Rev. Allan James Stoa

Published 2:15 pm Monday, February 26, 2024

Rev. Allan James Stoa, a devoted servant of God, passed away peacefully on February 22, 2024 at St John’s Lutheran Community in Albert Lea, MN.

Rev. Allan James Stoa

He was born in Austin, MN, to Bernard and Alberta (Brighton) Stoa on April 27, 1937. He spent his formative years basking in the simple joys of rural life and spending summers at his grandparent’s farm in Moscow, MN. Cultivating a strong work ethic at the young age of 10, he tended to a paper route, amongst many other jobs, while pursuing his education. He would later instill these same work ethics in his children and grandchildren. After graduating from Albert Lea High School in 1955, Al dutifully served his country in the US Army stationed in Germany before returning to cherished home soil, where he embarked on a shared journey of faith and learning.

In September of 1957 he joined his high school sweetheart, Nancy Skinner, at Luther College. Al and Nancy exchanged vows on December 28, 1957 at Christ Episcopal Church in Albert Lea, MN, setting the foundation for a life enriched with purpose and dedication. Together, they welcomed their daughters Kirsten and Kari, navigating the challenges of academic pursuits with grace and unity. Following their college graduation in 1961, Al and Nancy chose to return to their roots in Albert Lea, where Al began a career at Skinner’s and reconnected with their spiritual home at First Lutheran Church.

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Through moments of reflection and service, Al discerned a divine calling to ministry, immersing himself in theological studies at Luther Seminary. Alongside his fulfillment of his Clergy Internship as an assistant Chaplain at Deconess Hospital, they also welcomed daughter, Maren and son, Kirk into their growing family. Following his ordination on June 8, 1968, at First Lutheran Church, Al’s unwavering commitment to spreading the teachings of Christ led him to pastoral positions across northern Iowa for the Iowa Synod, beginning at Buck Creek Sumner for 12 years and continuing for 24 additional years for various other parishes; shaping the lives of countless congregants with his compassionate guidance and unwavering faith. In 1971 they welcomed another son, Leif, into their now family of seven. In conjunction with his parish ministry, Al was also the Chaplain at the Lutheran Retirement Home in Northwood, IA for 15 years, between 1984-1999. His retirement in 2003 marked the transition to a new chapter of voluntary ministry, culminating in his esteemed role as Visitation Pastor at First Lutheran Church, where his spiritual journey had commenced.

Revered for his selflessness and humbleness, Pastor Al devoted five decades of his life to the ministry, embracing each individual with the same unyielding love and respect; and in June of 2023 he was honored with a 50 year commendation from the Bishop. A man of steadfast principles and unwavering dedication, Al’s legacy transcends the boundaries of time, leaving an indelible mark on those blessed to have known him.

His love for his family was evident in the cherished memories they created together, from family road trips across the US to wonderful days spent fishing, swimming, and skiing at the family cabin on Lake Roosevelt in Outing, MN. One memorable road trip took them to California with Grandma and Grandpa Stoa along with their young family; a true testament of Al’s patience. His passion for woodworking bore witness to his meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail, reflective of the care and love he poured into everything he did. His pockets were always full of shiny quarters which he graciously shared with the children of his congregation and his grandchildren. Winters were filled with many trips to surrounding churches to relish in the annual Lutefisk dinners.

Nancy recently shared with Al, her love and devotion for him by thanking him for 70 years of knowing and loving him. He was a man of great warmth and kindness, deeply loved by his children and grandchildren. A reflection from his grandchild states that “everyone was someone to Grandpa Al”. We take solace in the knowledge that his spirit will continue to guide and inspire us. Rest in peace, Pastor Al, your work on Earth is done, but your light will forever shine bright in our hearts.

Al will be lovingly remembered by his wife, Nancy of 66 years; children, Kirsten (Russ) Meyer, Kari (Randy) Balk, Maren (Mike) Bartlett, Kirk (Kari) Stoa, and Leif (Lisen) Stoa; grandchildren, Nicole (Kevin) Knudson, Natalie (Luke) Plagge, Emily (Erik) Nelson, Jordan (Hailey) Balk, Josie (Jake) Burg, Anna (Dylan) Smallwood, Zachary, Hannah, and Josiah Bartlett, Taylor (Joel) Barclay, Nick (Kayla) Stoa, Jana (Jackson) Petersen, Joshua (Menah) Stoa, and Emma, Andrew, and Aaron Stoa; great-grandchildren, Lane, Ella, Reese, Riley, Kinzley, Kase, Karlie, Nora, Judah, Nolan, Quinn, Ryker, Brecken, Kale, Stella, Oletta, Beau, Landon, Kenley, and Remi; sisters-in-law, Jane (Mike Jensen) Peck, Marilyn Ireland, and Aroon Stoa; brother-in-law, Rick (Carole) Skinner; and many nieces and nephews.

Al was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Marilyn Stoa; and brothers, Joel (Judy) Stoa and Dennis Stoa.

A funeral service will be held at 2:00 PM on Friday, March 1, 2024, at First Lutheran Church in Albert Lea, MN; Pastor Joy Knoppel will officiate. Al’s family will greet guests at a visitation held from 3:30 PM – 6:00 PM on Thursday, February 29, 2024, at First Lutheran Church in Albert Lea, MN and one hour prior to the service. Interment will be at Graceland Cemetery in Albert Lea, MN at a later date.

In Lieu of flowers memorial may be given to Peace and Power at First Lutheran Church, 301 W Clark St, Albert Lea, MN 56007 or St John’s Lutheran Community in Albert Lea, MN.