Obituaries

Receive Nebraska District Obituaries of ordained ministers, widows of pastors, and commissioned teachers in the Nebraska District by email by subscribing to our obituaries email list.  Click here to subscribe.

An archive of obituaries starting from late 2019 is available at this link.

Please note: Our office relies on families, congregations, and schools to provide obituary information. If you do not see an obituary here that you believe should be shared with the district, please contact communications@ndlcms.org to notify us.

Below are obituaries from the past 6 months.

Rev. Dan Heuer - December 2, 2022

The Celebration of Life Service for Pastor Dan Heuer will be Monday, December 5, 2022, at 4 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, Fremont, Nebraska.  

It will be live-streamed (and remain available) at https://trinityfremont.com/live/ and on the Trinity, Fremont, Nebraska Facebook page.   

The Reverend Daniel E. Heuer, Fremont, Nebraska, departed this life on Friday, December 2, 2022, at the age of 66.  Dan was born November 18, 1956, in Glencoe, Minnesota, to Leonard ”Buddy” and Myra (Bentz) Heuer. He grew up on their farm in Hamburg, Minnesota, and graduated from Lutheran High School in Mayer, Minnesota, in 1974.  He attended Concordia Teacher’s College in Seward, Nebraska, where he met his wife Debbie (Schaefer). They were married July 1, 1979, in Edwardsville, Illinois.

After graduation, Dan taught 7th grade and was the youth director at Holy Cross Lutheran Church & School in Detroit, Michigan (1979-1982). They then moved to Spring, Texas, where he also taught 7th grade and was youth director at Trinity Lutheran Church & School, Klein, Texas (1982-1984).  In 1984, Dan helped to start Concordia Lutheran High School in Tomball, Texas, and was called to be the Spiritual Life Director and teach the Scripture classes.  From 1987-1989 Dan also served as principal there. Throughout his teaching career he coached wrestling, soccer, football, girls softball, and even cheerleading!

In 1989 God led Dan (and family) to Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. Dan was ordained into the pastoral ministry in 1993. He served as pastor at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Davenport, Nebraska (1993-1998); Holy Cross Lutheran Church and University Lutheran Center in Kearney, Nebraska (1998-2002); Zion Lutheran Church, Hastings, Nebraska (2002-2006); and Trinity Lutheran Church, Fremont, Nebraska (2006-2021).

Dan served as an LWML Pastoral Counselor for the Deshler Zone and Nebraska South District and was the National LWML Pastoral Counselor from 2001-2005. He also served on various committees in the Nebraska District of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod; served in the Volunteer Fire Department and Lions Club in Davenport, Nebraska; and was on the board of directors for Life Choices in Fremont, Nebraska.

To know Dan was to love him. He loved his Lord and his family very much. He had a fun sense of humor, which he brought into his ministry. He was ”not normal.” Dan loved to cut up and paint cars, and at one time owned a hearse.  He also loved M&M’s and called them his ”Ephesians candy.”  They remind us we are ”in Christ,” just as the chocolate (sin, messes) is inside the shell, Christ is our covering!

Dan’s contagious smile, his selfless generosity, and his fervor with which he served the Lord and others were an example for many and will be missed by all who knew him.

He is survived by his wife, Deb, of Fremont; children, Aaron (Calli Ryals), Chagrin Falls, Ohio; Sarah (Thad) Sankey, Jamestown, North Dakota; Rebekah (Karl) Amereller, Parker, Colorado; and John, Omaha, Nebraska; seven grandchildren; his mother, Myra (Bentz) Heuer, Young America, Minnesota; two brothers, Mark (Sheila) Heuer, Bullard, Texas; Tom (Lori) Heuer, Hamburg, Minnesota; father-in-law, Vernon Schaefer, Godfrey, Illinois; in-laws, Dan (Susan) Schaefer, Giddings, Texas; Ruth Duda, Wichita, Kansas; and Cathy (Chris) Demeur, Buffalo Grove, Illinois; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.  Dan was preceded in death by his father, Buddy Heuer, and his mother-in-law, Roberta Schaefer. 

Visitation was at Trinity Lutheran Church, Fremont, on Sunday, December 4, with family present from 2pm to 5pm. The Celebration of Life service will be at 4:00pm on Monday, December 5, 2022, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Fremont.  Private family burial will be held in Memorial Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be made to Mission Central, Trinity Lutheran Church, or any local Lutheran school.  Ludvigsen Mortuary in Fremont is in charge of arrangements.

Condolences may be sent to Mrs. Deb Heuer, 2487 N. Nye Avenue, Fremont, Nebraska 68025.  

Rev. Dr. David Meyer - November 23, 2022

The Reverend Dr. David Paul Meyer, pastor emeritus, Seward, Nebraska, departed this life on Wednesday, November 23, 2022, at the age of 85.  David was born on May 24, 1937, to Bernhardt and Mattie (Thomson) Meyer in Spirit Lake, Iowa. He was baptized at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Spirit Lake, Iowa, and confirmed at St. John Lutheran Church in Harris, Iowa.  After graduating from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, with an M.Div. and S.T.M. degrees, he was ordained as a minister in The Lutheran Church—Missouri  Synod in 1963.   

On Thanksgiving day, November 23, 1961, he was united in marriage to Judith Poellot at Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest, Illinois.  David received his Doctorate from Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary. His first call was serving as town-gown pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, from 1963-1966. 

He then served as a professor at Concordia University-Seward from 1966-2004. David also taught Theology for the Kansas District Lay Leader Program and Nebraska Lay Institutes. He joined the faculty for Trinity Theological Seminary and served from 1985-2016. He also taught courses on the New Testament, Christian Ethics, Church History, and Philosophy.  David served as thesis mentor for Rev. Dr. Dirk Reek, Rev. Dr. Charles Blanco, Dr. Timothy Rippstein, and dozens of other students around the country and the world. 

He received an Academic Achievement Award from Trinity Theological Seminary for his dissertation in 1983. He was a member of St. John Lutheran Church in Seward, and he spent countless Sundays providing ministry to rural congregations in the area. He was also involved in professional and academic organizations such as the American Philosophical Society as well as the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. In his free time, he enjoyed listening to jazz music, classic cars, fishing, and tending to anything and everything around the household. 

David is survived by his wife, Judith Meyer, of Seward, Nebraska; sons, David John Meyer of Des Moines, Iowa, Andrew (Christa) Meyer of Ringgold, Georgia, Thaddeus (Bethany) Meyer of Seward, Nebraska, and Jeremy P. Meyer of Tempe, Arizona; grandchildren, Elaine (Jordan) Brown, Stephen Meyer, Jonathan Meyer, Emily Meyer, Ben Meyer, and Nathan Meyer; great granddaughter, Cece Brown; brothers-in-law, Dan (Ruth) Poellot, Mike (Rhonda) Poellot, and sister-in-law, Peggy Poellot.  David was preceded in death by his parents, Bernhardt and Mattie Meyer, and brother, Donald Meyer. 

The funeral service was held on Thursday, December 1, 2022, at St. John Lutheran Church, Seward, Nebraska.  Interment was on December 1st at Greenwood Cemetery, Seward, Nebraska. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Concordia University Church Worker’s Fund or St. John Lutheran Church.   

Condolences may be sent to Mrs. Judy Meyer, 111 N. Columbia Avenue, Seward, Nebraska 68434.  

Rev. John Ryding - November 22, 2022

Service will be held at Christ Lutheran Church in O’Neill on Saturday, December 10, 2022, at 10:30 am with a potluck afterward.   

The Reverend John August Ryding, Hillsboro, Kansas, departed this life on November 22, 2022, at the age of 71.  John was born on May 7, 1951, to Rev. Donald Ryding and Elizabeth (Buskist) Ryding in Nipawin, Saskatchewan, Canada.  He was the first of five children followed by David, Marilyn, Mark, and Jeanette. 

In 1954, John’s dad received a call to serve the Lord in Frederic, Wisconsin, leaving behind the cold winters of Canada with warm memories.  The family remained there until 1960, when they moved to Sycamore, Illinois. 

John received his own calling from God and followed in the footsteps of his father. He attended Concordia High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  In 1971, he graduated from Concordia University—Wisconsin where he then went on to attend Concordia Senior College at Ft. Wayne, Indiana, graduating in 1973.  Studying theology, he graduated in the class of 1977 at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.  

He met Kathy Petersen in Wichita, Kansas, during his vicarage at Ascension Lutheran Church.  After a brief courtship, he proposed to Kathy and after taking some time to consider, she accepted. John received his first call during their engagement and moved to Nebraska where he served three churches of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod: Immanuel, Spencer; Immanuel, Butte; and Christ, Lynch. 

The young couple was married on December 30, 1977, after which Kathy joined him in Nebraska. They quickly started their family, welcoming their first daughter, Rebecca Christine, in September, 1978, followed by their second daughter, Jennie Rae, in October, 1980.  In 1982, John received his second call to serve a dual parish in Hillsboro and Marion, Kansas. They remained in Hillsboro, raised their family, and welcomed their third daughter, Anne Elizabeth, in February, 1987. 

During his time serving both communities, he became a volunteer ambulance driver, which drove him to earn his Emergency Medical Technician license.  He was promoted to Captain of the EMS squad after a few years. In addition, he acted as chaplain for local law enforcement when the need arose.  He saved lives not only spiritually, but physically. He would take his daughters with him on his visits to shut-ins, learned the layouts of many hospitals, baptized countless babies, performed numerous wedding ceremonies, and brought comfort to those mourning the loss of their loved ones. 

John was an Amateur Radio Operator and a member of Army MARS (Military Amateur Radio Service).  He talked to people around the world and helped with disaster communications. He also started the first Command Bus in Marion County used in disaster assistance and aid.  He was enthusiastic about anything electronic and built his first Ham radio. Also, he loved his iPad and iPhone. You could always find him playing cards or a “hidden object” game, watching silly YouTube videos, listening to music, or browsing Facebook. 

In 2003, John and his family took his last call back to where it all started in 1977. Christ Lutheran Church of O’Neill, Nebraska, had a vacancy. It was a hard decision, but he followed what God wanted, as always, and relocated his family one last time.  In 2015, John officially retired.  He continued to provide spiritual care to surrounding communities, filled vacancies while churches called pastors, and supervised new pastors. He also served Chambers and Bartlett, Nebraska, during this time.  

In 2019, John suffered a severe heart attack and multiple strokes. He underwent bypass surgery in Norfolk, Nebraska, did rehab in Lincoln, and was then transferred to skilled nursing in Hesston, Kansas.  He was able to go home in fall of 2019 but was no longer able to serve. The night before his heart attack, his only worry was that there was church the next morning and he was the only one that could do it. His call never stopped, his faith never waned.  John lived the next three years in Hillsboro, Kansas, with his wife, Kathy, and their oldest daughter a few blocks away with their three grandchildren. 

Pastor Ryding is survived by his wife, Kathryn, of Hillsboro, Kansas; three daughters, Rebecca Ryding of Hillsboro, Kansas, Jennie (Ron) Doty of Casa Grande, Arizona, and Anne (Jess) Duda of O’Neill, Nebraska; grandchildren, Olivia First, Maxwell First, and Ryker First; mother, Elizabeth Ryding-Spicer of O’Neill, Nebraska; brother, David (Irene) Ryding of Lahaina, Hawaii; sister, Marilyn (P.J.) Giammaria of Burbank, California; nieces, nephews, and cousins.  He is preceded in death by his father, Rev. Donald Ryding, brother Mark Ryding, and sister Jeanette Ryding-Thompson. 

A service was held at Zion Lutheran Church in Hillsboro on Saturday, December 3, 2022, and another will be held at Christ Lutheran Church in O’Neill on Saturday, December 10, 2022, at 10:30 a.m. with a potluck afterward.  John wanted everyone to wear blue jeans and to have a traditional Lutheran potluck.  Memorials can be made to the churches he served or to your local Fire/EMS department.    

Condolences may be sent to Mrs. Kathy Ryding, 308 N. Lincoln Street, Hillsboro, Kansas 67063.  

Edward Martens - October 27, 2022

Edmund R. Martens, Commissioned Minister—Teacher Emeritus, departed this life on October 27, 2022, in Lincoln, Nebraska. He was born on November 30, 1928, in Buhl, Idaho, to Rudolf and Henrietta (Becher) Martens. He graduated from Concordia Teachers College (now University), Seward, in 1949, and received a Master’s Degree from the University of Southern California in 1961. Throughout his career he served as a teacher, principal, and music professor. Congregations and schools served include: Immanuel, Columbus, NE (1949-1951), St. John, Orange, CA (1951-1966), and Concordia College, Seward, NE (1966-1991); retiring in January of 1991.

He was appointed as the director of the A Cappella choir for 21 years. He took hundreds of these students (“Pelicans”) on eight tours of Europe and many stateside tours, making lifetime friends along the way. He also composed and published music for bell choirs and Orff arrangements for children. After 49 years of ministry, Edmund spent his retirement teaching English as a second language, often enhancing the curriculum with the hymnal, catechism, and church services for his students so they could hear The Word while learning words.

Mr. Martens is survived by his four daughters, Allegra (Clark) Koehler of Seward, Melanie Martens of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Renee (Rick) Nolte of Nehawka, and Ronda (Rodney) Wescott of Lincoln; son, Sean (Brenda) Martens of Apple Valley, Minnesota; sister-in-law, Dorothy Schnackenberg of Carpinteria, California; ten grandchildren: Gavin (Michaela) Koehler of Gretna, Alexander (Samantha) Koehler of Lincoln, Nathan Nolte of Omaha, Justin (Morgan) Nolte of Plattsmouth, Rachel Wescott of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Rebecca (Nathanael) Haugen of Knoxville, Tennessee, Devin (Megan) Martens of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Zachary (Sarah) Martens of Mankato, Minnesota, Madeline Martens of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and Luke Martens of Winona, Minnesota; six great-grandchildren (Wyatt, Dawson, Ada, Leah, Henry and Nora); many nieces and nephews; and the Pelicans who still call him “Dad.” He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Ruth; grandson, Ian Edmund Koehler; two brothers, Donald (Martha) Martens, Waldo (Ruth) Martens; and sister, Katherine Martens.

Visitation will be at Zabka-Perdue Funeral Home in Seward on November 2 from 1:00-7:00 p.m. with family receiving friends from 5:00-7:00 p.m. A graveside service and interment will be at Greenwood Cemetery in Seward on November 3, beginning at 9:00 a.m. The funeral service will be held November 3, at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Lincoln, beginning at 11:00 a.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Edmund and Ruth Martens Music Scholarship Fund at Concordia University, Seward; to Redeemer Lutheran Church, Lincoln; or donor’s choice.

Dr. Larry Grothaus - October 4, 2022

Dr. Larry H. C. Grothaus, Commissioned Minister—Teacher Emeritus, departed this life on October 4, 2022. He was born on January 5, 1930, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to William and Dorothea (Horstmann) Grothaus. He attended school and was confirmed at Zion Lutheran in Fort Wayne. He graduated from Concordia Teachers College, River Forest, Illinois (now Concordia University, Chicago) in 1954. He later received his Master’s Degree in History from the University of Missouri in Columbia in 1959 and a PhD in History in 1970. He was a member of the Organization of American Historians, the State Historical Society, and other professional organizations. Throughout his career he served as teacher, dormitory counselor, professor of history, Assistant Academic Dean, and Dean of Liberal Arts. Congregations and schools served include: St. John, Hamlin, NY; St. Paul’s College, Concordia, MO; Concordia University, Seward, NE; retiring in January of 1998.

Dr. Grothaus is survived by his wife, Doris (Gudgel); children: Cheryl, Timothy (Marian), Christine (Randolph), and Peter (Lynne); grandchildren: Luke (Jamie), Jessica (Nicholas), Catherine (Kevin), Joel, Graham (Elise), Rachel (Johnathon), Bethany (Tyler), Clair, Lydia (Ian), Philip, and Rose; great grandchildren: Ethan, Rachel, Ethan, Kaelynn, Elise, Jack, Oliver, Rylen, Austyn, and Carson. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Virginia.

Visitation will be held at Volzke Funeral Home in Seward on Monday, October 10, 2022 from 1:00-8:00 p.m. with gathering of family and friends from 6:30-8:00 p.m. The funeral service will be held October 11, 2022, at St. John Lutheran Church in Seward. A private committal service will be held at Greenwood Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, Larry and his family ask that you donate to one of the following: The Larry and Doris Grothaus Concordia History Scholarship, St. John’s Lutheran Church, or the Seward Public Library.

A full obituary may be read HERE.

Rev. Dr. Marvin Bergman - August 24, 2022

The Reverend Dr. Marvin M. Bergman, pastor emeritus, Seward, Nebraska, departed this life on Wednesday, August 24, 2022, in Seward, Nebraska, at the age of 88.  He was born on January 8, 1934, in Philip, South Dakota, to Rev. Elmer and Laura (Meyer) Bergman where his Dad was serving two congregations in Philip and Midland, South Dakota.  He was baptized into the LCMS faith two weeks later.  His Dad would faithfully serve both congregations driving his Model T back and forth between, and would most often be “paid” in goats and chickens for his work.  Marv would learn to detest goat cheese and goat milk for the rest of his life.

The family made their way to Ernestville, Missouri (near Concordia), with Elmer being installed in 1937 as pastor, organist, and principal of St. Matthew Lutheran Church and School.  When Marv was in the elementary grades in the 1-room schoolhouse, he would move his chair closer to the older kids’ area to eavesdrop on their lessons.  This would likely be the catalyst to inspire an insatiable need for lifetime learning.  Anyone who knew Marv knew that he was constantly exploring different fields: the Brain, Faith Formation, Family Life, Confirmation, Theology and Moral Development, Sociology, the New Testament, Apologetics, and of course: Orcharding, Beekeeping (before it was cool), and Gardening.

His high school years were spent at Concordia Academy, Concordia, Missouri.  In addition to his studies, he loved to play baseball and basketball, especially because he had a team of brothers and sisters ready and willing to play at the parsonage: Norman, twins Ron and Don, Gerry, Carol, and Margaret.  Some of you reading this may be smiling at adventures you either experienced first-hand or heard about regarding the Bergman Brothers and their propensity to live life to the fullest.  Dad was the nurturing oldest brother who tried to keep the siblings in order.  Try as he might, there are stories out there, all in great fun.

Marvin was confirmed into the faith in 1947.  He would then graduate from Concordia Academy in 1951 and earned his Bachelors Degree from Concordia, Austin, Texas, in 1956.  He also took some graduate classes at the University of Texas before his deep desire to be a pastor and share the knowledge of Christ with the world. He received his theological training at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, in 1958, and did his vicarage at Trinity Lutheran, Orlando, Florida.

After his vicarage, Marvin went to Denver to see his folks who then were relocating to Colorado.  While he was in Denver for the summer, and through the clever matchmaking of his mother, Marvin met his future wife Shirley, a teacher and organist.  Marvin and Shirley were married in Archbold, Ohio, on Easter afternoon, 1960.  They were inseparable for 62 blessed years.

Marvin received a call to start a church in General Motor’s backyard in Warren, Michigan, in 1960.  He wore out three pairs of shoes in just a couple of months canvassing the neighborhoods and introducing the mission church “Holy Cross.”  Soon after, the building was erected, and Marvin and Shirley started their own family with the blessing of a daughter, Joy Angela, in 1963, and son, Jonathon David, in 1966.  The family would remain in Michigan until Marvin prayerfully considered furthering his education and getting his Doctorate.  The family relocated in 1967 to the Upper West Side of NYC, and he would graduate in 1970 with his Ed.D. from Union Seminary, Columbia University.

He received a divine call to Concordia, Seward, Nebraska, later that summer.  He had an idyllic experience spending the formative professional years and familial years in Seward, making multitudes of lifetime friendships and worshiping at St. John.  Marvin was a vacancy pastor for the Nebraska District for years, traveling to many churches throughout the state to spread the Word.  He would eventually serve Peace, Waco, Nebraska, for over ten years while teaching a full course load at Concordia.  He loved working with the students at Concordia.

Always a student himself, Marvin received a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska in 1982.  His wife Shirley was also earning her Ph.D. around that time, and the two became a dynamic pair in the LCMS, doing numerous workshops throughout the country for the next 25 years.  They were a busy couple, and their life together was blessed immeasurably.

Marvin will always be remembered as a loving and generous man.  He would say: Give our Father in Heaven thanks and gratitude for the multitude of blessings he gives each and every one of us, every day. To God be the Glory, forever and ever.

He is survived by wife Dr. Shirley Bergman; daughter Joy Angela (David); son Jon (Caroline); and four grandsons:  Christian Ray, and Ty, Henry, and Harrison Bergman.

The funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 30, 2022, at St. John Lutheran Church in Seward.  Visitation will be held on Monday, August 29, from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. with a gathering of family and friends from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at Volzke Funeral Home in Seward.

Condolences may be sent to Mrs. Shirley Bergman, 1610 N. Columbia Avenue, Seward, Nebraska 68434.

Rev. Charles Gierke - August 5, 2022

The Reverend Charles A. Gierke, pastor emeritus, Omaha, Nebraska, departed this life on Friday, August 5, 2022, at the age of 81. Charles Arnold Gierke was born March 10, 1941, in Billings, Montana, the first of five children born to Arnold and Lillian (Schmeichel) Gierke. On March 30, 1941, he was baptized into the death and resurrection of his Lord Jesus Christ at Hardin Lutheran Mission, Hardin, Montana. Charles lived in Hardin until moving with the family to Butte, Montana, when his father became the pastor of St. Mark Lutheran Church. Charles confirmed his Baptismal faith on Pentecost Sunday, June 5, 1955. His Confirmation verse was 2 Corinthians 5:15, He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.

The service of celebration that was scheduled for Wednesday, August 10, 2022 has been postponed due to family members coming down with Covid. It will be held on Wednesday, August 24, at 10:00 a.m. with visitation an hour prior to the service at Divine Shepherd Lutheran Church, 15005 Q Street, Omaha, Nebraska. 

Charles attended a year of high school in Butte. Then, in preparation for the pastoral ministry in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, he left home to attend Concordia High School in Portland, Oregon. Prior to beginning college, Charles took part in a Walther League-sponsored program as a Caravaner. He and his team traveled to the Midwest, visiting and working with youth and youth leaders, leading Bible studies, and initiating or participating in various other church activities. He then continued his pastoral education at Concordia Jr. College in Portland, Oregon; Concordia Sr. College in Ft. Wayne, Indiana; and Concordia Theological Seminary in Springfield, Illinois, with a third year seminary vicarage assignment at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church/School in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

He briefly met his future wife, Joyce Duchow, on a train trip with a college roommate. It wasn’t until several years and trips later when he decided she was The One. Prior to beginning his vicarage year in Wauwatosa, Charles and Joyce were joined in holy matrimony at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Flint, Michigan, on August 1, 1965. Their marriage was blessed with five children: Gail, Paul, John, Karin, and Sean.

Charles graduated from the seminary on May 26, 1967. On June 25, 1967, he was ordained into the ministry of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod by his father at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Belvidere, Illinois. His first Call was as a missionary-at-large to west Flint, Michigan, where he and Joyce initiated and continued the process of starting a new congregation, St. Andrew Lutheran Church. With his dedicated work ethic and her music and organ abilities, Charles always said they made a good pair: he worked and she played!

In 1974, Charles also served as the presiding pastor to assist in forming Hope Lutheran Church in Linden, Michigan. He and Joyce continued their ministry in the following congregations: Bethel Lutheran Church/School, Westmont, Illinois (1974-1985); Immanuel Lutheran Church/School, Columbus, Nebraska (1986-1995); and St. Mark Lutheran Church/Preschool, Omaha, Nebraska (1995-2006). He retired from active parish ministry on March 31, 2006.

During his years of ministry, Charles was active on various boards and commissions in the districts where he served, including as a mentor for the Consecrated Stewards program in the Nebraska District, and was an invited participant at several synodical stewardship conferences. He was also involved in the communities in which he lived, using the gifts God had given him throughout his life: police chaplain; religious columnist; hospital board of ethics member; speaker in radio ministry—one of his school-age skills he continued as an adult; and member of Rotary International, receiving the Paul Harris Fellow award from the Rotary Foundation.

In ministry and in retirement, Charles was a Godly mentor. He supervised a deaconess, several vicars, participated in the PALS (Post-Seminary Applied Learning and Support) program, and worked in Omaha with Sudanese men preparing for the pastorate. Gifted by God in the areas of missions and stewardship, he passionately promoted these in his family life as well as with his church members and friends. He was also an excellent Bible teacher. Ask any of his children how well he knew the Scriptures when their misbehavior needed correcting or when their challenges in life needed a fatherly piece of advice!

Some of the most memorable times with Charles had to do with his quick wit and sense of humor. He often could not remember the punchline of a joke, which made his telling of the joke funnier. Unless he was in the pulpit preaching, you never knew if he was pulling your leg! He was a teaser. He gave nicknames to people, especially family members. He enjoyed storytelling, including stories of when he was young.

However, Charles would not have listed any of these “facts of life” as being important in the long run. Rather, his confession of faith was of utmost importance: He was first and foremost a loved, redeemed, forgiven child of God, and he would have told you it was only by the power of God’s Spirit working in him that he could fulfill any of these roles. He knew the grace and mercy of God in his life and practiced it with his family, friends, and parishioners. An admonition was frequently followed by a hug or a prayer or both. He was a good listener and a thought-filled advisor. He used any opportunity to bring Jesus into a conversation. He told you often that he loved you. A frequent good-bye phrase of his was: “God bless you. I love you.” He was a humble servant for the Lord and for others.

Charles continued to live faith-fully for the Lord until the morning of August 5, 2022, when the Lord said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your Lord,” and took him Home. He was predeceased by his parents; two sisters, Judith Gierke and Karen Gehrke; one great-grandchild; several brothers- and sisters-in-law; a niece; and a nephew. Remaining to cherish his memory are his wife, Joyce; children: Gail (David) Black, Paul (Jennifer), John (Tonya), Karin (Thane) Jensen, and Sean; 12 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren; two brothers: Eugene (Linda) and Timothy (Barbara); brother-in-law, Wil Gehrke; and numerous other relatives and friends.

Thanks be to God, who has given Charles the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! 1 Corinthians 15:57

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to: Concordia University Nebraska www.cune.edu, Orphan Grain Train www.ogt.org, Concordia Seminary St. Louis www.csl.edu, or Mission Central of LCMS Missions https://missioncentral.us.

Condolences may be sent to Mrs. Joyce Gierke, 15726 Westchester Circle, Omaha, Nebraska 68118.

Mrs. Betty Reimnitz - July 3, 2022

Mrs. Betty Louise Reimnitz (née Acker), widow of the Rev. Charles Reimnitz and a lifelong Nebraska native, passed away peacefully on Sunday, July 3, 2022, at the age of 90.

She was born on July 10, 1931, in the Lutheran hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, the daughter of Rev. Dr. Lawrence Acker and Vera née Fennel – Adler.  Betty was baptized on August 30, 1931, at First Lutheran Church, 31st and Jackson Streets, Omaha, Nebraska.  She had one sister, Ruth, and one brother, Herbert.

She attended Central High School in Omaha and St. John’s Academy, in Winfield, Kansas, where she met her husband, Charles.  They were married on June 7, 1953, and remained married for over 65 years.  They were married by the bride’s father with the groom’s father assisting.  They lived in New Baltimore, Michigan, briefly and then moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, where Charles was the minister at Christ Lutheran Church for almost 40 years (1958-1996).  They had four sons: John, Joel, Jess, and James.  Additionally, they had seven grandchildren:  Nicholas, Lauren, Jeremy, Sam, Joshua, Jason, and Jonas, and one great grandson, Ryden.  Betty is also survived by her niece, Judy.

Betty was active in the churches’ Altar Circle and LWML for many years.  She loved quilting and collected dolls. She was devout and devoted to her family.  She always had her sons’ best interests in mind.  She dedicated the last 30 years of her life to taking care of her youngest son, James, who was mentally ill and passed away just three months ago.

Her funeral is scheduled for Saturday, July 23 at 1:30 p.m. at Christ the Cornerstone Lutheran Church in San Diego.  In the fall there will be a graveside service in Omaha.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the following organizations would be preferred: The Lutheran Hour, National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), or Haiti Lutheran Mission Society, PO Box #22544, Lincoln, NE 68542-2544.

Edward Mueller - June 25, 2022

Edward Henry Arthur Mueller, Commissioned Minister—Teacher Emeritus, departed this life on June 25, 2022, in Lincoln, Nebraska. He was born on January 21, 1937, in Warsaw, Missouri, to Reinhardt C. L. and Emma S. J. L. (Gottula) Mueller. He graduated from Concordia Teachers College (now University), Seward, in 1959, and received a Masters Degree from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln in 1964. Throughout his career he served as a teacher, principal, and missionary. Ministries served include: Immanuel, Perryville, MO (1959-1963); First, Burbank, CA(1964-1972); and Lutheran Bible Translators in Sierra Leone and Cameroon (1973-2002), retiring in January of 2002.

Mr. Mueller is survived by his son, Mark Mueller of Staplehurst, NE; daughters, Sue Ann Warren of Albuquerque, NM, and Patricia (John) Imig of Farmer City, IL; brothers, Martin (Paula) of Omaha, NE, and Henry (Gloria) of Deale, MD; sisters, Emily Schroer of Albuquerque, NM, Rosalie Volz of Albuquerque, NM, and Mary (Steve) Spensley of Albuquerque, NM; and grandchildren, Lucas, Amaryllis, and Matthias Imig. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Dorothy.

The funeral service was held July 7, 2022, at St. John Lutheran Church in Seward. Interment was at the Seward Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials in care of Lutheran Bible Translators, 205 S. Main St., Concordia, MO 64020; or to Field of Treasure, (a nonprofit 501(c)(3) single parent’s charity), PO Box 233, Deale, MD 20751.

Rev. James Ristvedt - June 27, 2022

The Reverend James W. Ristvedt, pastor emeritus, Elkhorn, Nebraska, departed this life on Monday, June 27, 2022, at the age of 88. He was born on November 9, 1933, in Hawley, Minnesota.

After serving in the United States Air Force, Pastor Ristvedt began his seminary education at Concordia Seminary, Springfield, Illinois, in 1960. He served his vicarage in Danbury, Connecticut, at Immanuel Lutheran Church under Rev. Hans Voss and received his first call into the Holy Ministry in 1965. Expecting to be sent as a missionary to Africa, he was instead sent to a mission congregation in Picayune, Mississippi. The congregation soon outgrew the community center where they were worshiping. Rev. Ristvedt helped design and build the octagonal church which is still in use by St. Paul Lutheran Church to this day. During his time in the Southern District, he was also involved in the “His Too” campaign to develop ministry and materials for those with intellectual disabilities.

In 1973, he accepted a call to serve at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Littlefield, Texas. During his five-year tenure there, he was vacancy pastor to most of the LCMS churches in Lubbock, Texas, and several others in the upper panhandle of Texas. He received and accepted a call in 1978 to be pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Wisner, Nebraska, where he remained until 1986, when he accepted a call to be Senior Pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Denison, Iowa. After several years of service in Denison, family needs led him to move to Kingsbury, Texas, where he assisted his wife in caring for his father-in-law until his passing in 1992.

Rather than return to parish ministry, Rev. Ristvedt completed his Clinical Pastoral Education training. While doing his CPE training, he served a new mission start in New Braunfels, Texas (now Christ The King Lutheran Church). In 1993, he was hired by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice as a full-time Prison Chaplain at the Beto–1 Unit in Palestine, Texas. He served in this capacity for eight years, before retiring in 2001. The last years of his life found him serving as an occasional supply preacher at his own home congregation, Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Palestine.

The funeral service for Rev. Ristvedt will be held on Tuesday, July 5, 2022, at 10:30 a.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in Omaha. Visitation one hour before funeral. Lunch in Lakeview room following service. Committal will be at 2:00 p.m. at Omaha National Cemetery.

Condolences may be sent to Mrs. Betty Ristvedt, 20800 West Maple Road #114, Elkhorn, Nebraska 68022.

Rev. Richard Gudgel - May 11, 2022

The Reverend Richard L. Gudgel, pastor emeritus, Geneva, Nebraska, departed this life on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at the age of 78. He was born in Ainsworth, Nebraska, on May 23, 1943, to Andrew and Marie (Jochem) Gudgel. He was made a child of God through Holy Baptism on September 5, 1943, at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Ainsworth, Nebraska. On August 17, 1964, Richard married Bonita (Bonnie) Hesterberg. God blessed them with a deep love for one another and 58 years of marriage.

Richard received his B.S. in education from Concordia Teachers College (now University), Seward, Nebraska, in 1964. He later earned a Masters in Education degree from Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Missouri, and a Master of Arts in Religion from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri.

He completed the colloquy program of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, and was ordained in 1990. Pastor Gudgel served the following schools and congregations during his ministry: as teacher/principal, Immanuel, Hannibal, Missouri (1964-1968); as teacher/ principal, Immanuel, Jefferson City, Missouri (1968-1975); as teacher/principal, Christ, Juniata, Nebraska (1975-1987); as pastor, Mount Calvary, Omaha (1990-2010); as substitute pastor, St. John, Chester, and Zion, Hubbell, Nebraska (2010-2011); and as associate pastor, St. Paul, Utica (2015-2021).

Pastor Gudgel is survived by his wife, Bonnie, of Geneva; three daughters, Tawn (Kevin) Bueltmann, Bigfork, Montana, Shelley (Jerry) Dartmann, Plattsmouth, Nebraska, and Juli (Joel) Reinke, Davenport, Nebraska; one son, Michael (Karen) Gudgel, Lemont, Illinois; 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren; four siblings – Ruth Ellen Strauch, Andrew Dean Gudgel, Wayne Gudgel, and Lynnette Gibson; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by a son, Philip Gudgel.

Visitation is scheduled for Thursday, May 19, 2022, from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Volzke Funeral Home in Seward, Nebraska. The funeral service will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, May 20, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Utica, Nebraska. A luncheon will follow the funeral service and burial will take place afterwards (approximately 3:30 p.m.) at Concordia Cemetery (west of Christ Lutheran Church, 13175 W. 70th Street, Juniata, Nebraska).

Pastors are asked to vest with red stoles and meet in the preschool room before the service to process in together.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be given to Concordia University Nebraska Church Worker Fund or Mission Central, Mapleton, Iowa, to support Deaconess Kim Bueltmann, missionary to refugees in Germany.

Condolences may be sent to Mrs. Bonnie Gudgel, 1332 J Street, Geneva, Nebraska 68361.