Louis Theodore Almen entered life eternal on June 3, 2014 at the age of 88. He is survived by his beloved wife of 65 years, Ardis (Swanson) Almen. He is further survived by his three children, Peter (Ella) Almen, Mary Mineo, and Ruth Almen, five grandchildren, Kristina Mineo, Samuel Louis Mineo, Courtney Almen, Kyra Almen, and Alayna Almen. He was preceded in death by his parents, Carl and Agnes (Hedeen) Almen, his sister, Elizabeth Almen White, and his spiritual brother, Kenny Andeen.
Louis was born in Seattle, WA on December 20, 1925. He was raised in Astoria, OR and Hudson, WI where he graduated from high school in 1943. He graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1946. He and Ardis married in 1949. He graduated from Augustana Seminary (Rock Island, IL) and was ordained in 1950 in the Augustana Lutheran Church, during Synod Assembly at the Washington Cathedral. He served as pastor of St. Bartholomew Lutheran Church (Elizabeth, NJ) while on the faculty of Upsala College (East Orange, NJ) between 1950 and1953. He taught Religion at Augustana College (Rock Island, IL) between 1953 and 1967 where he rose to the rank of Professor, during this time he also served Messiah Lutheran Church (Port Byron, IL). Along the way, he earned a Masters of Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Ph.D from the University of Iowa.
He served the national Lutheran Church in America (predecesor body to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) as the Executive Director of the Board of College Education and Church Vocations between 1967 and 1972 and as the Executive Director of the Division for Professional Leadership between 1972 and 1976.
He was named President of Thiel College (Greenville, PA) in 1976 where he served until 1990. In retirment, he served as interim President of the Lutheran Theological Seminary (Philadelphia, PA).
Louis had a generous spirit, a curious mind, and an infectious enthusiasm for many topics, especially those related to theology. He was a prolific creator of letters and essays, although it fell to Ardis to do the typing. Examples of his work include "Vocation in a Post-Vocational Age," Word and World, Spring 1984, "Now More than Ever," Lutheran Forum, August 1988, a chapter in Protestantische Zeitgenossenschaft- Festschrift Zu Ehren published in Evangelische Akademie Loccum, May 1994, "A Theological Perspective on Educational Choice," in Two Essays on Educational Choice 1996, "Toward Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All- in Context," Dialog: A Journal of Theology, Spring 1999, "The Augustana Heritage Vis-"-vis the Role of the Church in Society" and "Augustana Heritage: Resource for the Future" in The Augustana Heritage: Recollections, Perspectives, and Prospects, published by the Augustana Heritage Association, 1999. His final book was a compilation of his essays entitled Fights: Crisis with a Living Lutheran Legacy in 2012. The volume covered a wide range of topics regarding social justice including poverty, climate change, marriage equality, and education. Louis loved every second of researching, prayer, discernment and discussion of these issues.
In retirement, Louis and Ardis lived in Phelps, WI and St. James City, FL. At the time of his death, they were living at Lutheran Haven in Oviedo, FL.
His ready smile and generous laughter will be missed by his family, friends, colleagues, and students. Memorials are suggested to Gustavus Adolphus College (St. Peter, MN), the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, Thiel College (Greenville, PA), Augustana College (Rock Island, IL), Pioneer Lake Lutheran Church (Conover, WI), or Fortune Lake Lutheran Camp (Crystal Falls, MI).
All this for us Thy love hath done
By This to Thee our love is won
For this our joyful songs we raise"
And shout our thanks in ceaseless praise. Amen. Amen. Amen!
Funeral service will be held at 2:00 pm on Monday, June 9, 2014 at Christ Chapel at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter with burial at Resurrection Cemetery, St. Peter. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service. St. Peter Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
His ready smile and generous laughter will be missed by his family, friends, colleagues, and students. Memorials are suggested to Gustavus Adolphus College - Alm"n/Vickner fund (St. Peter, MN), the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, Thiel College (Greenville, PA), Augustana College (Rock Island, IL), Pioneer Lake Lutheran Church (Conover, WI), or Fortune Lake Lutheran Camp (Crystal Falls, MI).