Eightieth Birthday


I am Daniel Arthur Kolke, born March 13, 1930 in Kurgany Poland (now part of the Ukraine). I was named after my mother’s brother and generally I was called Danush, Danja, and Danl. In Canada, I became Dan and Danny. As a child, we had little time to play. I was employed at six, doing chores, even attending cows. We made our balls out of cow hair, and toys out of discarded materials. Father was not paid with currency but with goods. One time, he got a horse that horse almost killed me.

I began my schooling in Antonufka, East Poland. The Germans relocated us to West Poland where I received four years of German. During this time, we escaped persecution and the war twice. We lost our home, land and shop in 1940 and again in 1945. My father was a blacksmith with farm equipments and he also was a Polish soldier. He was captured by the Russians and sent home. Also during this time, I almost died as a baby and at the age of 12. At the onset of World War II, while father was fighting the Germans, the people whom he was fighting for, were trying to kill us and we had to hide for three weeks. Later, at the age of 14, the Germans tried to induct me into their Army, but mother was cautioned by a German officer not to let me go. Two days later we were again running from the Russians. We ended up living under the Americans in West Germany. In Germany, I fell in love with soccer.

At 21 I immigrated to Canada in 1951. Six months later, I was accidentally burned in a lumber camp. I fell with a kerosene lamp in my hand on slippery ice and doused myself with more kerosene. Two men saved me with blanket. I regained consciousness in the Kirkland Lake Ontario Hospital. From there I was transferred to Toronto General. After 18 months and 20 surgeries I was allowed to enter society once more.

To become functional, I had to choose a profession and that required 7 years of concentrated studies. To obtain High School credentials or University entrance, I attended The Christian Institute at Edmonton, Alberta. I earned a B.A. degree from the University of Manitoba in 1958. From the North American Baptist Seminary in Sioux Fall, South Dakota, I received a B.D. 1961. In 1964, I earned a Th.M. from Biblical Seminary in New York City and a Th.D. from Victoria University (University of Toronto) in 1970. I also studied the Muslim Faith for one year under a Palestinian visiting Professor at the University of New York City.

The summer of 1959 was our special high light for us. While attending Princeton and studing the Hebrew Language, I visited my uncle on weekends in Union City, New Jersey where love took a hold of Selma and me and blossomed into our marriage the following year. We have had a tremendous fifty years journey together.

I am an ordained clergy and served as a student in Moosehorn Manitoba, and in youth camps. As pastor, I served Shattuck, Oklahoma where Desmond was born, New York City where Raymond joined us and Buffalo New York, where Danny completed our family. I also served in St. Catherines, Ontario, and in Ilion and Fulton New York. In 1980, we moved to Washington State and served Gorst, Edmonds and Hansville. I also taught courses for Central Baptist Seminary in Toronto, New York State University in Buffalo, Linfield College Oregon, Far West Seminary in Oakland California and minister’s and teachers training sessions.

I survived cancer 12 years ago. I have written numerous articles and published one book. More than 12 manuscripts are available for publication and you can read my Blog, @ kolke.com. “Stop and Think.” My favored Bible reference is John 14: 6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” My hymn is, “The Love of God is Greater Far.” I like Traumerei and Danny Boy. My hobby is our country place and my loves are my wife, children and grandchildren.

I live and have lived by these simple rules: I kept out of trouble, kept busy with my work and kept up with what I had. I have passed ponds and seen larger bones and not dropped mine.