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Wade Davick

Rev. Wade Davick, retired pastor of Central Lutheran Church, was known around Winona for his kindness, compassion and corny jokes. Davick, the "unofficial grandfather" to many, died on Thursday at 83.

The Rev. Wade Davick will be remembered for his service to the community, his kindness and compassion for others and — without question — his sense of humor.

He was a man of many passions and even more patience.

The retired Central Lutheran Church minister passed away Thursday at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Rochester. He was 83 years old.

For many, Davick was an ever-present fixture of the community, always happy to lend his wisdom to a wayward soul or brighten a child’s day.

“Wade was the unofficial grandfather for many children,” Central Lutheran member Denise Bernatz said. “He related well to everyone, but had a soft spot for the children.”

And while many will remember him for his witty sermons, Davick’s love of people extended far outside his congregation.

“He had a servant heart,” said longtime friend and retired Redeemer Lutheran Church pastor Bill Flesch. “He served not only the faith community of Central Lutheran but the greater community of Winona as well.”

Long after he retired from Central Lutheran in 2001, Davick continued to serve his community, reading to children, guiding tours at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum as a docent and serving as an inspiration to Winonans of all ages.

Heather Casper, the curator of education for MMAM, said Davick, who joined the museum late last year, quickly became one of their most active, enthusiastic and grizzled docents.

During his short time as a docent, Davick opened hundreds of children’s eyes to the wonders of art and expression.

“All the kids were so lucky to have him as their docent,” Casper said.

And when Davick wasn’t guiding tours at the art museum, it wasn’t uncommon to find him reading to students at any one of the elementary schools or dancing to his heart’s content in one of Christine Martin’s tap classes at the Minnesota Conservatory For the Arts.

Davick is a student that Martin will never forget.

“He really was an inspiration,” she said. “He was always working, practicing, always asking useful questions,” she said. “It was wonderful to have him in class.”

Last Sunday, Martin bestowed a tap dancing award for his dedication and enthusiasm toward the art.

“He was a renaissance man. A person who reinvents himself and is involved in many things,” said Rev. Larry Green of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

And it was true. Dance was far from Davick’s only passion. He was also an avid wood carver, a proud Norwegian and even an automobile enthusiast.

Davick’s involvement in the community long after his retirement made him something of a role model for many, including John Schutz of Winona.

“He was my role model,” he said. “He had growing old gracefully down pat.”

But what many will remember most about Davick was his sense of humor.

“He definitely had a great sense of humor,” Flesch said. “I used to tell him he was the Garrison Keillor of Lutheran pastors. He drew you into the lesson.”

Green said he’ll never forget Davick’s corny church jokes.

“He was just ton of fun,” he said.

Mike Bernatz, a member of Central Lutheran’s congregation, said he remembers Davick’s sermons well.

“From somber sermons to heartfelt conversations to exuberant stories, his words of wisdom and insight were treasures,” he said. “He touched all the bases and everyone fortunate enough to meet him along his life’s very special journey.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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Madeline Heim of the Winona Daily News contributed to this story. Tobias Mann covers crime and government in Winona County. He can be reached at 507-453-3522 or at tobias.mann@winonadailynews.com

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