Obit: Schwertfeger, Harold A. (1914 - 2003)

Contact: Crystal Wendt

Surnames: Schwertfeger, Hintze, Strauss, Wendorf, Burke, Luckhardt, Williams

----Sources: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, Wis.) 15 Oct. 2003

Schwertfeger, Harold A. (16 Nov. 1914 - 11 Oct. 2003)*Dates were taken from SSDI.

Following in father's footsteps Schwertfeger served as pastor in Whitefish Bay

The Rev. Harold A. Schwertfeger believed in going about his father's business.

He followed in the footsteps of his own minister father, and he listened for the call of his heavenly father. In 1942, he was called as the first full-time pastor at Our Savior Evangelical Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, in Whitefish Bay. He served there until official retirement in 1983, the same year that he moved to Mequon with his wife, Mildred.

"He was called a number of times to other parishes, and he decided he wanted to stay in Whitefish Bay, that God wanted him to be there," said his daughter, Tina Hintze.

Schwertfeger died of a heart attack Saturday. He was 88.

He held a number of pastoral positions in retirement - filling temporary vacancies and guest minister duties - but remained a member of Our Savior in Whitefish Bay.

"He let the new minister do his thing," his daughter said. "But that was his home church. And he wanted to be there."

Schwertfeger was born in the little Clark County community of Withee. He later grew up in Horicon after his father, Frederick A. Schwertfeger, accepted a call to St. Stephen Lutheran Church there.

Harold Schwertfeger was ordained at St. Stephen by his father, just a week before being installed as pastor at Our Savior in Whitefish Bay. His father also officiated as the young minister and his bride, the former Mildred Strauss, were married the following year.

They would have celebrated 60 years of marriage Oct. 23.

When Schwertfeger arrived in Whitefish Bay, the parish was a mission church, then on W. Silver Spring Drive.

"In his tenure, they built the church and quite a large addition with the Sunday school rooms," Hintze said. "And they built the parsonage next door."

"He baptized and confirmed all four of his children," she said. "He got to marry three of his children and to offer a special prayer at the fourth service, held at a Catholic church. . . . He baptized seven grandchildren and was involved in the confirmation of at least five of them."

Schwertfeger happily officiated at other family occasions, including the wedding of a nephew, married in Hawaii.

He also loved to travel.

"We took a trip to Europe in 1980," said Bob Wendorf, a friend who is now head elder with the church. "One of the highlights for him was going to Castle Church at Wittenberg, where Martin Luther began the Reformation. We had a church service there, and he got to preach from the same pulpit that Luther had used in the 1500s. That was just marvelous for him."

So was a visit to the Holy Land.

Back at home, his interests included playing golf and following all the area teams. "They went to Badger games all those years the Badgers were terrible," his daughter said. "He would say, 'I hope I live long enough if, someday, they go to the Rose Bowl,' " Wendorf said. The Badgers did. The Schwertfegers and their friends got to see the game, he said.

Throughout his life, Schwertfeger was an involved father and a devoted grandfather. "He was very loving and generous," his daughter said. "He was understanding and kind and faithful."

Survivors include his wife, Mildred; daughters Tina Hintze and Adele Burke; sons Ronald and James; sisters Esther Doughty Luckhardt, Dorothy Schwertfeger and Selma Williams; brother Frederick; and grandchildren.

Visitation was Tuesday. A brief visitation will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. today, before the funeral service at 11 a.m. Both will be held at Our Savior Evangelical Lutheran Church, 6021 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Whitefish Bay.



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