September 9 Greetings
Dear ones,

It’s Wednesday of another week as we continue to “Be Church Together” even as we are apart.
Gene Fougner, music director at Emmanuel Lutheran, was born in Williston, North Dakota, and grew up in Mile City, Montana, where his dad was a teacher and football coach who taught history and driver’s training. Gene’s mother was a concert pianist, and he has a brother who is a pharmacist in Fargo, ND, and a sister who died 8 years ago who was a third grade teacher and reading specialist.
Gene was raised Lutheran, especially influenced by his grandmother, but his experience of visiting a lot of different churches as a high school student really shaped his faith. Gene attended Concordia in Moorhead, Minnesota and received his undergraduate degree in Pre-professional Art and psychology.
While in college, he traveled with the Samoa Gospel Team, later called Fellow Workers I, to Western Samoa, spending a year learning the language and the culture. After his junior year, he was part of the Fellow Workers II team that traveled with two retired Lutheran missionaries and eight student musicians. Gene was percussionist and sang bass. The group recorded an album in Minneapolis and later recordings in nine languages. The group traveled one hundred thousand miles, raised $100 thousand, and reached one hundred thousand people. Fellow Workers II traveled for two years, performing in American Samoa, Western Samoa, Naru, Niue, Marshall Islands, Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Hawaii and the US. The group also learned native dancing—ask him about the mosquito dance!
Concordia University, St. Paul

When you attend Concordia University, you're more than just a student. You're part of the Concordia family. Our responsive, student-centered approach to teaching makes your goals, and your successes, our priority. Your learning experiences will...

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From college, Gene moved to Phoenix to work toward an Art Therapy degree. He arrived with just $100, a sheep dog and a plan, making a new start on his twenty-seventh birthday on January 27. The first Sunday there, he attended the Metropolitan Community Church, where he met Stuart, who helped Gene find housing and a job. Eventually, after six years in Phoenix and having found his soulmate in Stuart, they moved to Prescott so that Stuart could work in the library. They started a school, The Talent Center, where Gene taught tumbling, piano, woodwinds and singing, while Stuart ran the business end of things.
After fourteen years of decorating cakes at Safeway and other odd jobs, Gene volunteered at the VA in the occupational therapy department, which eventually led to a full-time job assisting patients in their art projects.
Once he gained some experience, he was able to get work at the Susan Rheem Center Adult Day Care (then called The Center) where he worked clients using poetry, ceramics, art, and entertainment.
Gene retired from his last position on April 1 after seventeen years as Instructor/Counselor for Educational Talent Search (ETS), arranging tours for children of colleges and field trips of cultural interest. The goal of ETS is to create a college-going culture for middle school and high school kids. His program had a 93% rate of placement of students into college with scholarships. ETS is part of a Federal Grant program with the Department of Education at Yavapai College, TRIO programs, and Gene will be doing some consulting for them in the near future.
Federal TRIO Programs

The Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO, also stylized as TRiO) are federal outreach and student services programs in the United States designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. They are administered,...

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Gene and Stuart have been together for thirty-eight years, and shared raising their son Isaac, who they adopted. Being approved for adoption and having a son has been one of the most exciting things to ever happen to them. Stuart retired two years ago after thirty years at the Prescott Valley Library, and previously at all three local libraries.
Music has always been a passion for Gene, and he has worked at four different local churches as music director, having been at Emmanuel since 2003 directing bells or choirs! Gene’s hobbies include swimming, gardening, writing music, outdoor activities, bike riding, and archery. Gene is always doing something…he doesn’t know how to sit still!
At one point they had a cabin cruiser boat at Lake Pleasant named Queen of the Desert. Stuart and Gene took care of Stuart’s parents for six years: opening their home to have them come and live with them in their last years.
Christmas is a big deal in their family, with lots of decorations (four days to decorate inside and out), and they entertain a lot during that time. Making lefse and korv (potato sausage) is part of their family traditions.
One fun fact: when Gene, Stuart and Isaac go out to eat in a restaurant, you will always find them playing cards. It used to help keep Isaac occupied while they waited—now it’s just fun!
A Bible verse today:
Honor everyone. Love the family of believers.
1 Peter 2:17a
Yours in Christ,
Pr Tricia

Emmanuel Lutheran Church
Prescott Valley, AZ
Emmanuel Lutheran Church

7763 E.Long Look
Prescott Valley, AZ 86314
PH (928) 772-4135 • FX (928) 759-3541