Robert (Bob) Dovenmuehler
May 22, 1940 ~ November 26, 2016
Robert (Bob) Dovenmuehler, 76, claimed his promise of eternal life Saturday, November 26, 2016 after struggling with Parkinson’s Disease and its complications for a number of years.
A celebration of Bob’s life here on earth and his resurrection to Christ will be Monday, December 19, 2016, 11:00 am, at Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, SD.
Bob, a child of God, was born on May 22, 1940, in Alexandria, MN to Harold and Edythe Dovenmuehler. He was joined 5 years later by a sister, Mary, whom he loved to tease, and sometimes, torment. He lived his early years in various small towns in Minnesota where his dad was a teacher; eventually moving to Stephen MN, where in 1958 he graduated from high school. As a senior there Bob performed a full solo recital featuring a beautiful clarinet Mozart concerto. His music continued to play an important part of his life as he began his college years in 1962 at Concordia in Moorhead MN as a music major. As luck would have it, he made the concert band as a freshman and happened to be seated near another freshman. She was a bassoon player, her name was Judy, and the rest is history!
As his faith was, also, a very important part of his life growing up, Bob changed his major to prepare himself to answer God’s calling. After dating for four years, Bob and Judy married (August 11, 1962) and headed to St. Paul MN for him to study at Luther Seminary. His internship year (3rd year) was north of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley; quite a change from the upper Midwest culture in which he had grown up. His senior year brought another life changing event: the birth of his daughter, Ann, on a 30 degree below day in January, 1966.
Upon completion of his studies and ordination in May 1966 Bob received a call to serve the Orient/St. Michaels congregations in Orient SD where he increased the population by 3% just by moving there. That was followed by serving the Chamberlain/Hamil congregations where his son, John, was born in 1971. With only 20 minutes from leaving the house to the actual birth, Bob learned he could hurry, if necessary. He forgot that lesson quite soon afterward! Valley Springs (First/Palisade), Watertown (Grace), and Sioux Falls (St. John) completed his 40 years of full time ministry in SD. His love of proclaiming the gospel kept him going for almost another 10 years serving interims in Canton, Volga, Madison and Sioux Falls.
Being finally diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2012 brought to an end his active ministry, finishing up at First Presbyterian in Beaver Creek MN in 1963.
Bob continued his love of music throughout his life and, after a 40 year hiatus, got back to playing his beloved clarinet in the Watertown Municipal summer Band and the Augustana College/ Community Band. He thought he was in heaven already!!
Another love Bob developed (pun intended, since it was before the days of digital) was photography and the many thousands of slides and prints are proof of that! While patience is a virtue, Bob took it to the nth degree in his photography, so he must have a special place in that mansion prepared for him!
Sports, also, played a big part in his life; not so much as a participant, but as a fan. From all of the sports Ann and John were involved in, to the ones his “kids” in his parishes were in, to Augustana events, Bob rarely missed an opportunity to cheer them on. Golf, ping pong and croquet were sports he himself liked to play and he was a fierce (and sometimes, fudging) competitor.
A love of learning never left Bob-whether it was weather trivia (he knew it all!), mastering ways to charcoal grill, exploring throughout the US and Europe, reading his Time and National Geographic magazines cover to cover each issue, a camping aficionado or delving into the scripture texts. He just couldn’t stop learning.
Thankful for having shared his life are his wife of 54 years, Judy; daughter Ann (Las Vegas), son John, daughter in law Sheila and precious grandson Peter (all of Tustin CA) and his sister, Mary, and husband Michael (Chicago). Also grateful for being a part of his life are two sisters-in law: Betty (Yakima WA) and Barbara (Fargo ND) and a multitude of special cousins, nephews and nieces, ad infinitum.
Above all of this was Bob’s faithfulness and passion to serve his Lord and Savior. He cherished every (almost) moment he had with the people of his “flocks” and communities-to walk with them through the good times, the eventful times, the sad times. He was, indeed, a faithful and gracious servant of God.
And on Saturday, November 26, 2016 in his own home and bed, Bob died peacefully, claiming that promise of eternal life.
Memorials may be directed toward Luther Seminary (Working Preacher), Spirit of Joy Preschool, the music departments of Concordia College or Augustana University, or a favorite charity.