The Rev. Dr. James E. Keurulainen, former president of the LCMS New England District, died of complications related to heart disease Oct. 29 in Dedham, Mass. He was 67 years old.
The funeral service is planned for 9:30 a.m. (EST) Nov. 4 at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 950 East Street, Dedham, MA 02026. Visitation is 1-3 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. Nov. 3 at St. Luke’s.
Keurulainen served as president of the district for 15 years. He retired in 2012 and was given the Servant of Christ Award from Concordia College—New York, Bronxville, N.Y., that same year. A 1974 graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Ill., he received an honorary doctorate from Concordia, Bronxville, in 2000.
Before his election in 1997, he served as pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, Pittsburgh (1974-77), and St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Dedham, Mass. (1977-97).
In 1977, Keurulainen also took on the role of Protestant chaplain at the Norfolk County House of Correction in Massachusetts. He continued working in prison ministry for the next 37 years.
“Jim was a pastor to the core,” said the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. “He only agreed to stand for the presidency of the district if he could continue his ministry to the incarcerated. His dear wife and family are in our prayers.”
The Rev. Timothy Yeadon, who succeeded Keurulainen as president of the New England District, recalled Keurulainen’s tireless work for the district throughout his life. Until his death, Keurulainen continued to serve as a vacancy pastor.
“He was a mentor to me, my friend, not just my predecessor,” Yeadon said. “He was an unbelievably gifted preacher who pointed so many people to Christ. And now he sees Christ’s face.”
Keurulainen is survived by his wife of 43 years, Priscilla (nee Mattson); sons Scott (Melissa) Keurulainen and Eric (Kerri) Keurulainen, both of Canton, Mass.; and a brother, the Rev. Barry Keurulainen of Cabot, Pa.
Posted Oct. 29, 2014 / Updated Oct. 30, 2014 / Updated Oct. 31, 2014