Matthias, The Reverend Elmer W., D. Min, was born on February 19, 1922 In Riceville, Iowa, the third child of The Reverend Arthur William and Elsie Harder Matthias. He received his eternal reward on July 20, 2012. He attended a one room school and went on to graduate from Concordia College, Milwaukee and Concordia Seminary St. Louis, graduating in July 1945.
Following a year of graduate work at the Seminary he was called to establish a mission church in Galena Park. Texas, a suburb of Houston. Elmer was ordained there September 22, 1946. He served Peace Lutheran Church for ten years during which time there was a building program that completed a church and elementary school, and the church became self-supporting.
In 1956 Reverend Matthias accepted the call to become Senior Pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Anaheim, and served there for 22 years. During his tenure at Zion the church grew along with the community. He led the work to build a new sanctuary on east Street in Anaheim to accommodate a congregation that had grown to over 2000 members.
During his time in Orange County, Reverend Matthias was instrumental in the founding of Lutheran High School of Orange County. He served at Circuit Counselor and District Vice President for the Pacific Southwest District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. He worked tirelessly at the synodical level to lead the church to establish an institution of higher education in Southern California. His efforts resulted in the founding of Christ College lrvine, now Concordia University Irvine. He served as an original founding member of the Christ College Board of Control from 1967 to 1978.
While serving Zion. Reverend Matthias began studies at Fuller Theological Seminary and received the degree of Doctor of Ministry In 1977.
In 1978 Reverend Matthias accepted the call to serve Concordia Seminary in St. Louis as Associate Professor of Practical Theology. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Doctor of Ministry degree to their graduate offerings. During his nine years tenure he conducted frequent church growth workshops at regional congregations.
FollowIng his retirement in 1987 he returned to Anaheim and conttnued to serve as an interim pastor at several congregations in the area. He also served Redeemer Lutheran Church in Ontario, CA as Assistant for Pastoral Care.
Elmer married Ruth Delores Weinhoid on November 12, 1947 in Wheat Ridge, CO where Ruth served as a nurse. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, sons, Bruce (Sonja) and Steven, and grandchildren, Lauren, Jason and Andrew. Hilgenfeld Mortuary
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Published by Orange County Register on Jul. 24, 2012.