More Life (and Love) Left for Philanthropic Jackson Pastor
After cancer battle, Chuck Fidroeff serves his community with renewed faith
- Published In: Other News & Features
- Last Updated: Aug 13, 2023
Pastor Chuck Fidroeff, of Jackson, and Mary Keizer, formerly of Juneu, Alaska, exchanged vows on August 2--five days after they met via a Christian dating app. (Courtesy photo from Pastor Chuck Fidroeff)
By Alec Klein
Special to the Wyoming Truth
JACKSON, Wyo.—Pastor Chuck Fidroeff, riddled with cancer, was given two years to live.
That was two years ago. He has no plans to follow that schedule. He just got married.
As it turns out, a whirlwind romance isn’t merely the province of the young. On July 28, Fidroeff, 72, met a lady from Alaska in the most modern of ways—via a dating app, a Christian one at that. And five days later, they tied the knot on Aug. 2.
Fidroeff, the executive director of the Good Samaritan Mission in Jackson, has too much to do to sit idle, anyway.
Aside from running a shelter for the homeless, which by the way also provides food, clothing, Bible study and more, he is seeking to do more for the Jackson Hole community. Fidroeff wants to start a thrift shop that would allow the mission to raise more funds and offer more services to those in need. He also wants to open a shelter for women and children; his mission is designed for single men or women, and this summer, it disheartened him that he had to turn away about a dozen people.
What’s more, Fidroeff said Jackson needs an inpatient rehabilitation center to help people struggling with alcohol and drug addictions; there is no such facility here despite a community grappling with a higher percentage of excessive adult drinking than state and national levels, according to studies.
But back to Pastor Chuck—as he likes to be called—and his diagnosis. He has stage 4 prostate cancer. “It spread throughout the whole body,” he said in an interview in his office, without a hint of concern.
“I’m the healed of the Lord,” he said of his prayers. “I believe I’ll be around for a long time.”
To meet Pastor Chuck is to encounter a man filled with the ebullience and peace that comes with his strong, abiding faith. He plays the guitar and sings, too. And he has a welcoming visage—short cropped hair, a trim gray beard and metal-rimmed glasses that speak to his thoughtfulness. His office is packed with books and at least one notable sign on a door that in magic marker reads:
“Be kinder than necessary
Because all of us are
Fighting some kind of
Live simply, love
Generously, care deeply,
Speak kindly, and
Leave the rest to God!”
Pastor Chuck chuckles when recalling how the mission’s board members recently assembled in his office to ask him if he was in his right mind after his quickie wedding.
But for Fidroeff, there was nothing rash about it. For one, he said he had prayed for many months to find love again after his wife of decades had died in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For another, the pastor said God spoke to him, confirming that he had indeed found the one.
It didn’t take much convincing for Pastor Chuck. One video call with Mary Keizer, the lady from Juneau, Alaska, who happened to be of his generation, pretty much sealed the deal. She too believed it was meant to be; for several years, she had tried to sell her home—to no avail. But just after meeting Fidroeff online, her home sold.
Unbeknownst to Pastor Chuck, his lady friend promptly got on an airplane and flew to meet her love in Jackson.
The rest was, well, history.