MANKATO — There are those people in life whose unyielding kindness and warmth lift up those around them, whose focus is always outward — never on themselves.
Lois Jaeger, fine arts director at Bethany Lutheran College, is certainly one of those people. The woman is pure sunshine, and during my seven-year tenure on the arts and entertainment beat for The Free Press, I never looked forward to seeing anyone more than her.
Selfless and modest, Lois was immeasurably uncomfortable with the idea of being interviewed about retiring from Bethany this spring. She said anytime I want to feature the college in my newspaper, she’s all for it. But as for her? She insisted there’s just no need.
Her colleagues in the theater and music departments at Bethany beg to differ. She has served as the much-needed rock of organization amongst so many creative, free-thinking spirits. She’s tirelessly planned, scheduled, budgeted, overseen and promoted Bethany events, and she’s always done it with a smile on her face, insisting that the faculty and students were the ones with the hard jobs.
“The faculty members are as ambitious and hard-working as they are talented and so committed to the institution and the students. I am thankful to count them among my very best friends,” Lois wrote in a Q & A with Mankato Magazine in 2010.
And so, Lois, we all decided that it’s absolutely fine if you don’t want to be interviewed about your retirement. But you can’t stop us from sharing with readers what you have meant to Bethany for all these years.
A tour guide, a friend
I met Lois when I first arrived to Bethany in 2001. I was pretty timid as a freshman and distinctly remember wandering the halls trying to find out where the heck I was supposed to be. (Yes, it is possible to get lost at Bethany.)