Ralph Arthur Bohlmann

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  • "Dear Lynn and Paul: We just learned of your father's..."
  • "I was saddened to hear of Ralph's passing. I got to know..."
    - Jo Roy
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    - Jonathan Ripke
  • "I would cross paths with Ralph when visiting my mother..."
    - Rev. Robert Graul
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Bohlmann, Ralph Arthur a former president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, passed from this life on Sunday, July 24 2016. He was 84. Ralph was born February 20, 1932 in Palisade, Nebraska, the second child of Rev. Arthur E. and Anne F. (Weeke) Bohlmann. He graduated from St. John's College in Winfield, Kansas in 1951 and from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri in 1956. He studied at the University of Heidelberg, Germany as a Fulbright Scholar from 1956 to 1957 and taught at Concordia College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from 1957 to 1958. Ralph was ordained on June 28, 1958 and served as pastor of Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Des Moines, Iowa from 1958 to 1960. There he met Patricia Anne McCleary, daughter of Carl and Aileen McCleary of Perry, Iowa; they were married on April 19, 1959 and spent over 53 years together as husband and wife. Ralph joined the Concordia Seminary faculty in St. Louis in 1960 and taught there for many years, earning an S.T.M. degree from the seminary in 1966 and a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1968. He was named Acting President of the seminary on May 20, 1974, and on May 3, 1975, he was elected as its seventh President. During his seminary career, Ralph was also an assistant pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Pagedale, Missouri from 1961 to 1971, and he served in several roles with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, including a 1965 appointment to its Commission on Theology and Church Relations, which he served as Secretary from 1967 to 1971. Ralph was elected as the ninth President of the Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod on July 5, 1981 and served in that office until 1992, when he was named President emeritus. Ralph is preceded in death by his parents Arthur (May 15, 1975) and Anne (December 29, 2002), his brother Victor (July 14, 2004), and his wife Patricia (September 14, 2012). Ralph is survived by his two children, Paul (born February 18, 1960), who lives in New York, New York and has recently been an Assistant Dean at Columbia University, and Lynn (born May 24, 1963), who lives in Jacksonville, Illinois and is pastor of the Congregational United Church of Christ. Lynn is the mother of his two grandchildren, Lucas, age 16, and Jesse, age 12. Ralph is also survived by his sister Gloria Stigge, of Iowa City, Iowa; his brother John (Mary), of Indian Shores, Florida; his brother Mark (Becky), of Columbus, Ohio; his sister-in-law Rebekah Williams, of Dunnellon, Florida; and many friends in the U.S. and abroad who have enriched his life. Services: Visitation will be at the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus at Concordia Seminary in Clayton, Missouri (801 Seminary Place) on Wednesday, July 27, from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m., followed by a funeral service at the chapel at 2:00 p.m. Memorial gift suggestions are Concordia Lutheran Church in Kirkwood, Concordia Seminary Student Aid Fund, and Lutheran Senior Service Benevolence Fund. www.boppchapel.com
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Kirkwood, MO 63122
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Published in St. Louis Post-Dispatch on July 26, 2016
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