Stanley Emerson Niebruegge died unexpectedly at his home in Franconia, N.H., on Nov. 3 at the age of 85. He was born in Freeport, Ill., on May 26, 1929, to the Reverend Amos and Minnie Niebruegge, and grew up in La Crosse, Wisc.
Stan graduated from Harvard University in 1950, and married Barbara Carlson, who was from Washington, D.C., in 1951. They met while he was at Harvard, and she was at Radcliffe College, but they were married in Sioux Falls, S.D., as both had lots of family there. He attended the Episcopal Theological Seminary in Cambridge, Mass., in 1951, and then Princeton Theological Seminary, where he earned a Bachelor of Divinity Degree in 1953. He assisted at the Brick Church in New York City from 1951-1953, and was ordained by the Presbytery of NY in 1953. In becoming a Presbyterian minister, he was following in the footsteps of his father and uncles on both sides of his family. He served as an assistant minister under Dr. Paul Austin Wolfe at the Brick Church from 1953-1961. While in NY, two daughters, Virginia and Lucy were born. The family then moved to Ottumwa, Iowa, where Stan served as minister of the First Presbyterian Church. His third daughter, Julie, was born in Ottumwa. In 1964, he received an Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Buena Vista College for his expertise in Christian education. In 1967 Stan was called to the First Presbyterian Church in Lansdowne, Pa., where he served for 24 years, retiring in 1991, and moving to Franconia, N.H.
Life in Franconia was all that Stan had hoped it would be. He loved the mountains, and relaxed pace of life. He thrived on spending time with his family. All three of his daughters and three grandchildren live nearby, and are blessed to have been able to share life with him and Barbara. Among Stan's many interests were music, especially opera and classical, travel, reading, ecumenical studies, black bears and Schipperkes (a small Belgian black dog). For many years, he was also active as a Harvard alumni interviewer of students in the North Country, and was a member of the Harvard Club of NY, the Profile Club, and Sam's Club. He made many trips to NY to see performances at the Metropolitan Opera, and had recently spent several days in the city enjoying cultural events. He played the piano, and also learned to play the glockenspiel for the Harvard Band. Last month found him playing his glockenspiel with the Harvard Band at a football game.
Stan's love of travel brought him to many interesting places. It was nurtured by an extensive rail trip as a child, and later by a 4-month ecumenical sabbatical in Europe, given by the Brick Church. He made several European trips during his professional years, and continued these with relish after retirement. Often he attended biennial Societas Liturgica conferences around the world. Taize, an ecumenical retreat center for all ages in the south of France, was also a favorite destination. In recent years, Stan enjoyed family reunions in South Dakota and included his daughters and grandchildren in these jaunts.
Stan will be missed by his wife, Barbara; daughter Ginny Jeffryes of Franconia; daughter Lucy Golden, her partner Jamie Burris and her son Luke Golden of Franconia; daughter Julie Seely, her husband John, and their children Erica and Chris Seely of Bethlehem; little dog Pixie.
A service of thanksgiving for his life will be held on Saturday, Nov. 15, at 11 a.m. at the Franconia Community Church of Christ, at 44 Church St. In memory of Stan, contributions may be made to the Franconia Fast Squad, P.O. Box 900, Franconia, NH 03580, or to global health and assistance organization MAP International, at www.map.org.