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7400 S Minnesota Ave
Sioux Falls, SD
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Reverend Dr. Bruce M. Williams

1937 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Reverend Dr. Bruce M. Williams Obituary
Reverend Dr. Bruce M. Williams

Rev. Bruce M. Williams, former mission developer and senior pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls (1984-1999), passed away on October 25, 2016 at Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota after a lengthy illness. Visitation with the family present will be from 4 to 7 pm on Friday, October 28, 2016, at Miller Funeral Home Southside Chapel, 7400 South Minnesota Avenue. A funeral service will be held at 11 am on Saturday, October 29, 2016, at Our Savior's Lutheran Church Sanctuary with private interment at Woodlawn Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any memorials be directed to the Williams-Engel Scholarship Fund at Augustana University, Our Savior's Lutheran Church Foundation, and/or Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Bruce was born on November 19, 1937 at Wakonda, SD to Esther and Marsden Williams at the end of the Great Depression. They later moved to Sioux City, Iowa and then to Watertown, SD where Bruce graduated from high school in 1956. Soon after his graduation, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he served in the lst Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, CA as a chaplain's assistant.

In the fall of 1958, Bruce entered Augustana College (now Augustana University) in Sioux Falls. On August 6, 1960, Bruce married Karel Engel at First Lutheran Church in Brookings, SD.

Upon graduation in 1962, Bruce joined the Augustana staff as an admissions counselor for the next two years. During these years, the calling into the ministry became more focused and the decision was made to enroll at Luther Theological Seminary, St. Paul, MN in the fall of 1964.

After three years of study and receiving the Master of Divinity degree, Bruce was ordained a pastor in the American Lutheran Church (ALC) on June 18, 1967 at his home congregation, Grace Lutheran Church in Watertown.

This was followed by forty-six years of parish ministry including Trinity Lutheran Church, Mason City, Ia; Belleview-Bethany Lutheran Parish, Howard, SD; Trinity Lutheran Church, Vermillion, SD; and Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, SD.

After a brief retirement in 1999, Bruce and Karel began a ten-year (2003-2013) journey of interim senior pastor ministry in seven congregations: Our Savior's Lutheran, Rochester, MN; Grace Lutheran, Sioux Falls; Bethany Lutheran, Batavia, IL; Ezekiel Lutheran, River Falls, WI; First Lutheran, Fargo, ND; Hope Lutheran, Sioux Falls, SD; and Our Savior's Lutheran, Sioux Falls where he served until August, 2013.

Bruce served on several boards throughout his ministry: Board of Regents at Augustana; Alumni Council of Augustana; The Rural Learning Center, Howard, SD; Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota; The Center for Western Studies at Augustana College and Lutherans Outdoors in South Dakota, the camping ministry of the South Dakota Synod (ELCA). Bruce and family attended family camp at Outlaw Ranch, near Custer, SD, for over forty years. In the summer of 1975, he also took a leave of absence from the parish to be the director of Atlantic Mt. Ranch, a high adventure camp for youth northwest of Custer.

In 1984, he received the Bush Foundation Fellowship Award for study toward receiving the Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) degree from Luther Seminary; in 2004 the Faithfulness in Ministry Cross Award from Luther Seminary; and in 2006, the Alumni Achievement Award from Augustana.

Bruce is survived by his wife of 56 years, Karel of Sioux Falls; two children: Todd (Mary) of Deer Park, IL; Tana (Garin) Bogenholm of Roseville, MN; five grandchildren: Kaitlin, Taylor, Colter Williams; and Teague, Liam Bogenholm; a brother, Barry (Sheila) Williams of Sioux Falls.

He was preceded in death by his parents and grandparents.

For full obituary and online registry, please visit www.millerfh.com
Published in The Argus Leader on Oct. 27, 2016
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