In Memoriam… Pastor Paul R. Bloedel
Paul Richard Bloedel was born on October 6, 1925 in Hamlet, Indiana, to Pastor Gustav Bloedel and his wife, Clara née Jungkuntz. As an infant, he was baptized into the Christian faith by his father, who also carefully instructed him in the chief doctrines of God’s Word and confirmed him as a youth. After completing high school in Hamlet, young Pauli, as he was affectionately known by his family and friends, attended preparatory school at Concordia College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in its pre-theological program, and then in 1944 entered Concordia Theological Seminary (Missouri Synod) in Springfield, Illinois, to prepare for the pastoral ministry. Following his graduation from the seminary in 1949, he married Helen A. née Brei, whom he had met during his vicarage year in Bloomington, Illinois. This union was blessed with four children, all of whom survive him. His dear wife, Helen, departed this life on April 29, 1968, after a brief illness. In October, 1970, Pastor Bloedel married Lucille D. née Wikre, who survives him, as do their seven children.
Pastor Bloedel’s first call into the Holy Ministry was to Igloo, South Dakota, in 1949; and shortly thereafter he accepted a call to Wilmot, South Dakota. The fact that the young pastor had, for conscience’ sake, refused to sign the Missouri Synod’s constitution and thus to join that church body upon his graduation from the seminary was a source of considerable frustration to the synod’s hierarchy. Moreover, because he had marked the synod as heterodox in view of its persistent toleration of error in doctrine and practice and its adoption of the Common Confession of Faith with the American Lutheran Church in 1950, and because he had in September, 1951, joined other protesting pastors in forming the Orthodox Lutheran Conference (which, after a sizeable defection in 1956, reorganized itself as our present Concordia Lutheran Conference), he was, at the instigation of Missouri Synod officials, unscripturally deposed from his Wilmot pastorate on Reformation Day, 1951. Nevertheless, recognizing his call still to be valid before God, a faithful remnant of the congregation followed him and formed St. Stephen’s Ev. Lutheran Church. After about five years in Wilmot, Pastor Bloedel accepted a call to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Empire (Coos Bay), Oregon, a sister-congregation in the Concordia Lutheran Conference, which he served until 1959. It was then that he received and accepted a call to the then tiny St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Seattle, Washington, which he served for almost forty-three years until his death. Pastor Bloedel was privileged to witness the growth of his congregation from only two families at the beginning of his tenure there to almost a hundred baptized members, growth which, he constantly emphasized, had occurred solely by the power of the Holy Ghost through the precious means of His grace.
Pastor Bloedel served our precious Concordia Lutheran Conference for over half a century in various capacities of leadership and service. He was for many years the editor and printer of our Concordia Lutheran, had served several terms as President and Vice President, had held various other posts as chairman of Conference standing committees and as a member of the Board of Directors, and at the time of his death was scheduled to begin his tenure as the fifth-year instructor in our Concordia Theological Seminary. By God’s grace, Pastor Bloedel remained steadfast in God’s Word and in the true faith until his death on June 15, 2002. His scrupulous orthodoxy, constant vigilance, evangelical preaching, pastoral diligence, and brotherly counsel with the Word of God will be sorely missed among us. But we comfort ourselves with the sure and certain expectation of the glorious bodily resurrection of all true believers to the mansions of heaven on the last great Day of the Lord and, in the meantime, with the precious assurance of His never-failing Word, that our dear brother is even now experiencing “fulness of joy [and]…pleasures forevermore” at the right hand of God for Jesus’, his Savior’s, sake (Psalm 16:11). Concerning the present blissful state of departed believers there can be no doubt; and we hold in cherished memory, to the glory of God, the example of Pastor Bloedel’s constancy and faithfulness, as we look for and hasten unto the end of our own conversation by grace, for Christ’s sake, through faith!
“Remember them…who have spoken unto you the Word of God;
whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.”
— D. T. M