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Mother-daughter team

Usually it’s the children who follow their parents when they move.

In this case, Lynn and John Biwer followed their daughter and son-in-law, Katie and Mike Wagener, to the lakes area in 1997.

Mike and Katie had always dreamed of owning a resort, and when they found Cold Spring Resort off County Road 29 on Upper Gull Lake, they asked Katie’s parents to join them in the venture.

“So they said, ‘How would you like to move to Brainerd?’ And I said, ‘No way!’” Lynn said, noting she wanted to live in Minneapolis where her other children lived.

“But I came to see the property and I loved it,” Lynn said. She and John have lived in Lake Shore ever since.

Both grew up in Milwaukee, where Lynn attended an all-girls’ high school and John an all-boys’ high school. They met as high school juniors when a friend set them up on a blind date.

They each graduated from college in Milwaukee with Bachelor of Arts degrees, marrying a year after graduating. Lynn worked through her first pregnancy, then stayed home after having four children in six years.

“I loved it. I loved being a stay-at-home mom,” she said. “It’s too bad kids can’t afford to do that these days.”

The Biwers moved around with John’s jobs as a businessman, eventually settling in Shakopee when their kids were in junior high school.

“I always loved horses,” Lynn said, and they bought a hobby farm with horses, pigs, goats, chickens, dogs and cats.

Then came the move to Lake Shore when they became empty nesters.

The Wageners and Biwers ran their 14-cabin resort together for nine years. “It just fell into place,” Lynn said, noting she enjoyed gardening and planting flowers, John repaired screens and doors and Mike did plumbing and electrical work while Katie took on numerous duties.

Both couples lived at the resort for the first couple of years.

“But then it was a little too much togetherness,” Lynn said with a laugh.

She and John bought a home a half mile away. After they sold the resort in 2006, the Wageners moved in with the Biwers until they bought the lot next door and built a home.

The Biwers don’t hunt or fish or golf — activities many people move to the lakes area to enjoy. However, they fell in love with the area and have no plans to leave.

“It’s so beautiful,” Lynn said. “The people are friendly, generous and great fun, and I especially like my book club friends. We call ourselves the Loony Ladies Literary Society.”

Soon after moving here in 1997, Joni Ebert got Katie and Lynn involved in the Christmas for Kids program, operating it from the resort. The program makes Christmas a happier time for less fortunate children in Nisswa, Lake Shore, Pequot Lakes, Breezy Point, Jenkins, Ideal Corners and Merrifield. Area law enforcement authorities and other volunteers dress as Santa and elves to deliver the presents on Christmas Eve morning.

Soon Katie was running the program, with her mom as one of her righthand helpers. Thursday night, Dec. 20, both mother and daughter were at the Nisswa Community Center wrapping gift after gift.

“It’s such a wonderful organization, and people in Nisswa are so generous,” Lynn said.

Lynn also helps with the Meals on Wheels program in Pequot Lakes and volunteers at the Lakes Area Food Shelf in Pequot Lakes. She and John are active at their church, St. Christopher’s in Nisswa.

They vacation in Mexico for a couple of weeks each winter, but otherwise they’re content to stay in Lake Shore.