Steve and Rhonda will celebrate their 28th wedding anniversary in October 2007. ”We met in the 7th grade,” she says, “and I still remember what Steve was wearing the first day of school on the school bus.”
Two daughters, Stacey (Sweitzer) Shields, 24; and Emily (Sweitzer) Love, 22. Stacey is the Marketing Manager at the Alabama Retired State Employees Association, and is attending New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary pursuing a master’s degree in Christian Education. Emily will graduate from Auburn University in December with a psychology degree and plans to attend graduate school in the fall. She currently works for the Federal government. We do not have any grandchildren, only grand puppies – Daisy, Lady and Bella
“After our marriage in 1979, we left Manchester for Bloomington, IL, and lived there from 1979–85. From Bloomington we moved to Racine, WI and lived there until 1988 when we moved to Memphis, TN. We moved back to Racine in 1992, before moving to Montgomery, AL in 1995.” Steve and Rhonda are now in the process of making yet another move . . . to Live Oak, Florida! This time as empty nesters.
Education after MHS:
Steve completed a BS in Accounting from Illinois State University and two seminary degrees . . . a Master in Ministry (Regions University) and a Master of Divinity (New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary). Rhonda has an associate degree in sales and merchandising from The University of Akron and will complete a BS in Management from Auburn University in December. She and Emily will graduate together!
Steve’s occupation history:
Steve began his career working for Case Corporation and was a Business Manager in Bloomington, a Senior Internal Auditor in Racine (the first time), a Region Manager in Memphis, and was on a special projects team in Racine the second time. We moved to Montgomery when Steve accepted a Vice President of Domestic Sales position for a small company near Montgomery. While in Montgomery Steve managed several John Deere dealerships, and then took a position with Baptist Health when he entered seminary and later became bi-vocational pastor of a small church in Montgomery. Steve just accepted an associate pastor position with a church in Live Oak, FL.
Rhonda’s occupation history:
Rhonda was fortunate to be able to be a stay-at-home mother for Stacey and Emily. She worked part-time jobs at churches once the girls were in school. She is a Certified Trauma Services Specialist and was the director of a victim’s ministry affiliated with Prison Fellowship. She currently works for AARP as a Senior Operations Administrator.
Did your MHS education or experiences influence your career direction?
For Steve, his bookkeeping class led him to earn an accounting degree and use that skill in his business career. His experiences and the influences of his church youth group had a great influence on his call to ministry (even though he was a Jonah of sorts). Rhonda uses her administrative and organizational skills everyday at home and at work. She learned those skills in the IOE (Intensified Office Education) class.
We enjoyed a 10-day first class, all-expense paid trip to Europe through Steve’s employer in 1996. We traveled through France, Belgium and Monaco. Most of our other traveling has been to visit family or to do mission work in the U.S. and Mexico.
Current Hobbies / Activities:
Steve likes to hunt, fish and play golf and softball. He enjoys reading and is usually open to any new experience or challenge. Rhonda has not had much time for outside interests since going back to college. However, she loves to read and plans to get very involved in the community once settling in Florida.
Favorite Manchester teachers, and why:
Rhonda really loved Mrs. Young and Mrs. Anasson, probably because she spent so much time with them during her junior and senior years. Steve liked Mr. Csipke because his classes led to an accounting degree and is a part of his life’s work. Mr. Armenti taught physics, and although Steve was not his best student, he taught Steve to think. Mr. Biss taught biology and Steve just had a great time. Steve took typing, taught by Mrs. Anasson, because that was where the girls were; however, that class has been the most beneficial of all, as it taught Steve a skill that has been used daily in college and in business.
Favorite Manchester memories:
For Rhonda, it was cheering in the rain and snow, slumber parties with the girls and “decorating” the football players’ homes. The girls were met late one night at the Sweitzer kitchen window by a large man holding a shotgun. Who knew it would be Rhonda’s future father-in-law!
Most of Steve’s favorite memories were on the football field or just hanging out with friends. Both Rhonda and Steve remember the many trips and special times spent with their youth group at Manchester Trinity Chapel.
Best friends from school:
We shared many of the same friends. Rhonda mostly shared experiences with the other cheerleaders (Peggy Livigni, Karla Ellis, Cathy Patterson) and girls that were also in the IOE class (Justine Gaydash and Linda Reischman). Steve’s friends included Charlie Rine, Steve Shatrich, Scott Snyder, Dave Nash, Laddie Stevenhagen, Jimmy Mitchell and Mark Wright.
Thoughts about attending Manchester schools, in general:
We enjoyed our years and MHS and have nothing but good memories.
What sports, if any, did you play or letter in at MHS?
Steve played football as linebacker and offensive/defensive tackle, lettering two years; and wrestled in the 175-lb. and unlimited weight classes, lettering three years.
Rhonda was a cheerleader for three years and played softball for one year.
Which H.S. reunions have you attended?
We attended our 10 and 15 year reunions but missed our 25th reunion.
Did you have any favorite high school “hangouts?”
Luigi’s . . . there weren’t many places to hang out in Manchester during the early ‘70s.
Favorite music from your H.S. era, and current favorite:
Rhonda remembers Barry Manilow, the Carpenters, John Denver and the Bee Gees.
Steve was more into groups/artists, including Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, Steve Miller Band, Queen, Seals & Crofts, Styx, The Who, Chicago, The Doobie Brothers, The Rolling Stones, Santana, Deep Purple, Alice Cooper, David Bowie, Bob Seger, Janis Joplin, Rod Stewart, Jim Croce, John Lennon, Elton John, Aerosmith, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, James Taylor, Lynyrd Skynyrd, America, Bachman Turner Overdrive, The Doors, ZZ Top, Blue Oyster Cult, Three Dog Night, Bread, Pink Floyd, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Steely Dan, Boston, Beatles, Paul McCartney and Wings, The Eagles, and Kiss . . . to name a few.
Favorite TV shows:
Then -- Saturday Night Live (the early years were best)
Now -- “Our favorites are college football and basketball (Steve roots for The Ohio State University, and Rhonda for the University of Kansas), Atlanta Braves baseball, Fox News, American Idol in the spring, home repair shows, HGTV, TLC, Discovery, History Channel . . . we know — pretty boring.”
Then -- include Rocky, Love Story, The Sting, Jaws, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, MASH, The Way We Were, What’s Up Doc?, The Godfather, The French Connection and Young Frankenstein (guess who’s favorites are whose).
Now -- they include romantic comedies, The Passion of the Christ, Bourne series and anything with John Wayne.
Biggest Pet Peeve since your graduation:
“My old friends would be surprised to know . . .”
“. . . that I am a pastor.”
If you could re-do or change one thing, what might that be…?
Completing our education at a younger age.
Do you still have family living in Manchester? And how often do you return?
Steve’s parents still leave in Manchester in the same home they have lived in for 50 years. We usually return home once a year, sometimes more.
Any siblings who are also Manchester alumni?
David Sweitzer graduated in 1978 and works as an architect for King’s Medical in Akron. He and his wife, Guida, have six children.
You can reach Steve via email at: email@example.com
You can reach Rhonda via email at:firstname.lastname@example.org