David W. Preus ’50 M.Div. died July 23. He served as the presiding bishop of the American Lutheran Church as well as a parish pastor in both Brookings, South Dakota, and Minneapolis.
A longtime friend of Luther Seminary, Preus was known for his passion for evangelism and social justice, as well as leading people effectively as they explored their callings. He graduated from Luther College and served in the U.S. Army Intelligence prior to his decades in parish ministry. Preus was elected vice president of the American Lutheran Church, became the ALC’s president, then served as director of the Global Mission Institute at Luther Seminary (1988–94). He held distinguished positions in the Lutheran World Federation and the World Council of Churches; he worked with world leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr., Pope John Paul II, and four American presidents.
During the 1960s, he served as chair of the Minneapolis School Board and as a member of the Minneapolis City Planning Commission, pushing for civic integration and access to education. As president of the ALC, he addressed rights for Native Americans and the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, and he was an early supporter of women’s ordination.
We all enjoyed his wisdom and wit, and he will be greatly missed.