The real Pastor Kollmeyer
Back when I was newly ordained, one morning I heard a man’s voice call out, “Pastor Kollmeyer.” I did not respond as I should have. Instead, I peered around the room thinking that somehow my dad must have suddenly come into our presence. You see, I certainly had not yet begun to identify myself as “Pastor Kollmeyer” because in my reality “the real Pastor Kollmeyer” was my father, not me.
Well, “the real Pastor Kollmeyer” is indeed still Pastor Glen C. Kollmeyer, a healthy and vibrant 92 year old, who will fly in from Springfield, Mo., in a week or so to join us here in Fayetteville for Christmas. We lost my mom to cancer several years ago, so my dad has re-married and will bring his precious loving wife with him.
I want to use these words here to share with you a few things about my dad’s life and ministry. Thank you for allowing me the privilege here in this public space to “honor him” and to acknowledge his life, not as a perfect life by any means, but as a life that can most certainly be declared “well-lived.”
Dad had very humble beginnings in a little farm and railroad town in Missouri. His family’s little farmhouse was just a quarter of a mile from their Lutheran church, which was the center of their lives. Dad even went to the one-room school there at the church all the way through the eighth grade, and the pastor was the full-time school teacher as well.
Those pastors had a profound impact on dad’s life, and after high school he heard The Call to leave home for college, followed by seminary, and in 1947 he graduated from Concordia Lutheran Seminary in St. Louis and set out for Odessa, Texas, to be ordained and to serve his first church.
At his side was his beautiful young bride, my mom, whom he had met while on vicarage (internship) in Oklahoma. Her beauty, charm, and exquisite talent at the piano and organ captured his heart the first time he saw her. He would tell that part of his story many times.
Those early days in Odessa were significant. The church was housed in a converted army barracks made surplus after World War II. Dad, by the way, did not serve in the armed forces since he was studying to be a pastor all during war time. Throughout his ministry, however, he often had situations for specific pastoral care for service personnel, and he served our country in that regard with distinction. We have pictures of large Vacation Bible School groups posing outside that church and pictures of my dad with his car and the eight (before seatbelt days) children he personally picked up so they could come to VBS.
Odessa was still a rough West Texas oil town in those days. For years my dad kept in his desk drawer the set of “iron knuckles” that he took away from a man whom Dad confronted because he was beating his wife.
Dad then took the call to San Angelo, Texas. In that church he was the leading force behind getting a school established and built. With his love for education and Christian education, he worked tirelessly to bring in children and teachers and build buildings to house the school that eventually went through the sixth grade.
With the rigors of the parish and the school, and with his willingness to serve on the state level for the Lutheran Church, he was constantly required to be away from our family, but my memories are that he was most definitely our Daddy and he loved us very much and gave us his best and full attention when we needed it.
After ten years Dad moved us to Baytown, Texas, to serve the church there. My memories of Dad there were his zeal for “evangelism” and his never-ending pastoral care for those in the hospital or in any need. Throughout my years of ministry I have often reflected at how faithful my dad was to The Lord and to members and non-members of his churches. Not only would he faithfully go to the hospitals to see his members and pray with them and their families, but he would also just go to the hospitals and check and see if anyone, anyone, would like or need a pastor and a prayer.
Dad also served other churches in Texas and Oklahoma and was known as an excellent preacher until he “retired,” though he still has not yet even now fully retired. He still conducts a communion service right back in his little childhood church once a month.
Dad is a record-keeper, so he has records which count his various pastoral duties — sermons, funerals, baptisms, weddings, confirmations, adult conversions, etc. The numbers are significant, as you can imagine. But his ministry is not about the numbers. It has always been about humble and faithful service to his Lord Jesus Christ and to the people whom he has served. This year marks his 65th year of faithful ministry. I honor you, “The Real Pastor Kollmeyer!”
Kollmeyer is Pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church on Hwy. 314 in Fayetteville. More info at www.princeofpeacefayette.com or 770-461-3403.