The Rev. Dr. Roger Dean Pittelko, who served as president of the LCMS English District from 1986 to 1997, died on Nov. 11. He was 88.
Pittelko was born on Aug. 18, 1932, in El Reno, Okla., to the Rev. E.H. and Lydia (Niemann) Pittelko. He married Beverly (Moellendorf) on July 6, 1957, and they were blessed with two children, Dean (1959) and Susan (1962).
Pittelko earned his B.A. (1954), M.Div. (1957) and S.T.M. (1958) from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He earned a Doctor of Ministry from Faith Evangelical Lutheran Seminary, Tacoma, Wash., in 1983, and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity by Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne (CTSFW), in 1991.
Pittelko served as pastor of St. John Lutheran Church in New Orleans (1958–1959), Concordia Lutheran Church in Berwyn, Ill. (1959–1963), and Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Elk Grove Village, Ill. (1963–1986).
From 1986 to 1997, Pittelko served as president of the LCMS English District. In addition, he was a professor and supervisor of the D.Min. program at CTSFW, fourth vice-president of the LCMS (1998–2001) and chairman of the LCMS Commission on Worship (1983–1990 and 1992–1998). He also served as chairman of the Agenda committee during the production of Lutheran Service Book.
Pittelko sat on a variety of district and Synod committees and boards, authored numerous articles, and was a frequent presenter on topics related to liturgy and worship.
The Rev. Dr. Jon D. Vieker, senior assistant to the LCMS president, called Pittelko a “truly wise and good bishop,” noting his important work on both Lutheran Worship and Lutheran Service Book and his extensive influence on many pastors and other church workers “during their formative years of service.”
LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison said, “When I was a young pastor in need of counsel and wisdom, the Lord provided Roger at just the right moment. What an honor to have known him and been a recipient of his Gospel-soaked churchmanship.”
The Rev. Dr. Jamison Hardy, president of the LCMS English District, described Pittelko as “a true churchman who led by example. He was my teacher, mentor and brother in Christ. The church is a better place for having had him at a season in time as bishop of the English District. He will truly be missed.”
The Rev. Dr. Dean O. Wenthe, president of the Concordia University System, said, “During multiple teaching sojourns at Concordia Theological Seminary, Dr. Pittelko’s warmth and wisdom attracted colleagues and seminarians. Theological depth and fidelity characterized his calling as a shepherd of souls. He embodied and exhibited the identity of a true bishop.”
Pittelko is survived by his wife, Beverly; his son, the Rev. Dr. Dean (Kay) Pittelko; daughter Susan (Howard) Gorecki; and grandchildren Hillary Pittelko and Jon, Jessica and Sarah Gorecki. Due to COVID restrictions, no public service is planned at this time.
Posted Nov. 16, 2020