Dr. Stephen (Steve) A. Lutz, missionary doctor to Papua New Guinea for nearly a quarter of a century, died June 15 at his brother’s home in Wolcottville, Ind. Dr. Lutz, 60, had been diagnosed with brain cancer.
A funeral service was held June 19 at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ames, Iowa. The Lutzes lived in Iowa during Steve’s surgical residency.
Dr. Lutz was a medical missionary working alongside national doctors, nurses, and other health care workers at Immanuel Lutheran Hospital in Enga Province of Papua New Guinea. He served as a general surgeon and treated a wide range of illnesses and injuries.
Working in partnership with The Gutnius (Good News) Lutheran Church, an LCMS partner church, Dr. Lutz promoted primary health care among the Hewa, Nete and Penale people who live in remote areas of Papua New Guinea. He returned to the United States from the mission field this spring on medical leave.
“Steve has served God’s people with compassion and faithfulness,” said Dr. Thomas R. Zehnder, executive director of LCMS World Mission. “His love for the people of Papua New Guinea has been evidenced by his determination to bring health and healing in the name of Jesus.
“We hold [his wife] Julie and the family in our hearts and prayers, and we thank God for Steve and all he has taught us. Rest in peace, brother Steve.”
Dr. Lutz was born in Nagercoil, India, to missionary parents, Rev. Arnold and Juanita Lutz. He attended school in India through high school. He graduated from Concordia Teachers College (now Concordia University Nebraska) in Seward, Neb., and received his medical degree from the Medical College of Ohio, Toledo, in 1977.
Dr. Lutz is survived by his wife, Julie (nee Behrens), currently of Wolcottville, and four children — Anton Lutz of Papua New Guinea; Paul (Rebecca) Lutz of Newport News, Va.; Laura (Nathan) Hall of Minneapolis; and David Lutz of Valparaiso, Ind.
Memorials may be given to the Papua New Guinea Mission Society (P.O. Box 28356, Oakdale, MN 55128) and LCMS World Mission (1333 S. Kirkwood Road, St. Louis, MO 63122).
Posted June 17, 2010