Harold F. Roellig
(April 23, 1930 - November 25, 2008)
Harold Frederick Roellig, 78, born 23 Apr. 1930 in Detroit, MI, died Tuesday, 25 Nov 2008, of Multiple Myeloma. He grew up in Detroit, MI, the son of an auto worker. He himself worked in car factories from 1948 to 1950, when he began his career as a "professional student". He earned an A.A. at Concordia College in Bronxville, NY, and then a B.A. and theological diploma from Concordia Lutheran Seminary in St. Louis in 1957. While there he took concurrent and summer courses at Wayne, Washington and Purdue Universities in the earth sciences and psychology. From 1957 until 1967 he studied at Columbia University in NY, earning a Ph. D. in Paleontology. He was a Lutheran College Chaplain in the 60's; then became an Associate Professor of Earth Sciences at Adelphi University in Garden City, NY. In 1983 he took early retirement and moved to Monmouth, OR, to do independent research, especially and exhaustively into the history of the early church. He was part-time pastor of Trinity Lutheran in Sheridan, OR, (1984-1992) and vacancy pastor at Faith Lutheran in Monmouth, OR (1999-2001).
As well as publishing articles on a variety of subjects, he wrote two books. The first, "The God Who Cares", published in 1971, was an interpretation of time, life and man from a Christian perspective. This made him a figure of controversy both in church and scientific circles. His second book, "The More Excellent Way", was a historical account of how the church has fallen into Old Testament, Ten Commandment style legalism, rather than concentrating on Jesus' new commandment that we love our fellow man as He has loved us.
He was a voracious reader, a train buff and an accomplished handyman. He was also a dedicated family man, and considered as his happiest the 40 odd days a year spent tent camping as his kids grew up. He loved Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and always kept Christmas well. He was a public defender of Santa Claus as a historically and theologically sound part of Christmas.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Oscar Otto Roellig and Laura Roellig nee Rutz, and is survived by his wife of 49 years, Ruth Wilhelmine Bertha Roellig nee Holm and his four children, Drusha, Laura, Fred and Martha, and his 11 grandchildren.
Funeral services were held on Friday, 28 Nov 08 at Faith Lutheran Church in Monmouth, to which memorial contributions can be made. Burial was on Monday, 1 Dec. 08 at St. Paul's Lutheran Cemetery in Strasburg, IL. Arrangements were by Howe and Yockey Funeral Home, Strasburg, IL.
Harold Frederick Roellig fully realized his status as a sinner saved only by the grace of God, and thus he died joyfully, peacefully and thankfully. He also never lost touch with his working class and farming roots and was never one to put on airs. He probably would have disapproved of the length of this obituary.