for almost four years. Ruth was humble yet a tremendous encourager with deep spiritual roots and amazing biblical wisdom—a gifted lady. She loved her daughters and her grandchildren sacrificially with a godly fervor. For several years now, she has been singing in Heaven around the Throne.

One time Ruth was invited to go to California to speak. She had a train ticket, a box of crackers and peanut butter, and water–her only food all the way there. En route to the train station for her return trip to Michigan they asked her if she needed anything. She said she had to tell the truth: No she didn’t NEED anything. They had taken care of her lodging and meals while she was there. She had a return train ticket and leftover crackers and peanut butter. When she arrived home, she was rejoicing that she had been given the opportunity to share the gospel and that was recompense enough for her.

Ruth composed many original songs. On several occasions, she spontaneously wrote a song in response to my husband’s (Pastor Karl) message. I (Yvonne) have an audio of her singing several of these songs which I will try to get on youtube. So check back again later.

Click on her name for the lyrics to “Ordinary Person.”  Ruth Ariston Hicks 

Click on her name for a note to Yvonne reflecting her positive spirit.  Ruth Hicks

Below: Ruth with her piano students, and with Kindergarten students in the 1980’s.

JULIUS EWALD KARL: Stories from his life

JEK: Julius E. Karl’s Life in Photos – click here:

JEK: The story of His Life from Birth to Marriage

“Till death do us part” came in January 1999 after 31 years and 2 months of marriage ending Julius’ nearly 14-year fight with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Since that time, I [Yvonne] have chosen to focus on the positive and spend the rest of my life praising God for His mercy and grace. I take to heart the Apostle Paul’s words: A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes … In [Paul’s] judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is–and I think that I, Paul, also have the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 7:39-40).

Thank You Heavenly Father for bringing Julius and me through 31 years of marriage “to have and to hold, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health” till death parted us in this life. Thank You for Your grace that was greater than all of our problems and for faith in You that held us together till the end. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

November 24, 2017, we would have celebrated our 50th Anniversary, and in his honor and memory, here is the story of his life from birth to marriage. It’s a story of overcoming hardship inflicted by war, living in four different countries, pursuing education to the highest degree and, through it all, loving and serving God, the Father of Jesus Christ.

Special thanks goes to Julius’ youngest sister Frieda, for contributing her written memories of the Karl Family’s life and for verifying specific dates and events. Some of the information was written and told by Julius himself before he died. Finally, Yvonne draws from stories Julius told over and over again to his family and friends. While somewhat in chronological order, there are overlapping stories and some repetition to bring clarity to the events.

Each chapter is short and listed separately below. It should open when you click on it.


JEK-Chapter 01-His Immediate Family

JEK-Chapter 02-A Child in Time of War

JEK-Chapter 03-The Faith of My Parents, written by Julius in 1988

JEK-Chapter 04-Youth, Education, and Christian Commitment

JEK-Chapter 05-Growing Up and War Comes, by Frieda Karl, youngest sister of Julius

JEK-Chapter 06-Escape to Freedom, by Frieda

JEK-Chapter 07-Leaving Germany for Canada

JEK-Chapter 08-College Bound in USA

JEK-Chapter 09-Julius seeks and finds a wife 

JEK-Chapter 10-How Julius met Yvonne-The CHOG Connection

JEK-Chapter 11-The Wedding and After

JEK The End of his life journey & Yvonne’s Story at the Tomb (Israel)-

JEK: Julius E. Karl’s Life in Photos –

JEK-Chapter 12-Short Stories from Julius

JEK-Dissertation Abstract IU – for PHD 1974

Papers Julius wrote for B. A. Classes in 1965

JEK AutoBio 01-65

JEK AutoBio 06-65

JEK-My Education 01-65






Tribute to Wally Holz (June 2014)

Wally and Heidi    (As written by Yvonne for Wally Holz’s Celebration of Life service on Saturday, June 14, at 11am, Dodge Park Church of God, Sterling Heights, Michigan. Wally went home to be with Jesus suddenly on his birthday, June 8th, 2014. He was 71 years old.)

Good Morning. I am unable to be here today, but I was asked to make some comments about Wally. I am the wife of the late Julius Karl a cousin to Heidi, therefore a cousin to Wally. I am Yvonne Karl.

Wally and Heidi have been dear friends of mine for almost 50 years and are like brother and sister to me. I’m sure many of you feel the same way. We were like magnets to him and he made every one of us feel as special as the next one. We’ve been through a lot together, and there’s no end to the stories we could tell.

As most of you know, Wally was sensitive to the needs of people and found it difficult to say no when they needed help. He took Jesus’ words seriously and looked after the widows. I know, because I am one. At his request, I made a “Wally-do” list and each spring when he and Heidi came to visit, he asked for my list and went about completing each item and checking it off. Then he would say, “Is that all?”

Last March when they visited me at my home in Las Vegas, I had an injury and wasn’t able to walk far. Wally pushed me in a wheel chair so I could go with him and Heidi and Erika to see the sights. Because he had a little trouble hearing, he would stop the chair, step around in front of me, and get on one knee so he could talk and hear my response. At one point, Heidi snapped a picture. We laughed at the potential headline.

Wally also looked after orphans–like my daughter Caroline (and some of you here today).“In many ways,” she writes, “Onkel Wally took on fatherly responsibilities after my own dad died. When I bought my house, he taught me how to mow the lawn since I’d never used a mower before. He spent hours on the phone late at night talking me through the steps of installing a ceiling fan. He reassured me I wouldn’t electrocute myself if I followed his instructions exactly—he was right. He also gave great financial advice. He was a giving, sensitive, and jovial man who strove to be Christ-like in every area of his life.” I can sense many of you saying, “Yes. That was Wally!”

Wally’s integrity—his UNwillingness to lie; his determination to be honest—caused him to be slandered and persecuted; but God who knew his heart, saw him through and blessed him abundantly. With tears in his eyes, Wally talked about how good God had been to him. His heart was overwhelmed with love for Jesus and Jesus’ love for him.

He was so proud of his children, Heidi Lynn, Anita & Mike, and Richard & Helen—each one successful in life—but most important to him was that they continued to be disciples of Jesus Christ. When he spoke of his grandchildren, he unconsciously squared his shoulders and flashed a big smile. Obviously, his grandchildren were the best.

When he spoke of his wife, he beamed with love. After they retired, He still enjoyed getting dressed up and going out with her—whether to church, to a restaurant, or on a cruise. “Whatever you’d like, Heidi,” he was heard to say—and he meant it. She was the apple of his eye and he lavished her with gifts. Really, he spoiled her. I remember one Thanksgiving he had placed a very special gift in a place he thought she might find it easily and open it in the presence of the guests gathered for dinner. When she seemed not to notice it, he called me aside and gave me directions. I went to the gift and called to her: “Heidi, what is this?” She came quickly, saw it was for her, and nervously opened it while he stood back to enjoy her reaction. Some of you were there and remember that moment. He loved Heidi from the moment he met her and that love never waned.

When they came to visit me in Las Vegas, Wally never failed to have a Bible question for discussion. One of our many topics was death and dying. He had no fear of death and said He was ready to meet Jesus anytime but he wondered what it would be like. Well, now he knows! He has crossed over the timeline that divides earth and heaven. There is no clock or calendar in heaven. Before we know it, we’ll be joining him in the Presence of our Savior. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord…for they rest from their labors…” (Rev.14:13). God has taken Wally’s mortal body and given him a glorious body like his own” (Philippians 3:21a).

Heidi, many people express sorrow for your loss, but you didn’t lose Wally. You got separated from him, but you know where he is. Jesus has received Wally into his heavenly home, but He also knows your heartache and pain at having your husband torn away from you. He weeps with you just as He wept with Mary and Martha over Lazarus’ death. He’s aware that there is huge empty spot in your life now. Fifteen years ago, I faced this void: a future without my husband. At that time, I grabbed onto the awareness that “because Jesus lives, I can face tomorrow.” I can tell you after 15 years, that Jesus still comforts and strengthens the widows. He often does it through other people—like He did through Wally. You are loved, and you will not be left alone.

Having said that, If Wally were here today and could speak to this assembly, he might well say: Family and Friends, King David reminds us in 1 Samuel 20 verse 3: “There’s only one step between all of us and death.” Be ready at all times to take that step for it might come when you least expect it—just as it did for me. Then he might quote the lyrics to the old Church of God hymn by Charles Naylor, to remind us that The future lies unseen ahead…It holds I know not what;
 But still I know I need not dread…For Jesus fails not. So follow Him with rejoicing;
 He will safely lead you to your eternal home—as he has me.

Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, thank You for the life of my dear cousin Wally–husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend. Thank You for his convictions and ideals, his influence and labors, and his dedication and love for Christ and his family. We rejoice to remember how he met with You each day in the pages of Your Word. Thank You that he has fought the good fight of faith and You have welcomed him to his eternal home. We commit his wife and family to your care and comfort. May they remember and cherish Wally’s life of discipleship and his love for them. Let them feel your Presence as You strengthen them by your power in the days ahead. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

Picture Below: at Wally & Heidi’s house in Farmington Hills, Michigan, 1998.

Wally 2

Comments by my daughter Caroline on picture above: In memory of three men who played a significant role in my life: Onkel Wally (center) who died early today (June 8, 2014) on what would have been his 71st birthday. Onkel Willi (left) who died in January 2014. And my dad (right) who died in 1999. Ich vermisse euch…  Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints – Psalm 116.15

Below: Wally’s Family the night before his Celebration of Life service. 13 June 2014

L to R: Daughter, Heidi Lynn; Son, Richard; Grandson Devin (Richard’s son); Daughter-in-law, Helen (Richard’s wife); Son-in-law, Mike (Anita’s husband); Daughter, Anita; Grandson, Justin (Anita’s son).

Front Row: Granddaughter, Monique (Richard’s daughter); Heidi Karl Holz (Wally’s wife of 48 1/2 years); Granddaughter, Breanna (Anita’s daughter)

Holz Family




It’s Shoutin’ time for Jessie Kirk

Click on the title below to read my memories of Jessie.

Jessie Kirk’s Shoutin’ Time

The Karl and Jones Story

Retired pastor/counselor Dr. Jerry & Jean Jones were in our wedding 46 years ago. The following article was written when they returned home to Indianapolis after spending a week in Las Vegas with me in April 2013. To see some pictures and read about our story, click on the title below:

Karl-Jones Story 0413


Remembering the Santrocks

Remembering John and Ruth Santrock

At 2PM tomorrow, September 2, 2012, at the First Baptist Church in Nitro, friends and family will be celebrating Ruth’s life and saying good-bye. When I was in high school, John was my principal and Ruth was the office secretary. She continually looked past my insecurities and encouraged and affirmed me.

Out of thousands of students under John Santrock’s leadership as Principal, I am one of those who can trace the joy of my professional life back to him. It was his recommendation that secured for me the WV Legislature’s Teacher Training Scholarship that paid my college expenses. Without it, I would not have been able to complete college when I did, if at all. (See photo below.)

When I graduated from college early three years later, he gave me my first teaching job at my alma mater, Nitro High School. After three years of teaching, with his recommendation and encouragement, I left the comfort and familiarity of that job, my family, my friends, my town, and my church and moved to Michigan to complete graduate school. That was the beginning of the rest of my life story. I am deeply grateful for my dear principal, Mr. Santrock, who expressed an unwavering faith in my abilities and aspirations.

He died in September four years ago at age 89, and his dear wife Ruth’s funeral is tomorrow, September 2, 2012. Theirs was a love story—raising a son and a daughter, and influencing thousands with their compassion and unabashed devotion to each other and to Christ. His was a story of bravery in war: shot, imprisoned, escaped, and awarded a Purple Heart.

For those—especially from my hometown Nitro and home county Kanawha—who might be interested in reading more about the Santrocks, check out this article written by their granddaughter after his death:  You can also find a list of their son’s published books on (John W. Santrock).

Read more about their life here:

John –

Ruth –

Photo: Mr. Santrock presenting me (Yvonne) the Board of Legislature scholarship at our awards ceremony, May 1958.

In loving memory of Gus Hassenrik

Gus is home with Jesus

On February 7, 2012, Gus heard the doctor say that he had cancer in his pancreas and liver, and on March 17, 2012 he left earth for his home with Jesus. Gus was 84 and still looked like he did when I met him nearly 35 years ago. He and Diane have been diligent to walk every day and eat healthy all the years I’ve known them. This year in May they would have celebrated their 47th anniversary. Between them they have seven children, plus one adopted child, 22 grandchildren, and 22 great grandchildren—more now since this article was written.  Their testimony is one of being totally transformed by the grace of God.

Both had failed marriages early in their life and Gus was a confirmed alcoholic. But they encountered the true and living God and their lives were changed for eternity. What AA did not do for Gus, Jesus did; and, as he testified, in an instant he was delivered from alcohol addiction. Since then, he and Diane spent their lives helping others. Although he rarely mentioned it, he was ordained as a minister by his pastor at the Lord’s House in the 1970’s.

While doing prison ministry they met a pregnant lady who asked them to take her baby at birth and raise her. Their consent did not come easy. By this time, they had raised their seven children and all were married and had families of their own. They cried out to God for His leading and, after dying to self, they agreed. Baby Willetta was born prematurely. She was kept in the NICU for several weeks then released to Gus and Diane. When Willetta was just over a year old, her birth mother was released from prison and Gus and Diane brought her to live with them. Within a short time, she ran back to her former life and ended back up in prison. After a while, Gus and Diane were granted permanent custody of Willetta and finally when she was 12 years old, they were permitted to finalize her adoption. What a happy, happy girl. She loves her parents so much; and Jesus is more than life to her. She is a blessing to her family, her friends, and her church. She graduated from Teen Mania Honor Academy in Texas and spent some time on a mission trip to China.

Over their 46 years of marriage, Gus and Diane continued to be active in church, Bible Studies, and volunteering time for miscellaneous jobs that needed to be done around the church as well as for numerous people at home. His hobby was carving small crosses out of wood and making them into necklaces that he gave away. Many of us had the privilege of spending some time with them in the summer at their cottage in the Upper Peninsula.

If ever a man loved a woman and a woman loved a man, it was Gus and Diane. They did everything together after he retired. They fasted every Thursday for their children. They were on the lookout for people they could help—especially the less fortunate. They brought joy wherever they went.

Thank You Jesus for the life of Gus and Diane Hassenrik. We’ve all been touched by You through their lives. Give us more couples like them! Thank You for the strength and grace you give to Diane as she continues to bring glory to You on this journey of life without her husband.


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