Nerenhausen, Rev. Gerald
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Rev. Gerald Nerenhausen was born 17 May 1925, in Mt. Vernon, Illinois to Frank and Stella (Kruse) Nerenhausen. He became a Naval Aviator and served for 5 years during WWII. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Capital University where he studied biology. He went on to become an ordained Pastor through Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus OH. In 1950 he married Dorothy Irene Huget and the couple had 5 children: Kim (Rebecca), Tanis (Mike Mittelman), Scott, Amy (Larry Schiebel) & Frank (Denise). He received his first call to Plymouth/Random Lake, WI where he designed and built his first church. This became one of many building projects that he would lead throughout his life. Gerald next served at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Waverly, IA. In 1960 the family settled in Oshkosh where Rev. Nerenhausen began his 45-year service to Zion Lutheran Church.
Attending to the needs of the most vulnerable and helpless in the community became his mission. Together with Rev. Al Weinbender, and Rev. Ed Koch he started a movement to build Bethel Home. His skill and acumen for architecture and construction led him to build Simeanna I (senior living on Westfield St.), Gilead I, II & III (apartments for the Chronically Mentally Ill), Jomar Apartments (senior living on 16th St.) and Zion Apartments (secure living for the elderly) which is adjacent to Zion Lutheran Church on Sawyer St.; the new sanctuary complex that Nerenhausen built in 1969 in response to the needs of his growing congregation.
Jericho Road Ministries was started to coordinate the growing list of service organizations and facilities in the community. Tender Loving Care (TLC) & The Learning Garden (TLG) Day-Care Centers, Eldercare Adult Day-Care Center, Zion Food Program (Lutheran Food Program) and Job's Closet (Second Chance) thrift store became part of Jericho Road Ministries which, under his capable and visionary direction became a driving force for good, serving thousands of people in Winnebago Co.
When not nurturing souls, Gerald nurtured the land. His great delights were to be either on his tractor or getting dirt under his nails while planting, weeding or picking. He was a student of Civil War history and Biblical Archaeology, traveled widely, and studied architecture.
His faith in God and the goodness of people, strong work ethic, visionary leadership, creativity, acute ability to see the possible where no one else could, and his belief that he was put on this Earth to be a positive force for good made a man like no other who will be sorely missed by all he has helped, mentored, served, taught, and loved. We will always hear your whistle.
Rev Gerald Nerenhausen was preceded in death by his parents and one brother. He is survived by his wife, 5 children, 11 grandchildren, 2 sisters and a brother.
Memorials have been established through the University of Iowa Foundation
and The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. Donations can be made directly to those organizations (instructions below) or checks can be made out to the Gerald Nerenhausen Memorial Fund and sent to St. John's Lutheran Church, 491 Old Oregon Rd. Oshkosh WI 54902
Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund: http://www.fallenheroesfund.org
UI Foundation P.O. Box 4550, Iowa City, IA 52244-4550 or made on-line at: http://www.givetoiowa.org/cancer to support prostate cancer research at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center. On the memo line please note Rev. Gerald F. Nerenhausen 30-506-029. Credit card gifts are accepted by calling Toll Free 800-648-6973, Ext. 895.
Visitation will be at St Johns Lutheran Church, 491 Old Oregon Rd, Oshkosh, WI from 9:00 to 11:00. Funeral services will follow at 11:00. Committal will be at St Johns cemetery.
Published in Oshkosh Northwestern from June 28 to June 30, 2013