In Memoriam


1940-2022 | Augustana Theological Seminary Class of 1966

Gary Anderson, 82, died June 12 at his home in Minneapolis. He served congregations in Michigan and Minnesota and later became a financial planner and advisor before retiring. He was a talented singer, songwriter and poet, and recorded several folk music albums and published poetry anthologies. Anderson is survived by his wife Catherine, three children, three stepchildren, four grandchildren and seven step-grandchildren.


1934-2022 | Chicago Lutheran Theology Seminary Class of 1961

Robert N. Bacher, 87, Bluffton, S.C., died May 23 from leukemia. He also received his master of education degree and master and doctor of public administration degrees. Bacher was mission developer and pastor of St. Mark Lutheran Church, Lakewood, Colo., before serving as a church executive for the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) in parish services. He then led a large department and served on the president’s cabinet of executives. When the LCA merged with two other national churches to form the ELCA in 1988, Bacher was named executive for administration in the Office of the Presiding Bishop. He served as the organization’s chief operating officer throughout the terms of the first two presiding bishops. The Bachers retired to North Carolina in 2001, then to Bluffton in 2011. Bacher was an LSTC Distinguished Alumni award recipient in 2002. He is survived by his wife Shirley, three daughters and five grandchildren.


1934-2022 | Augustana Theological Seminary Class of 1960

David Baker, 88, died July 15 in Spokane, Wash. He also earned degrees from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, Calif. (ThM) and San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo, Calif. (DMin). He served congregations in Edmonton, Canada, Washington, Oregon and California. In addition to providing leadership to the Pacific Northwest Synod, Emanual Hospital and Augustana Heritage Association (executive director), he was on staff at Holden Village and Spirit in the Desert. He was preceded in death by his wife Gloria. He is survived by his four children, four grandchildren, his first wife Nancy Tolin, four step-daughters and nine step-grandchildren.


1930-2022 | Concordia Seminary St. Louis class of 1956

Paul Bauermeister, 92, died Sept. 11 in Ballwin, Mo. He spent his summers at Yosemite National Park while his father served as visiting pastor at Yosemite Chapel. Bauermeister was a hospital chaplain in Indianapolis and an inner-city mission pastor in St. Louis. Following seven years of pastoral ministry, he earned a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Minnesota. He then taught clergy and counselors and later joined the faculty of Christ Seminary-Seminex in St. Louis and LSTC. He was preceded in death by his wife Jannette, and is survived by three children, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.


1964-2022 | Class of 1993

Retired U.S. Army Major Ronald (Ron) Beltz Jr., 57, died Sept. 8 at his home in Enterprise, Ala. He also earned a masters degree in psychology counseling from Texas A&M. Prior to his commissioning in the U.S. Army, he served congregations in Columbia City and Michigan City, Ind. He served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and retired from the chaplain corps of the U.S. Army in 2021 after 20 years. He is survived by his wife Rebecca Kammerer, two children, and his parents.


1966-2022 | Central Lutheran Theological Seminary Class of 1966

Donovan Benson, 84, died Sept. 12 in Waterloo, Iowa. He served congregations in Iowa. He joined the choir of Westminster Presbyterian Church of Waterloo, which performed at Carnegie Hall in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.


1929-2022 | Augustana Theological Seminary 1958

Joseph E. Bourret, 93, died Aug. 28 in Glastonbury, Conn. Bourret funded his seminary education as a carpenter, sign painter and radio broadcaster at WOC, Davenport, Iowa. He served several congregations in New Hampshire and Connecticut. In addition to his church vocation he worked in solar construction and radio broadcasting (WTIC and WKSS, Hartford, Conn.). He is survived by his wife Patricia, four children and six grandchildren.


1934-2022 | Augustana Theological Seminary 1960

James Chell, 88, died Sept. 3, in Jasper, Alberta, Canada. After completing his internship in Kenora, Ontario, he chose to spend his career there. He served mission parishes and was assistant to the bishop in the regional synod office in Edmonton. He was executive director of Canadian Mission in the ELCIC national church office in Winnipeg and served on the Mulhurst Camp board. His adventurous spirit took him to China in support of developing Chinese language missions in Canada. He was preceded in death by his wife Luella and one son. He is survived by six children, 15 grandchildren and one greatgrandchild.


1933-2022 | Augustana Theological Seminary Class of 1959

John D. Erickson, died Aug. 3 in Denver, Colo., from Guillain-Barré Syndrome. He was also awarded the honorary degree of doctor of divinity by Virginia Theological Seminary, Lynchburg, in 1973.

Early in his career he and his wife Nancy served as missionaries in, and later joined the staff of, the American Bible Society (ABS) as secretary for Asia in the overseas department. He spent most of his career at the ABS, holding roles at the United Bible Societies from 1976, leading it from 1991 to 1998. By the time he retired in 1998, he had played a pivotal role in Bibles printed in China being shipped to Russia, which was unimaginable decades prior. His wife Nancy preceded him in death by 10 days. They are survived by four children and three grandchildren.


1938-2022 | Class of 1966

Daniel Erlander, 83, of Seattle, Wash., died Aug, 28. His funeral is Oct. 15 in Lynnwood, Wash. In addition to serving as a parish and campus pastor, Erlander is widely known for his books/resources which he illustrated and wrote, including Baptized, We Live and Manna and Mercy. (https://bit.ly/3Vj2gn1) He received the “Faithful Servant” Distinguished Alumni Award from LSTC in 2006.


1934-2022 | ThD 1973

Delmar Gusdal, 87, died May 30 in Palm Harbor, Fla. He served congregations in Minnesota, Illinois, Alabama and Florida. He was executive director of the Florida Lutheran Council on Social Ministry and then founding president of Lutheran Ministries of Florida, now Lutheran Services Florida. He was also director of ministries, Fair Havens Center, Miami Springs, Fla., and vice-president for Lutheran Services for the Elderly. He is survived by his wife Miriam, four children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandson.


1980-2022 | Class of 2006

Michael Hagenow, 41, died May 20 in Minneapolis, Minn. He served Clairmont Lutheran Church in San Diego, Calif., and Resurrection Lutheran, also in San Diego. He is survived by his mother Joyce, a sister and nephew.


1930 | Augustana Theological Seminary Class of 1960

Lloyd R. Hanson, 91, died July 20 in Sacramento, Calif. Prior to seminary, he served in the Air Force in the Korean War. He served congregations in Kansas and California, as well as Mt. Cross Bible Camp. He held several leadership positions in California, including chair of the Interfaith Service Bureau (now Interfaith Council of Greater Sacramento), which awarded him the “Power of One” crystal in 2013. His first wife Marion, second wife Donna and stepson preceded him in death. He is survived by four children, one stepson and seven grandchildren.


1953-2022 | Class of 1992, DMin

Roger Helgren, 68, of Ottawa, Ill., died May 5 from pancreatic cancer. His DMin was in pastoral care and counseling. His pastoral ministry grew to include interim ministry in the Illinois Valley region, and involvement with the Choices Outpatient Clinic. Helgren is survived by his wife Carol Wahlstrom, three children and two grandchildren.


1938-2022 | Chicago Lutheran Theology Seminary Class of 1964

Carl Holland 83, of Tigard, Ore., and formerly of Weatherly, Pa., died May 11. He also earned a master of science degree from the University of Illinois School of Library Science. He served congregations in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. He worked with the public library systems in Washington and Indiana, establishing and leading a library program for nursing homes, jails and the McNeil Island Federal Prison in Puget Sound, Wa. He is survived by his wife Susan and two children.


1929-2022 | Chicago Lutheran Theology Seminary Class of 1961

C. Raymond Holmes, 93, died June 16. He served parishes in Michigan until 1969, when he left the Lutheran church and enrolled in the Seventh-Day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Mich., where he earned a master’s degree in theology and a doctorate in ministry. He served the denomination’s seminary in the Philippines and returned to the U.S. to be dean of students and professor of homiletics at the Andrews seminary. He was preceded in death by his wife Shirley and is survived by two children and two grandchildren.


1937-2022 | Chicago Lutheran Theology Seminary Class of 1962

John Johansen died June 20 in Dayton, Ohio. He served parishes in Nebraska, Michigan and Ohio. Johansen is survived by his wife Betty Lou, his son, three stepchildren, three grandchildren, six step- grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.


1933-2022 | Chicago Lutheran Theology Seminary Class of 1959

Jerry Kissell, 88, died Sept. 26 in Marion, Ill. He was a pastor in Appleton, Wis., and was pastor at Illinois State University in Normal, Ill., from 1968-1989 at the Campus Religious Center. He served Epiphany Lutheran Church in Carbondale before his retirement in 1999. Kissell is survived by his wife Ruth and two children.


1931-2022 | Augustana Theological Seminary 1961

Charles Lindgren, 91, died Sept. 23 at the Good Samaritan Center in Waconia, Minn. Although Lindgren entered seminary in 1953, his studies were interrupted by service in the U.S. Army as a medic 1954-56. He received the Army of Occupation Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. He served a congregation in Wisconsin for five years before leaving for the mission field of the World Mission Prayer League in Bolivia, South America. He served parishes in Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota and Kansas before retiring in 1996. Lindgren is survived by his wife Marjorie, three children, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.


1938-2022 | Augustana Theological Seminary Class of 1963

Karl (David) Nordstrom, 84, died May 25 in Fremont, Neb. He did graduate study at Maywood Seminary School of Missions and doctoral study at McCormick Seminary. He served parishes in Kansas, Nebraska and Texas, and was a U.S. Navy chaplain in Texas, South Carolina, Virginia and in Vietnam. He is survived by his wife Joan, three children, 12 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.


Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary Class of 1952

Ora Nell Paige (nee Henniger), 93, died July 29 in Charlottesville, Va. She attended seminary after a year of teaching math at a junior high school in Texas. At seminary, she obtained her masters degree in religious education, and also met her husband who she married in 1951. She was preceded in death by her husband Eugene and is survived by two children and a grandson.


1931-2022 | Augustana Theological Seminary Class of 1960

Ralph Peterson, 90, died June 7 in Pittsfield, Mass., after a brief illness.

Prior to seminary, he received a master’s degree ins education from Harvard University. After graduate studies at Columbia University, he was executive director of the Department of Ministry at the National Council of Churches in New York City. Peterson made is mark as pastor of Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church in New York City (1966-1980) during which an agreement was reached with Citibank to sell the land to the bank with the condition that a new church building be constructed in its original location, next to the bank’s new skyscraper. Peterson then developed a health-focused ministry and founded the Open Congregation, serving as president. He was named to the Henry Sloan Coffin Chair of Religion at the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. He became a priest in the Episcopal Church and served as warden of the House of the Redeemer (mansion) in New York City. Peterson was preceded in death by his wife Birgitta and is survived by his son and four grandchildren.


1926-2022 | Augustana Theological Seminary 1957

Melvin Theodore Peterson, 96, died August 20 in Liberty, Mo. Peterson served congregations in Iowa, Connecticut, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana and Kentucky. He also founded a ministry center in Kentucky which included a children’s program of Christian Education, food pantry and clothes closet. He is survived by his wife Lorena, four children and six grandchildren.


1949-2022 | Class of 1979

Bill Sass, 72, of Palisade, Minn., died June 2. He worked as the farm news director and announcer at rural radio stations before attending LSTC. He served rural congregations in Illinois and Minnesota, and Bethel Lutheran Church in Palisade at the time of his death. He was preceded in death by his parents and his daughter. He is survived by his wife Susan and three sons.


Class of 1975

Dean “Bub” McAllister Stewart, died Aug. 2 in Robbinsdale, Minn., of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. Stewart served congregations in Ohio, Illinois and Idaho. He loved introducing newer theological scholarship to congregations, enlivening and diversifying participation in worship and the poetic wordplay of preaching. In 2010 he received the LSTC Distinguished Alumni Award. He is survived by his wife Gretchen, three children and five grandchildren.


1928-2022 | Augustana Theological Seminary 1955

Lloyd E. Stivers, Jr., 94, died August 25 in Sioux Falls, S.D.

He served in the U.S. Marine Corp. He received a master’s in education from Augustana University, Sioux Falls, S.D, in 1974.

He served parishes in Indiana and South Dakota before working as a correctional counselor and principal of Calvin Coolidge High School at the South Dakota State Penitentiary. He also served as the chaplain at the South Dakota Air National Guard. He was preceded in death by his wife Dorothy Risley and is survived by his wife Beverly, three children and four grandchildren.

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