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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Not retired, just 'retreaded'
At age 92, pastor has continued ministering

Concord Monitor

Some people love their work so much that they never really retire.

One of them is the Rev. Dr. Paul Klose, who is 92.

"When we moved to New Hampshire, we retreaded, not retired," he said.

Klose is a sort-of-retired Baptist clergyman. His wife of 61 years, Madelyn, is also an ordained minister. Their four children followed them into the church. Their son Clint has been the minister of music in a church in Franklin. He now teaches music at Beaver Meadow School in Concord. Their son Curt is the organist at a church in Longmeadow, Mass. Their daughter Cheryl assists her husband, the Rev. Charles Boucher, in Antrim, and their daughter Carol is an organist at a church in Montour Falls, N.Y.

The musicians in this family must have been inspired by their father, who plays the guitar and what he calls "honky tonk piano."

Since his retirement from parish ministry, Klose is often called back to churches he has served to substitute for an absent minister and to give a day to former parishioners who like to keep in touch with a beloved pastor.
Klose presents a lecture for seniors entitled "New Ways to Stay Home while Growing Old" at secular senior centers, churches and nursing homes.

"We'll go anywhere we're wanted," he said. "I like to use music with my lectures, fun songs I make up, like 'Who's Afraid of Growing Old' to the tune of 'Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf.' And I like to include humor in my lectures. I read a lot of books on aging that have convinced me that laughter is the best medicine."

Norman Cousins has told the story of a man that doctors couldn't cure. His physician advised him to lighten up, to watch comedy movies. The patient claimed to have laughed himself well.

Klose recommends Art Linkletter's new book, How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life, co-authored with Mark Victor Hansen, as the best he's read on aging.

A slender man who moves more like 72 than 92, Klose says you have to exercise your body and your mind to age well. He and Madelyn take part in Tufts University's Strong Living program twice a week. He uses a treadmill at home, does chair exercises and eats "sensibly." Following retirement, he attended Laconia Technical School to receive a certificate in gerontology. He received a doctorate in theology from Northern Seminary in Chicago.

Since "retirement," Klose has been a volunteer chaplain at the St. Francis Healthcare Center in Laconia and at Hillsboro House Nursing Home in Hillsboro.

These days, besides the lecture series, he and Madelyn serve on the mission committee for the church that their son-in-law serves in Antrim. The mission committee is responsible for publicizing and gathering special offerings, four times a year, for home needs, a retired clergy fund and One Great Hour of Sharing.

Klose plays piano duets with his daughter Cheryl. He writes songs and is a poet. He includes his poetry at his lectures. Sometimes, the poems are thoughtful or philosophical; sometimes, they're whimsical. For instance: "When your hair starts to thin, and it slowly turns gray, / We can choose some other color or select a smart toupee."

I asked Klose how he feels about being old.

"Old," he said, "is a constant challenge. It can be very enjoyable. Seniors need to exercise, socialize, expand their minds, love and listen. There are so many needs to fill. Seniors can always helps someone else. The rewards are appreciation and additional years of health, activity, productivity and fulfillment.

"The joy of my ministry has been to encourage people, to challenge them and to love them," he said.

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