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Obituary: Rev. Luverne Charles Tengbom

Reverend Luverne Tengbom died peacefully on January 21, 2018 at Pilgrim Place in Claremont. He was 98 years old.

Born to Swedish-American parents Carl J. Tengbom and Ida C. Carlson, Luverne Charles Tengbom drew his first breath in the family farmhouse in Poskin, Minnesota on May 30, 1919. He was baptized into the Christian faith at Ebenezer Lutheran Church in rural Almena, Wisconsin.

Young Luverne graduated with honors from Barron High School in Wisconsin. He began his higher education at Lutheran Bible Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There he started his own photography business, beginning a lifelong interest in photography. He later attended Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, graduating with honors and a bachelor’s degree in 1943. In 1945 he graduated from Augustana Seminary in Rock Island, Illinois, earning a master’s of divinity degree. In 1962 he earned another master’s degree, this one in theology, from St. Paul, Minnesota’s Luther Seminary.

In 1977 he completed his post-graduate studies, earning a PhD from Hartford Theological Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut.

During his college years he worked in various Lutheran churches in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, Canada. He did his seminary internship in Evanston, Illinois.

He became an ordained minister in 1946. That year he was called to serve at First Lutheran Church in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where he remained for 10 years, holding numerous positions, among them were secretary, Board of Canadian Lutheran Bible Institute, from 1947 to 1956; secretary of the Canada Conference, Augustana Synod, from 1948 to 1956; and secretary of the Lutheran Home for the Aged in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, from 1950 to 1956.

While at First Lutheran he met and married Mildred Hasselquist, a missionary who had just returned from Nepal and India. Following their marriage on May 23, 1953, the young couple accepted a call from the Board of World Mission of the Augustana Lutheran Church, where Rev. Tengbom worked as professor of Biblical studies at the Lutheran Bible Institute in Mwika, Tanzania, East Africa, on the lower slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. He served there from 1956 to 1966. While in Tanzania he was also the principal of Lutheran Bible School in Moshi, from 1959 to 1961, and the president of the Board of Lutheran Theological Seminary in Makumira, from 1964 to 1966. He was also on the building committee for the Lutheran Church in Moshi, and was a consultant to and board member of the Lutheran radio station, Radio Voice of the Gospel.

In 1967, Rev. Tengbom accepted a job as professor of Biblical studies and missions at Lutheran Bible Institute in Los Angeles, where he worked until 1985. While at LBI he was academic dean and a member of the Lutheran Church’s Commission on World Mission, Pacific Southwest Synod.

In 1985 Rev. Tengbom began work as a professor of New Testament and missions at both Trinity Theological Seminary and Singapore Bible College in Singapore.

Returning to the US in 1987, he taught for four more years at LBI.

In 1991, the Tengboms entered Pilgrim Place in Claremont. Rev. Tengbom’s last turn at the pulpit came when he was 90 years old.

The Tengboms traveled extensively throughout their lives, mostly in connection with their work with the church. They visited Turkey, Greece, Israel, Jordan, India, Nepal and Hong Kong, and spent time in Japan taking photographs and writing articles for Division for World Mission and Ecumenism, LCA. They also spent 40 days visiting churches in Liberia, Ghana and Kenya, and had further travels in Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, England, Scotland and Egypt. They also traveled extensively throughout the United States and Canada.

Rev. Tengbom commissioned students to serve in Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, New Guinea, Ethiopia, Norway, Guyana, Peru and Brazil.

The Tengboms co-wrote two books, Fill My Cup Lord and Table Prayers.

Rev. Tengbom loved and cherished his family, and is survived by his son, Rev. Daniel and Rachael Tengbom of Kennewick, Washington; daughter Judy Tengbom and her husband Barry Collins, of McKinleyville, California; daughter, Rev. Janet and Rev. Ron Warnes of Warren, Minnesota; son Rev. David Tengbom of Los Angeles; twelve grandchildren, two grandchildren in law; one great-grandchild and three more grandchildren in law that are forthcoming.

He was a wonderful husband, a generous and gracious father, an excellent pastor and teacher, and a caring grandfather and great-grandfather, his family shared. “He will be deeply missed, and the memories of his life live on in each of us.”

“It has been a deep joy to serve the Lord for over 60 years in various capacities,” Rev. Tengbom said shortly before his death. “The Lord is good and I am grateful to him.” He then quoted John 3:16: “‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.’”

At his request, memorials and gifts can be made to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at egoodshepherd.org, Pilgrim Place at pilgrimplace.org, or the World Mission Prayer League at wmpl.org.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, February 23 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 1700 N. Towne Ave., Claremont. His interment will take place at 2 p.m. on May 30 at Hillside Cemetery in Center City, Minnesota, on a hillside overlooking Pioneer Lake.

Condolences may be mailed to Rev. Janet T. Warnes at 712 N. Montana St., Warren MN, 56762, or emailed to Rev. Daniel Tengbom at shoenkai@aol.com, or Rev. David Tengbom at dtengbom@aol.com.

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