It’s finally time to know more about the Lewis Family!
Pastor Jim and Dana Magi Lewis came to Advent September 2009 when the call process found this wonderful and dynamic duo to be our pastoral and family life team after serving at Grace Lutheran in Dover. Abby was only 2 then, and it has been lovely to see the children grow and blossom in their many talents. The parents are pretty talented too. Hannah is now 15, a sophomore at Solon H.S., and shining in acting, singing, art, and flute. Isaac, 13 and an 8th grader at the Middle School, enjoys Lego, Minecraft, the trombone, and acting as well. Abby is 13 and a 7th grader there too. She is progressing very well at her riding lessons and percussion. Jim is a keen runner who enjoys golf and music.
Jim is a PK who graduated from Sheldon High School in Sheldon IA, and then Iowa State. Fortunately for us he did not become a golf course designer but attended seminary in St. Paul MN. There he met Dana, who had graduated from Ferndale Area High School in Johnstown PA and Penn State, before seminary. They married October 18, 1997 at the seminary. Their parents continue to live in their home towns.
Jim has his fingers in many local organizations, including SAIL (the Solon Alliance of Interfaith Leaders), and even played trombone (?) with the community band for a while. Dana is the corresponding secretary for the Solon PTA. They’ve brought many creative things to Advent to build up our family connections, including milestone blessings, trunk or treat nights, wonderful Vacation Bible School, MOPS, Parents’ Night Out, Christmas Cookie Open House, etc. (The “etc.” is huge.) We have been very fortunate to have Jim’s high tech and musical skills too, especially during this crazy time.
What does Advent mean in their lives? “Joy being part of this community. Have lived in Solon twice as long as any place since … married and love it here.”
Meet John Sleasman, who has been a member of Advent and serving as a member of council or the finance committee forever! Just joking, he joined in 1987, transferring from Hope Lutheran in Cleveland Heights with daughter Elizabeth (Liz) and Jeff. After 30 years in Solon, living just up the road, he has moved to an apartment on the West Side. John graduated from a high school in Pittsburgh, and moved to the area to attend CWRU. He retired from a career in computer software. He used to play tennis and soccer, but now prefer less strenuous reading and somewhat less strenuous church activities. In fact, John says Advent has played a major role in his life, and he has also served in a variety of roles in our Northeast Ohio Synod. He’s now the parliamentarian. (He might be too humble to say, but John is a bit like Google – ask anything and he’ll have an answer.)
While the kids are now adults and living away from home, you old-timers might like an update. Liz Sleasman Chois has been a Spanish teacher ? since graduating from Laurel School and Miami of Ohio. She loves running and travel. Jeff, who graduated from University School and Miami, lives downtown with his new wife Jenin. He works ??? and she at the Cleveland Clinic.
The Simas have been members of Advent since the spring of 1976. They were married at Emmanuel Lutheran, Warren Ohio April 8, 1972, and faithfully brought their 3 daughters, Lori, Mary, and Barbara to Advent, where everyone was very involved. (Lori and Doug Burchard now bring Anna & William faithfully; as do Mary & Tommy Clutter, with Mariana, Jimmy, and Elena. Barbara and Nathan Weiderspahnlive in Hampton Township PA with Sarah, Isaac, and Evelyn, all active in their congregation.)
Jim and Mary Ann own Race-lite Southcoast in Maple Heights, a manufacturer of sailboat hardware. Jim graduated from Maple Heights High School and Kent State, while Mary Ann graduated from Leavittsburg High School and Kent State. They met at a dorm party at KSU their sophomore year. Jim served in the Coast Guard Reserves.
Advent continues to be “one of the most important things in our lives,” say the Simas, and they have been generous with their time and talents: Jim serving on council, as an usher, and on various committees; Mary Ann as president of council and many committees, including Education. Both have been part of the bell choirs since the bells arrived. Very handy, Jim created the lovely candelabra we use every Christmas season. His interests include model trains and sailing. Mary Ann loves everything to do with LYO. They were Advent’s youth leaders for many years, and Mary Ann serves on the LYO Board as Liaison to the NEO Synod. If you are considering going to Disney World and need advice – this family should be able to help!
Tony and Kris Binkowski joined Advent with son Jacob (now a 6th grader at Brady Middle School) in 2017. They transferred in from First Baptist Church of Streetsboro, and live in Moreland Hills. Tony is a self-employed personal trainer who has a side business in woodworking. Kris is a Vice President for Nielsen in their Advanced Analytics Space.
Tony graduated from high school in Spring Lake Park, Minnesota and spent 10 years in the Marines. Kris is a California girl, graduating from San Dimas High and Cal Poly in Pomona CA with her Bachelors and Masters Degrees. They met through mutual friends while Tony was stationed at Camp Pendleton CA, and were married at Glenkirk Presbyterian in Glendora CA April 16, 2005.
They are a very busy family, supporting Jacob’s love of competitive gymnastics, space and videogames. Tony enjoys hiking, camping, woodworking and motorcycling. He also is a Cub Scout leader. Kris enjoys gardening, working with children, quilting, and reading, and coaching the boys’ gymnastics. During COVID, they added chickens to their family and they all enjoy and take care of them. Tony is one of Pastor’s high-tech gurus, and Kris has taught Sunday School, directed the children’s choir, and helped with the food pantry. Both enjoy helping with the Fellowship Committee.
When asked what Advent means in their lives, they said they first fell in love with the children’ program, and the VBS program about Jesus when he was a child. They appreciate how the members of the congregation work together.
Doug & Lori (Sima) Burchard are very active members of Advent, along with their children Anna, now 13 and a 7th grader at Solon Middle School, and William, 9, a 4th grader at Lewis. They now live in Solon, having moved around Northeast Ohio for fifteen years and renovating an impressive number of houses, before returning to the city where they both grew up.
Doug transferred his membership from Pioneer Presbyterian, Solon, and Lori started life here! They met at Solon High School Band Camp. Lori went on to Kent State and has continued working there in the Sponsored Programs department ever since, where she is now the Director. Doug has his undergraduate degree from Ohio University and master’s in Public Administration from Kent. They were married at Advent August 9, 1997.
Doug is now the Manager of Three Village Condominium in Lyndhurst, having previously served as city manager in Sebring, Ohio.
They share a passion for traveling, the LYO (Lutheran Youth Organization), and community service, including the Lions Club in Sebring. Doug enjoys cooking, reading and staying up with current events. He has been president of Advent’s Church Council and an able fill in for the adult bell choir. Lori has also served on council and the fellowship committee, a member of bells and adult choir, and is a Girl Scout leader. You need something done – just ask.
Doug and Lori find Advent has played a huge role in their lives and cannot imagine being without it.
Dan and Tammy (Jamerson) Garey married at St. Mark Lutheran Church of Tallmadge on April 30, 2005, and are the parents of those lovely and talented young ladies who sat in the front left at church, pre-pandemic.
Residents of Macedonia, Dan and Tammy joined Advent in April of 2006, and it has been a delight to welcome their growing family: Laura, is now 14 and an 8th grader at Nordonia Middle School. She is talented at both softball and singing; Lilly, 12 and a 6th grader at the Intermediate School, loves playing soccer, reading and singing as well; Leah, 8 and a 3rd grader at Ledgeview Elementary, also loves soccer and the piano; and Lyndsey, amazingly 7 already, is a first grader at Ledgeview, and like her older sisters, enjoys soccer, reading, and playing with her Barbies.
Dan graduated from Maple Heights High School and trained at the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center to become a firefighter – as of Dec 1st he will be celebrating 17 years as a firefighter/Paramedic with the City of Mentor Fire Department. Tammy graduated from high school in Akron and received her BSN through Malone College. Tammy has many years under her belt as an ER nurse, but now works from home doing ER billing for Summa Health System and occasionally picks up shifts in the ER as she is needed.
They met when Dan was a paramedic and Tammy worked in the emergency room at St. Thomas Hospital. Dan enjoys woodworking and home projects (you should check out the fun stuff in their back yard!) and Tammy enjoys helping in the classes for Nordonia schools(pre pandemic) and being a Girl Scout leader. Both love going to cheer on the girls at their sporting events! The Garey family is also very excited to start adventures in their newest RV addition! At Advent they are very involved: Dan doing many repairs (tile work!) and cutting the grass, and Tammy with the Fellowship Committee and bells. They say the best part about Advent is the small family atmosphere.
When will Dan play his bagpipes for us again?