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.

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  • During this time of loss, we at AseraCare Hospice, would like to extend our condolences to you and your family. The nurses and staff at AseraCare thank you for the privilege of being able to serve you during these difficult times. May the Lord bless you and keep you.
    – The AseraCare Hospice Team

  • Paul Schilf says:

    God’s peace and blessings at this time and forever more! Be assured he’s at home!

  • joel and linda hanson says:

    so sorry for your loss, Bob married us and never forgot the details of that. he also baptized both our girls, we have a warm place in our hearts for him and your family. god bless joel and linda

  • Brad / Diane Griepp says:

    Judy and family – we remember you in our prayers. Pastor performed our marriage ceremony on Sept 8, 1990 at Grace Lutheran in Watertown. He has always held a special place in our hearts. So sorry for your lost. Diane

  • Dick & Connie Bogue says:

    Our deepest sympathy to all your family. We enjoyed getting to know you both when Bob was at Canton Lutheran as an interim pastor. I lost my twin sister 10 months ago to Parkinson’s Disease…such a cruel disease. Bob is free from that and more importantly in God’s loving arms.
    Peace and love to all your family.

  • Susan Chocholousek says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with Judy, Ann, and the rest of your family. I have enjoyed traveling with you through the Augustana College and Community Band. Bob will truly be missed. Sincerely, Susan Chocholousek

  • Howard Smedsrud says:

    Judy and family I’m so very sorry to hear of reverend Bob’s untimely passing, I have many memories of pastor Bob. I was not aware of his sickness and was very surprised to see his obituary today when I searched online as I do often. Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers at this time of the holiday season. God is now holding Robert in his loving arms, Rest in Peace Pastor Bob. Howard Smedsrud

  • Myron & Myra Vugteveen says:

    Our sympathy to you Judy, Ann and John. So sorry to hear of Bob’s passing. We have such precious memories of Bob and all of you when we lived next door so many years ago in Valley Springs. Love to you all.

  • Larry and Judy Picht says:

    Judy and family. We are so sorry to hear about Pastor Bob. He was a great man. Always so friendly and what we remember mostly about him is how he never forgot our names. He will be greatly missed. Our Blessings to you, Judy and the family….Larry and Judy Picht Watertown

  • Diane and Craig Culver says:

    Judy, we r so sorry to hear about Bob death! I asked about him at Bruce Williams’funeral. We t presently in Germany visiting our do in the military! Blessings on you and your family!

  • Mike andLaine Halverson says:

    Please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss…our thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time. May your heart and soul find peace and comfort.

  • Judy and Family: Thinking and praying for you during this time of loss. We wanted to attend the celebration service for Bob but had a family Christmas gathering in Mitchell yesterday. I’m sure the Lord has Bob involved in Kingdom activities by now and many on Earth will fondly recall his service and devotion to the members of the churches he served. May the abundance of God’s blessings continue for you during the coming weeks.

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