Rev. Dr. L. Dean Hempelmann, a former professor and academic dean of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and former president of Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Edmonton, Canada, entered eternal rest in Jesus Aug. 29. He was 82 years old.
A private visitation and burial was held Sept. 10. A public memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sept. 29 at Faith Lutheran Church in Georgetown, Texas.
Hempelmann devotedly served the church as a pastor, theological educator and administrator, seminary president and executive of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
His 12 years of parish ministry included serving at Peace Lutheran Church in Selah, Wash., (1966-70) and St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Salem, Ore. (1970-78).
He joined Concordia Seminary in 1978 as director of admissions and ministerial recruitment. He served at the Seminary for 16 years and taught in the Department of Practical Theology, and served various roles including as acting director of Seminary relations, academic dean and director of the Doctor of Ministry Program. In 1990, before Dr. John F. Johnson became the Seminary's ninth president, he served as acting president. During much of his time at the Seminary, he also was the assisting pastor at Christ Memorial Lutheran Church in Affton, Mo.
“Dr. Hempelmann was such a dignified, lovable man who encouraged us with his genuine interest, his joy in Christ, his laughter and his calm confidence that the Lord would care for His people and care for His church," said Seminary President Dr. Thomas J. Egger. "It was always a pleasure to be with him and a great blessing to know and learn from him. His faithful labors in parish ministry and in pastoral education will continue to bear fruit for many years to come.”
In 1993, he became the third president of Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where he served for six years and led the seminary to full accreditation without notation by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.
In 1999, he became the director of pastoral education for The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, where he later served as executive director of the Board for Pastoral Education. Additionally, he shared his knowledge and insights about the church’s concerns through numerous articles and essays, book chapters and as a guest lecturer in Korea, Japan and Australia.
In 2008, Hempelmann received Concordia Seminary’s “Distinguished Alumnus Award” in recognition of his lifetime of service as a teacher, educational administrator and pastor. He was a chaplain and captain in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He was named as one of the “Outstanding Young Men in America” in 1974 and awarded the Walther Fellowship (1981-82, 1982-83).
Hempelmann earned a Master of Divinity (’65) and Master of Sacred Theology (’66) from Concordia Seminary. He earned a Doctor of Philosophy (’84) from Saint Louis University and received an honorary Doctor of Divinity (’08) from Concordia University, Irvine, Calif.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Cathy; son, Michael (Melanie); two daughters, Cheryl (John), and Lisa (James); eight grandchildren, Kyle Hennen (Nataleigh), Andrew Glick (Amanda), Lauren Lawrence (Patrick), Sarah Hempelmann, Mason Hempelmann, and Nicholas, Anthony and Tyler Candido; three great grandchildren, Russell and Vera Hennen, and Judah Dean Glick; a sister, Roberta; and a brother, DeWayne (Peggy).
Friends are encouraged to send personal stories and words of love and encouragement to the Hempelmann family at 304 Cooper Lake Drive, Georgetown, TX 78633.
Memorials may be mailed to “The Dean and Cathy Hempelmann Endowment Fund” at Concordia Lutheran Seminary, 7040 Ada Blvd., Edmonton, Alberta, T5B 4E3, or to Concordia Seminary at 801 Seminary Place, St. Louis, MO 63105.
About Concordia Seminary
Concordia Seminary, St. Louis provides Gospel-centered graduate-level theological education for pastors, missionaries, deaconesses, scholars and other leaders in the name of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). To learn more, visit csl.edu.