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The Rev. Jennifer Anderson Koenig

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The Rev. Jennifer Anderson Koenig Obituary
Died: Sept. 20, 2013

The Rev. Jennifer Anderson Koenig, who served as associate college pastor at St. Olaf College for more than 15 years, died Sept. 20, 2013, at the age of 47. In life and in death, she was surrounded by the love of her family and many, many friends.

Jennifer was born in St. Charles, and, at the age of 2, moved to Geneva with her family. She attended Geneva High School, where she served as class president for three years, was a member of the National Honor Society, competed at the Illinois State Track and Field Championships and was active in many school programs.

She had a love for dance and choreography, which led her to become a dance major at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. She graduated from St. Olaf in 1987. After college, she pursued a career in the arts. For three years, she performed with a professional modern dance company, Ballet Harren. She was called to the ministry, however, and in 1994 she earned her master of divinity degree from Luther Seminary, where she served for three years on the dance and fine arts committee.

Jennifer served in parish ministry in West Des Moines, Iowa at St. Mark's Lutheran Church before coming to St. Olaf in 1997. She described the St. Olaf position as her "dream call," and devoted herself to leading campus worship, preaching, and counseling students. "One of her greatest strengths was her sincere willingness to sit down and have a meaningful conversation at any time with anyone," says longtime colleague and retired College Pastor Bruce Benson. "She took a genuine interest in people's lives, and that endeared her to so many."

Koenig worked with a variety of departments across campus, from the arts to the sciences. However, the many personal relationships that she developed with students and faculty over the years are her enduring legacy. One of the spaces in Regents Hall of Natural and Mathematical Sciences is named in her honor as a gift from parents of a former student. In addition, several musical pieces, either commissioned by parents of former students, friends of the college, or friends of Jennifer, have been composed and performed in her honor.

Jennifer loved poetry and the arts. She was an avid writer of letters and notes – always seeking to honor her friends' birthdays, to comfort them in grief, or to celebrate even the most mundane things. She saw beauty, profundity, and the opportunity to ask more questions in everything she encountered. Her smile was luminous and her laugh was full-bodied, endearing, and infectious. She loved to celebrate God's creation in and with others.

Active in the community as well as on campus, Koenig mentored high school students, helped lead the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Malaria Campaign and actively organized neighborhood gatherings where new neighbors could meet new friends.

Her CaringBridge site details her battle with glioblastoma.

Survivors include her husband, David; her children, Anders and Sylvia; her father, John Anderson of Geneva; her sister Karla (Chuck) Boucek and their children Lian and Ana of Grayslake; her father-in-law, Robert (Jan) Koenig of Grand Beach, Mich.; her sisters-in-law, Lindsey (Peter) Allen of Weston, Mass., Jamie (Dan) Rau of Valparaiso, Ind.; her aunt Jean Murray of Lafayette, Calif.; her aunt Mary Ann Bergeson of Hannibal, Mo.; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her mother and mother-in-law.

Her husband summarized the care that Jennifer received during her illness with this message on the Caring Bridge site, "Thank you, again, for giving Jennifer the peace and love that she had during her illness. She left us with the warmth of that love wrapping her soul. She was never afraid, and she has all of you to thank for that."

A worship service and memorial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at Boe Chapel on the Campus of St. Olaf College. Visitation will be 3 to 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, in the Black and Gold Ballroom in Buntrock Commons at St. Olaf.

Memorials are preferred to St. Olaf College in honor of the ministry of Jennifer Anderson Koenig.

Arrangements are with the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home. www.northfieldfuneral.com.
Published in Kane County Chronicle on Sept. 24, 2013
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