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Rev. Arnold E. Kromphardt, retired Lutheran district president

Aug. 28, 1929 – April 23, 2016

The Rev. Arnold Ernest Kromphardt, a pastor and former Eastern District president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, died April 23 in New Port Richey, Fla. He was 86.

A native of West Seneca, he was a 1955 graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, then in Springfield, Ill. He began his ministry as a missionary at large for the Evangelical Church of England to organize a congregation for St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church in seaside Sunderland, England. He returned to become head pastor at a church in Marsailles, Ill., in 1957 and at a church in Sharpsburg, Pa., in 1960.

In 1968, Rev. Kromphardt settled in North Tonawanda and became executive director of parish services for the Eastern District of the LCMS, which includes most of New York State, Pennsylvania and parts of Maryland. In 1978, he was elected district president and served in that post until 1991.

He was one of the longest-serving Eastern District presidents and filled numerous national and international leadership roles.

He was pastoral adviser to the International Lutheran Laymen’s League, a member of the Board of Regents of Concordia College in Bronxville, which awarded him an honorary doctorate; representative of the LCMS to Norway and England, and chairman of KAIROS, which maintained a radio ministry to mainland China beginning in the 1980s.

During his years as a district administrator, he also served as an unpaid assistant pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in North Tonawanda. He took a leading role in the development of the newly established Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary on the campus of Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., and served as a board member.

“He was one of God’s instruments helping the Eastern District to heal after the tumult of the 1970s,” said Matthew Harrison, LCMS national president. “Certainly, many pastors and lay leaders in the district will remember his focus on Christ, his care for workers and his ready sense of humor.”

Rev. Kromphardt received numerous church and community awards, including recognition by Rep. Jack Kemp for work on the Citizens Committee on Pollution in the 1970s.

He was a dedicated supporter of Camp Pioneer in Angola, a founder of the Lutheran Association for the Developmentally Disabled, a Red Cross volunteer and editor of numerous publications for clergy and parishioners.

In retirement, he continued to preach and travel, filling pastoral vacancies and supporting LCMS mission efforts. He was associate pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church in Buffalo in the mid-1990s, then took a post with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Foundation. He moved to Florida in 1997.

Survivors include his wife of 60 years, the former Caroline Ellen Teske; a son, Daniel; two daughters, Susan Maack and Debra Keresztes; his twin brother, Wilbur; six grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. June 11 in Trinity Lutheran Church, 146 Reserve Road, West Seneca.

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