Former Reeve director inspires during retirement


Photo courtesy of Randy Hedge– Randy Hedge, a former Reeve director, is now a pastor and singer at United Church of Christ in Spearfish, South Dakota, and enjoys ministry and his music career.

Kelley Hueckman, Opinion Editor

Former UW Oshkosh Reeve Memorial Union director Randy Hedge made the most out of his time after retiring from the university. 

Hedge, now singer and part-time pastor of United Church of Christ in Spearfish, South Dakota, said he’s found joy in balancing ministry and his music career. 

“I’ve never been happier at this point in my life,” he said. “I’m semi-retired and love doing a little ministry and some performing on the side.”

Hedge worked as the Reeve director from 1995 until 2017, when the university offered long-time employees retirement packages. 

He said this allowed him to follow his passion in ministry. 

“This was something I felt called to do, even in my earlier adult life, but wasn’t in the position to do so until the university offered retirement incentives.”

Hedge said the leadership and communicative skills he learned from his university position helped him as he took his first ministerial positions in various rural towns in South Dakota.

“I also used my Reeve Union experience working with volunteers and service to the community as a skill I could use for working with church volunteers and serving the community,” he said.

However, the transition into “semi-retirement” wasn’t completely smooth.

Hedge said experienced quite the culture shock after moving from Oshkosh to towns with populations as low as 300.

“I was told by a farmer in my congregation that there were more cows in the county than people,” he said.

In 2019, a congregation Hedge led suffered from a 100-year flood, resulting in damaged homes and stress in the community.

“It was very difficult and stressful for us, but our church found that even with the challenging times, we were somehow able to persevere,” he said. “We were also able to do some great things in ministry to help flood victims in our community.”

Hedge said he also suffered from health complications and additional long-term COVID-19 issues. 

Photo courtesy of Randy Hedge

However, after taking a job as a pastor in Spearfish, South Dakota and launching his music career, Hedge said he is “feeling better.”

Hedge said he performs music around three to four times a month in restaurants, coffee shops and weddings in the area.

Although he launched his music career this year, he’s no stranger to performing, especially in the Oshkosh community.

“While as a director at Reeve, it was pretty common to see me in the Titan Underground for talent shows or other features of local musicians,” he said.

Along the way, Hedge also began writing original music, which is available on his website,

Hedge said some of his musical influences include Eric Clapton, John Mayer, James Taylor and the Zac Brown Band, which can give a sense of the music he writes and performs.

Hedge began performing after receiving encouragement from his mother and his father, a high school band director, but didn’t need much persuasion.

“I suppose I’d have to credit my parents for encouraging me to perform,” he said. “Nobody had to really motivate me to perform as a singer/songwriter. It’s what makes me happy!”

Hedge said that while the past five years have been a difficult transition, the reward was worth it. 

“Yes, there were challenges these past five years after leaving UWO,” he said. “But the challenge to readapt and learn a new career was invigorating for me.”

Hedge said he encourages people to pay mind to their mental and physical health as they make career-based decisions.

“If your health is suffering, or continued stress is occurring in your current work, reevaluate and don’t be afraid to stop the madness,” he said. “Do what you love.”