Memory Books

President Emeritus Lloyd Svendsbye

Former Luther Seminary president Dr. Lloyd Svendsbye died on Sunday, March 2, in Edina, Minn, surrounded by family and friends. He was 83.

Svendsbye served as president from 1975 to 1987, overseeing the merger of Northwestern Lutheran Theological Seminary and Luther Theological Seminary.

A native of North Dakota, Svendsbye held degrees from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and Luther Seminary (1954). He was ordained as a Lutheran minister in 1955. He went on to study at the University of Erlangen in Germany, Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary, where he earned his Doctor of Theology degree. In addition to his time at Luther Seminary, Svendsbye served as president at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., and as vice president and dean of students at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. He was also the editor in chief of Augsburg Publishing House for five years.

Under Svendsbye's leadership, the Master of Arts degree was established, the first female professor was called to a tenure track position, the development office and the Lay School of Theology were established and the theological journal Word & World debuted.

In 1981, he was elected vice president of the American Lutheran Church and served on the Committee of Seventy for the formation of the ELCA.

After retiring, Svendsbye chronicled his ancestors' journeys from Norway to Western North Dakota in "I Paid All My Debts." He also served on the board of directors for various institutions. Throughout his life, he was very proud of his Norwegian heritage, participating in Mindekirken, Torske Klubben and Norway House. Svendsbye was also extremely proud that he had a personal audience with Pope John Paul II and hosted such dignitaries as King Olaf of Norway and President Gorbachev. Even though he had a very successful professional career, he took great pleasure in being a very simple North Dakota farm boy.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Anne; parents Anders and Gudrun Svendsbye; sisters Alice Vatne, Margaret Vatne, Lillian Nelson, Gladys Berg; and brother Albert Svendsbye. Survived by his brother, Edward Svendsbye; sisters Adeline Elverud and Jean Brusven; nieces; nephews; and many friends.

In lieu of flowers,memorials may be directed to Luther Seminary; Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn.; and Norway House. Visitations and a funeral service are planned for March 13-14 in Edina, Minn.:

  • Thursday, March 13: Visitation from 5-7 p.m. at Washburn-McReavy Funeral Chapel, 5000 W. 50th St., Edina
  • Friday, March 14: Visitation at 10 a.m.; funeral service at 11 a.m., Normandale Lutheran Church, 6100 Normandale Road, Edina; Interment at Lakewood Cemetery

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Professor Emeritus Daniel Simundson

Luther Seminary gives thanks to God for the life and witness of Dr. Dan Simundson, professor emeritus of Old Testament.

Rev. Dr. Daniel J. Simundson, 79, of Roseville, Minnesota, died on January 28, 2013.

Dan was preceded in death by Sally (Mueller), his wife of 38 years. Also preceding him were his brothers Leonard and Jonas "K" Simundson and sisters Marjory Wesen and Dorothy Miller. Dan is survived by his daughters, Susan Simundson and Ann-Marie Pucillo; sons-in-law Bruce Cryan and Fred Pucillo; grandchildren Daniel and Audrey Cryan and Joseph Pucillo; brother Luther Simundson (Jeanne), and dear friend Patricia Kane.

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, he was the son of Kolbeinn and Groa (Thorsteinson) Simundsson. He earned a B.A. degree in 1955 from Stanford University and a B.D. degree from Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago in 1959. Ordained as a minister in 1959, he was pastor of Salem Lutheran Church in Mendon, Illinois, until 1961, when he became hospital chaplain at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis (1961-67). In 1971 he received a Ph.D. from Harvard University. Dan became a member of the Luther Seminary faculty in St. Paul in 1972 and was named professor of Old Testament in 1981. He taught for thirty-one years and during that time also held various deanships.

In 2000 Dan was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Theology from the University of Iceland. The author of more than six books on the Old Testament and its messages of faith in times of suffering, Dan was a beloved teacher who touched many lives. In his retirement Dan continued to teach and preach, was active at his church, and was involved with the Golden K Kiwanis Club and the Icelandic American Association of Minnesota.

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