Reverend Russell Rudolf

Published 1:33 pm Friday, March 26, 2021

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The Reverend Russell Rudolf, age 87, died Thursday morning, March 25, 2021 at Mankato.

Reverend Russell Rudolf was born on July 4, 1933 in McIntosh County (Zeeland), North Dakota. He was the first of three siblings born to Leopold and Frieda (nee’ Ketterling) Rudolf.

Russell attended grade schools in Zeeland and Ashley, North Dakota and graduated from Wishek High School, Wishek, ND, in 1951. He received his B.A. from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa in 1955; with additional Master’s level courses in Communication at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. After interning at Good Shepherd Lutheran in San Diego, CA, Russ received his Masters of Theology from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, IA. Ordination into the Lutheran Word and Sacrament ministry occurred May 29, 1960 at his home congregation, St. Luke Lutheran of Wishek, ND.

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Reverend R. Rudolf served in three congregations: St. John Lutheran as a solo pastor in Raymond, Minnesota; Bethlehem Lutheran as an assistant pastor in Mankato, Minnesota; and St. John Lutheran Church as the Senior Pastor in Owatonna, Minnesota (1967-1995). During his pastoral career, he held numerous offices in the conference, district and synod levels.

As an author, Reverend R. Rudolf had numerous stories for teenagers published along with being a guest columnist for the Owatonna People’s Press and contributor to the Steele County Times. For many years, Russ wrote and presented “Music for Meditation” on Owatonna radio station KRFO.

Russell supported Owatonna Park and Recreation youth sports programs coaching baseball and basketball. Passing on his love of golf (multiple Senior and Super Senior Open Championships at Brooktree) Russ mentored future golfers in the Junior Golf Program at Brooktree.

Russell was a serving member of The Exchange Club of Owatonna for 52 years.

In retirement Russell, along with Jane, enhanced their lives and love of music by attending numerous regional spiritual pipe organ and choral concerts.

Russell is survived by his wife Jane (married June 3, 1955) of Owatonna, his two sons, Thomas (and Michele Denfeld) Rudolf of Middletown, OH, Peter (and Sherry Holtz) Rudolf of Corcoran; three grandchildren, Christopher (and Rachel) Rudolf, Alexandra Rudolf, Zachary Rudolf; great grandson, Henry David Rudolf; sister, Vivian Rindelaub of Alexandria; brother, Dr. Lou Rudolf of Billings, MT. He was preceded in death by his parents.

Visitation will be at Michaelson Funeral Home on Monday from 5pm to 7pm and one hour prior to the service at St. John Lutheran Church. Memorial services will be held Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 10:30am at St. John Lutheran Church. Interment will be in the Mansfield Lutheran Cemetery in Alden at 3:30pm. In lieu of flowers, donations are preferred to St. John Lutheran Church Foundation of Owatonna or the Exchange Center for Family Unity.