Harry D. Olthoff
has extensive experience in organizational development, psychotherapy,
church relations and marketing. His roots have imprinted him
with global experience, local practices and an overarching passion
for the growth of the church of God.
Harry’s education includes degrees from Calvin College,
the University of Michigan and a certificate of advanced study
from the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland. Prior to leadership
in East Iowa, Harry held the interim position of General Presbyter
in Eastern Virginia. He had previously consulted for Eli Lilly
Corporation on psycho-pharmaceuticals, the State of Michigan
on public healthcare issues, the US Navy on community building
and religious programming, the Academy of Music on strategic
planning, and numerous small businesses on strategies for growth
and development. While living in Virginia, he was certified
by the State Supreme Court as a mediator. In addition, Harry
has led agencies related to social justice addressing abused
and neglected children, juvenile offenders, and adults struggling
with drug additions and mental illnesses.
His passion for church growth began while growing up in a manse
in various rural and small towns throughout the Midwest; thus,
becoming sensitized to and viewing firsthand the need for and
the resources required to spread good news. As an elder, he
has provided leadership in inner city, suburban, and urban churches,
and in a new church development. Mission trips have taken him
to Honduras, Costa Rica, and Brazil, and a love of travel has
transported him to Europe and Africa as well. He lives with
his wife, Nancy, in Iowa City. They have parented three children.
attended San Francisco Theological Seminary, was ordained
and became a Presbyterian minister over fifty years ago. Upon
retirement he moved to Iowa to be closer to his grandchildren
and was received as a member of the Presbytery of East Iowa
He has served as Interim Pastor of three of our churches as
well as filling the pulpit at Sunday worship in 23 of the
presbytery’s 84 churches during the past nine years.
From 1995 through 1997 he was Recording Clerk of the presbytery,
was elected Stated Clerk in 2000 and re-elected in 2003. Experienced
on matters of procedure and the Book of Order, he is also
a wealth of information and knowledge on all things Presbyterian.
Dick’s pastimes include attending his grandchildren’s
sporting and concert events and reading mystery novels. He
and his wife Shirley live in Cedar Rapids.
Rev. Paul R. Skelley
is in his 36th year as the pastor of Union Presbyterian Church
in Lost Nation. He graduated in 1969 from the University of
Dubuque Theological Seminary, where he was recipient of the
Herbert E. Manning, Jr. Distinctive Service Award.
For the past 18 years he has been part of the all-volunteer
publishing staff of the weekly town newspaper, The Community
Scoop, (and people get a "scoopful" every week!") and has twice
been named as the Citizen of the Year in Lost Nation. He enjoys
flying kites, working jigsaw puzzles, gardening, movies at the
theater and eating peach pie. He and his wife Dottie's favorite
pastimes, though, are their grandson Noah and granddaughter Emma
Music and Liturgy Facilitator
began her worship leadership at age 13 as organist in a small,
rural Methodist Church in Ohio. Since then she has served as a
church musician in a variety of denominations from Episcopal to
Baptist, large church and small, throughout the midwest and the
south. However, she has spent the past 20 years living out her
call as a Presbyterian musician. In addition to her church work,
she spent over 30 years teaching private voice and piano. Before
moving to Iowa City, she taught college level vocal music in
Chicago and Georgia.
She is currently Director of Music and Liturgical Arts at First
Presbyterian Church in Iowa City where she supervises all
aspects of the music program, including choirs, brass,
orchestra, reader's theater, drama, liturgical art and dance
groups. Darlene's commitment to creating a worship environment
with liturgy and song that provides for a variety of responses
to the biblical narrative has been experienced at a number of
Presbytery Meeting worship services. Darlene also serves as the
Presbyterian Association of Musicians Eastern Iowa Regional
Darlene's husband, Marv, works as an editor at the State
Historical Society of Iowa, though his degrees are in church
history (Univ. of Chicago with Martin Marty as advisor, mentor,
friend.) She and Marv have four children who are all involved in
music. Jessica, who completed an acting major at Millikin
University, works at Old Creamery Theater in Amana, Iowa. Ruth
is a violin performance major at Lawrence University.
Leah, a junior in high school and Philip, a freshman, are both
Continuing Education Consultant
has been a church educator for more than twenty years, having
graduated with a Master of Religious Education from McMaster
Divinity College, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. In
1995 she was recognized as a certified Christian Educator in the
Presbyterian Church(USA). She has served four congregations in
New Jersey, Delaware and Iowa. An active member of APCE
(Association of Presbyterian Church Educators), Medora was
recently elected Regional Representative to its national
Many will know Medora’s husband Duane, who is pastor at Kenwood
Park Presbyterian Church in Cedar Rapids. The Hixes have three
children: Adam, Monica (also known as Emmie), and Brittney, and
a grandson, Kamron. Family members also include three cats:
Chessie (named for Chesapeake Center, a PC(USA) camp), Dunya and
In her spare (?) time Medora likes to play in the dirt with
flowers, read fiction, and quilt. During the children’s early
years, she was a stay-at-home mom who had a side business
teaching quilting. Duane and Medora enjoy having people over for
a meal, and traveling – including going to continuing education
Committee on Ministry Consultant
member of First Presbyterian Church in Davenport for 20 years,
Harry has been active there as an elder, a member of the session,
and Chair of the Church Government and Personnel Committee.
In 1998 he became a member of the Committee on Ministry for
the Presbytery and served as Co-Moderator since 2002.
Harry worked for Deere and Company for 33 years, with a majority
of that time spent in the Human Resources area, including
positions as Personnel Manager and Compensation Manager and
Benefits Manager World Wide. He has been very happily married
to Gay for 35 years, and avers that marrying her was the smartest
and most fortunate thing that has happened to him in his life.
They have six children and 15 grandchildren.
Harry enjoys photography and has chronicled on film all of
the summer vacations the family spent traveling to national
parks in the U.S. and Canada in a station wagon called the
Green Hornet. He has indulged his love of waterfalls by constructing
one in his backyard, where he finds it peaceful to sit by
the water in the late afternoon.
Scott A. Nesbitt
Dean of Commissioned Lay Pastors
was born and raised in the small town/rural environs of
Nebraska. He has an older brother and sister, five nephews,
three nieces, two grandnephews and one grandniece. He and his
wife Stephanie met while they both attended Cornell College in
Mt. Vernon, Iowa.
While a member of First Presbyterian, Mt. Vernon in 1991, he was
received under the care of this presbytery as a candidate for
the ministry. A graduate of McCormick Theological Seminary in
Chicago, he has been serving in the Presbytery of East Iowa
since 1995, and is currently at Ainsworth Community Church. He
is currently working on his dissertation for a Ph.D. in
theology. The title is "Gravity, Grace and Gratitude:
Contrasting Theories of Recognizable Response to the Atonement
as Seen by Blaise Pascal and Simone Weil."
Among his hobbies are singing, writing children’s stories,
Ukrainian egg decorating (Pysantky), gardening, cooking,
puzzles, and genealogy (he has traced an ancestor who fought
with William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066).
He likes both Concerto #5 in D minor for solo organ by J.S. Bach
and Spongebob Squarepants.
and her husband Larry have three children, Heather-10,
Jacob-8, and Hannah (a.k.a. Hannah Banana) who’s 5. Their
family also includes Krissy, a spoiled rotten mini dachshund
and Pitty, a pitiful-looking but much loved rescued cat.
Heidi’s "day jobs" are teaching computer education for
Kirkwood Community College at Tipton Center, and doing
laundry for her family...it never ends!
Her hobbies/interests include gardening, playing piano
badly, hiking, playing with her children, watching Redwings
hockey, and single handedly allowing her husband to kill
mice, spiders, or any other kind of "icky" thing that comes
in the house
Ms. Joy E. Bayshore
Administrative Assistant/Meetings and Schedules
grew up in northwest Pennsylvania, then lived for over 20 years
in San Francisco before coming to Iowa. Her checkered past
includes careers as a graphic artist, an organizer and space
planner, a copyeditor and proofreader, and a kitchen designer.
She has a Certificate in Publishing from the University of
California at Berkeley and a BFA in graphic arts.
Joy shares her home with her two cats Gabe and Miss Ginger
Rogers. She has a sister, three nieces and a nephew all living
in the Eastern Iowa area. Coconut cake, figure skating, button
collecting and reading are a few of her favorite things.
Pamela S. Prather
a native of Oskaloosa, Iowa, who now lives in Tiffin, has been
on the Presbytery staff since 1989.
She has two sons, Shawn and Chad, seven grandchildren, plays a
mean game of "Duck, Duck, Goose", and is currently being
"tutored" in science and Spanish by her nine-year-old
granddaughter. Her hobbies are sewing and her grandchildren.
Administrative Assistant to the General Presbyter
is a graduate of the University of Sioux Falls with a BA in
Psychology. She has been married for 27 years to her
husband, John, a minister in the Reformed Church of America
(RCA). Marue and John have three sons: Ben, 19 , Stephen, 17
and Jesse, 13 .
Marue's hobbies are walking, biking (she's a survivor of
RAGBRAI), reading, knitting, and cooking. Her passions are
prayer and small group ministries.
Rev. Nancy Oehler
Pastor Continuing Education
recent graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta,
Georgia, Nancy is in her third year as the pastor of the
United Church of Crawfordsville. She enjoys doing ministry
in this rural community. The church she is serving is
Methodist and Presbyterian and is the only church in town.
This presents a unique setting for doing ministry!
Before answering God’s call to ministry, Nancy had an
extensive career as a professional violinist. Retiring from
the stage several years ago, Nancy continued her music
career from the wings. Before moving to Atlanta to pursue
her seminary education, she served as Personnel Manager of
the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra in Naples, Florida. Her
business skills serve her well in the parish. Although Nancy
enjoyed her time in Florida, she is a Midwesterner at heart.
In addition to working toward spiritual growth, Nancy enjoys
gardening, swimming, walking, and playing with her dog
The Rev. Mike Spangler
Brazil Partnership Facilitator
Spangler has been pastor of First Presbyterian Church in
Muscatine since 1995 and was part of the first East Iowa
Presbytery group to go to Ceará, Brazil, in 1999. He has
returned to Brazil three times since then.
Mike was ordained in 1972, after studies at McCormick
Seminary, and has been pastor of churches in Kansas,
Illinois, and Iowa. He also has served five interim
pastorates. In addition, he served five years as pastor of
the American Protestant Church in Brussels, Belgium, and
three years as the American Protestant Chaplain in Moscow,
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, he
taught English, speech, and drama at schools in Wisconsin,
and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia.
Mike’s wife, Liz, is a teacher at Louisa-Muscatine Schools.
They have five children and six grandchildren.
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