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Dr. Rolf K. McPherson

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McPherson, Rolf K.
On Thursday, May 21, 2009, Dr. Rolf K. McPherson, son of the founder and the president emeritus of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, passed away at his home in Los Feliz. He is survived by his wife, Evangeline Carmichael McPherson; his daughter, Alicia McPherson Santacroce; two granddaughters, Heidi Ledesma and Leslie Young; a grandson, Ronald LaRue; a niece, Victoria Salter; a step-daughter, Carol Parks; two step-granddaughters, Amanda Leddy and Acacia Steiner. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Lorna De Smith McPherson, and a daughter Marlene McPherson LaRue.

Rolf Kennedy McPherson was born on March 23, 1913, in Providence, Rhode Island, to Harold S. and Aimee Semple McPherson. He was only a small child when he traveled to the West Coast with his mother, who evangelized her way across the country to Los Angeles, where she established Angelus Temple in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles.

Upon the death of Aimee Semple McPherson in 1944, Rolf McPherson became president of the four corporate entities she had established: Echo Park Evangelistic Association, The Church of the Foursquare Gospel, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, and LIFE Bible College. In addition, he became the pastor of Angelus Temple. Even though he was very young, 31, he had prepared for several years to assume these responsibilities. It had been his mother's wish that he would succeed her in leading the church, and she had spent the last decade of her life training him to assume that leadership role.

For 44 years, Dr. Rolf K. McPherson led the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, expanding its ministry into 63 countries around the world; the number of churches worldwide grew to more than 19,000 (Currently there are almost 60,000 Foursquare churches and meeting places in 144 countries.). Dr. McPherson retired from the presidency of The Foursquare Church in 1988, but he remained president emeritus. He was also pastor emeritus of Angelus Temple, having retired from actively directing the affairs of the church in 1997.

A memorial service will be held at Angelus Temple on Saturday, May 30, at 11 a.m. A viewing will be held at Forest Lawn Glendale on the evening of Friday, May 29.

Published in the Los Angeles Times on May 24, 2009
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