The Director

Updated April 2020. 

Philip J. Secker (1937- ) was born in Grand Rapids, MN, in the same hospital delivery room as Frances Gumm, whom you may know as Judy Garland. He delivered papers to her house many times not knowing she had lived in it. She was born 15 years earlier than he and moved with her family to CA when she was about five years old. Arthur Carl Piepkorn served a 900 square mile parish 35 miles east of Grand Rapids from 1933-36. The Director won letters every year that his high school had wrestling and gymnastics teams in high school, and was undefeated in the three years that he wrestled in the Mesabi Iron Range Fall Wrestling Championship in Hibbing, MN, one block from where “Zimmy” grew up. You may know Zimmy better as Bobby Zimmerman, or Bob Dillon or Bob Dylan, but he never saw Bob among the fans at one of those tournaments. 🙂 He finished second in Intramural wrestling as a freshman at St. Olaf, and first as a sophomore, after which Intramural wrestling was ended. He was one of the ten highest individual point winners in Intramurals as a freshman at St. Olaf College, winning a letter for doing that, and lettered all four years in Swimming and Diving. He and his partner won one debate tournament when he was on the debate team. He is a Silver Palm on Eagle Scout.

The Director was one of six students elected to Phi Beta Kappa on the basis of their junior year. The same six graduated summa cum laude and he had the highest grade point average among the male students. Three female students scored higher but they did not have to spend 6-8 hours a week in AFROTC for two years and live off campus during their sophomore years. All three were English majors. He has also studied at Luther Seminary (summer 1959), Concordia Senior College (fall 1959), Washington University (1960-61), the University of Minnesota (1962) and the Graduate School of the Ecumenical Institute in Céligny, Switzerland (1972-73). He earned both the S.T.M. and Th.D. degrees (1967, 1973) under Arthur Carl Piepkorn. The readers of his dissertation, which was on the Medieval background of the Book of Concord, were Robert W. Bertram and Herbert T. Mayer. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Reserve Component Command and General Staff College. He was allowed a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office but decided to publicize it rather than pay $2000 for the final paper work. It is used all over the world. He served parishes in Grover, MO (1964-68), New Ipswich and Peterborough (1973-85) NH, and Coventry, CT (1997-2002,) and a Gown-Town ministry in Storrs/Mansfield, CT (1985-2002). He also spent three years on active duty as a chaplain in the U.S.Army, including all of 1969 with combat military police and infantry in Vietnam, and retired from the Reserves in the rank of Colonel in 1993. He has been awarded 13 medals and ribbons, including the Bronze Star for his service in combat in Vietnam and the Distinguish Unit Citation, which is more rare than the Bronze Star. From 1976-85 he was a part-time lecturer in the Department of Theology of St. Anselm College in Goffstown, NH. 

He has authored about a dozen publications in addition to those listed in the website Bibliography, all influenced by Piepkorn.

He has made frequent presentations about Piepkorn and his theology to Circuit Pastoral Conferences and Bible Classes, and made six 5-6 hour PowerPoint presentations on Piepkorn and his theology to five different chapters of the Society for the Holy Trinity (The NYC Metropolitan Chapter, the New England Chapter twice; the California Chapter, the Florida Chapter and the Upper New York Chapter). He has been invited to make presentations at four more chapters but no dates had been set as of June 2012.

He is married to Karna nee Kohtz of Bloomfield, NB, a graduate of the Deaconess program of Valparaiso University and retired public school teacher. They have three grown children and four grandchildren and live in Storrs/Mansfield, CT.

His inventions. He received a letter from the US Patent and Trademark Office allowing him a patent on one invention, but he did not pay the issuance and publication fee because he has thought of a better way to solve the problem that his invention solves. Since moving to a townhouse four blocks away, he has sold the prototypes of the SuperNetTM to neighbors and others. He has received commendations for his invention from as far away as Brazil and Australian. One man wrote that by using this idea, he can remove all of the leaves from his yard in one third of the time that it used to take. That is what the Director found too. You can see it by searching on Philip James Secker on FaceBook and YouTube.

For photographs, go to the Director & Mt. Whitney page.

My wife, Karna, in our son’s Honda S2000 on Skyline Drive in Virginia in 2003. Once she took over the “six on the floor” on the Skyline Drive, I could not get her out from behind the wheel. She let me take it down the switchbacks, however.

At my retirement dinner in 2002.