+ Edwin Samuel Suelflow +
Edwin Suelflow was honored just this past summer for his 70th anniversary in the ministry. He gave an impromptu and humbling speech at the South Wisconsin District Convention at which this honor was given which might bring a tear to your eye if you watch it (and you really should), as it did for me and evidently for those present, including current SWD President Wille whom you can see behind him at the dais. It was as fellow editor Karl Fabrizius put it to me, one of the best sermons you will hear from a man who knew death was at the door.
I was blessed to have known Ed Suelflow for some 33 years, almost half the years since his ordination, and the lion’s share of my own time in the Holy Office. For six of those years he was my District President, but I prefer to think of him as having been my Bishop, because I was among that select group of men who count ourselves immensely blessed to have been pastors under his avuncular and kind episcopal care. He understood the kind of encouragement, admonition, and mercy that the young pastors under his oversight needed, with an acute sense of wisdom such as is seldom seen. His discernment was such a deep-rooted part of him that it always seemed to us that he was instinctively ready to give a word fitly spoken, like apples of gold in pictures of silver. It is written that as an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear. This I have certainly experienced, and I count it an unspeakably great privilege to be able to say that his influence on my own pastoral formation was formidable. Today we mourn with those who mourn, but we rejoice to know that he has at last gained the heavenly prize which he unwaveringly preached. Requiescat in pace, Edwin Suelflow, asleep in Jesus at 94.