Volunteer Profile

Meet Gordon Holten

Carol Wagner Leader Correspondent

Photo by Carol Wagner Gordon Holten has volunteered in Appleton and then Shawano after moving here in 1991. He is holding a citation from the Wisconsin Legislature for his volunteer service with the Rural Health Initiative, in the formation for the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region and being a longtime consultant with the Shawano Area Community Foundation.

Gordon Holten has volunteered in Appleton and then Shawano after moving here in 1991.

He was born and raised in Deerfield, graduating from Deerfield High School. Holten enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where during his sophomore year he enlisted for four years in the Air Force as the draft was being held for the Korean War. He served two years during the war in Okinawa, then returned to UW-Madison under the GI Bill. Holten earned a degree in math with a specialty in actuarial science.

Holten began his 30-year career at AAL, now Thrivent, beginning as a junior actuary, then wrote computer programs, followed by supervising a crew of 50 programmers, then corporate planning vice president, and retired in 1987 as a senior vice president. Holten and his wife, Marilyn, have been married 59 years and have three children and 10 grandchildren. They live on Shawano Lake in the town of Wescott, where Holten does genealogy and makes DVDs of the families activities.

Q Where have you volunteered since moving to Shawano?

A “I’m the treasurer at Zion Lutheran Church, where we’ve been members since 1991. I keep the financial books, sign paychecks and put together the budget.

“I started with the Shawano Area Community Foundation in 1991 and retired from it two years ago. They recruited me as a consultant. I worked with potential donors. That was a wonderful experience, meeting people who wanted to do good. Previously I was the executive director of the Community Foundation of the Fox Valley.

“In 2004, the Rural Health Initiative was just beginning through Dr. John Mielke. They needed a financial person, and I was treasurer for 10 years and retired two years ago. I have been a member of the Shawano Rotary since 1991.”

Q Where did you volunteer in Appleton?

A “At the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region for five years. I started as development director, ran some fundraiser programs, and was asked to be the executive director for three years. I was in the Rotary there, on the board of directors for the United Way, and in the choir and on the council of Trinity Lutheran Church. My wife and I helped start a den of Cub Scouts.”

Q Why do you volunteer?

A “I think it’s part of a citizens responsibility to keep the community going and healthy. To help people do good things that help the community. There’s no better way to get to know people.”