Rev. Dr. Edwin S. Suelflow
July 2, 1924—December 31, 2018
Rev. Dr. Edwin Samuel Suelflow, pastor and President Emeritus of the South Wisconsin District of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, died in the Lord on December 31, 2018. Edwin was born July 2, 1924, in Freistadt, Wisconsin. He was the child of Richard and Martha (Wendt) Suelflow. He was baptized into Christ on July 6, 1924, at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Freistadt. He attended Trinity’s grade school and was confirmed in 1937. He attended Concordia College, Milwaukee, for high school and college. He then transferred to Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from the seminary in 1948.
While on his vicarage at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Wauneta, Nebraska, from 1945 to 1946, he met his future wife, Erma Haarberg. They were married at St. Paul on June 11, 1948, after his graduation from the seminary. Pastor Suelflow’s first call was to the dual parish of Hope, Coloma, South Dakota, and Grace, Burton, Nebraska, where he was ordained on September 19, 1948.
In the spring of 1949, Pastor Suelflow received the call to Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Adell, Wisconsin, where he served from 1949 to 1956. In November 1956, he accepted the call to Grace Lutheran Church, Franklin, Nebraska. In August 1959, he accepted the call to Walther Memorial Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he served for almost 30 years.
In June 1988 Pastor Suelflow was elected President of the South Wisconsin District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. He served as president of the district from 1988 to 1994. In recognition of his work in the inner city, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, awarded President Suelflow an honorary doctorate on May 19, 1989. In 1994 President Suelflow was acknowledged as Alumnus of the Year by Concordia University Wisconsin.
Upon retirement, Pastor Suelflow continued to serve the Lord in various capacities. He was chairman of the Board of Regents of Concordia University Wisconsin from 1990 to 2000. He did translation work from German to English on several projects for LCMS President Matthew Harrison. He translated six of Friedrich Pfotenhauer’s German speeches, included in At Home in the House of My Fathers (CPH 2009). He also translated the proceedings of the 1880 pastoral conferences on the doctrine of election, published as the second and fourth chapters of Walther’s Predestination (CPH 2018). In celebration of his 70th anniversary of ordination, he was honored at the South Wisconsin District Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Under the theme, “Dying Is No Child’s Play,” Pastor Suelflow gave an impassioned devotion on the power of the Word of God, the honor of being a pastor, and the importance of pastoral care to the elderly, sick, and dying. Throughout his lifetime, he faithfully confessed Christ and spoke God’s Word with clarity to all those around him: his family, his neighbors, the people of his congregation, and his brother-pastors. Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Suelflow was preceded in death by two sisters, Anita and Lois; a daughter, Denise Suelflow; and a grandson, David Schmid. He is survived by his wife of over 70 years, Erma; a daughter, Elyse Price of Sherwood, Arkansas; a son, Steven Suelflow (Josie) of Brodhead; a sister, Grace Lover (John) of Sheboygan; one granddaughter, Lisa McDaniel (Sean); four grandsons, Matthew Suelflow, Marcus Suelflow (Leah), Jacob Suelflow, and Adam Suelflow; and three great grandchildren, Steven Fray, Sophia Fray, and Margot Suelflow.
Visitation will begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, January 5, 2019, at Peace Lutheran Church, W240 N6145 Maple Avenue, Sussex, Wisconsin, with the service beginning at 11:30. Burial will follow immediately at Emmanuel Lutheran Cemetery, Adell, Wisconsin.
Memorials may be made to the Rev. Dr. Edwin and Mrs. Erma Suelflow Minority Church Workers Scholarship Fund at Concordia University Wisconsin, 12800 N. Lakeshore Drive, Mequon, WI 53097, or to Peace Lutheran Academy, W240 N6145 Maple Avenue, P.O. Box 123, Sussex, WI 53089.