Family, friends, and former colleagues of James C. Pelzl gathered on November 19, 2012, at Messiah Lutheran Church of Eau Claire, Wis., to praise the Lord Jesus for bringing this unique person into the world (June 28, 1926), for taking James into His family via the rebirth of Holy Baptism, for fostering his growth in godliness and his pursuit of academics, for nurturing him in marriage with Lorna Gerlach (Nov. 22, 1951) and endowing them with daughters Peggy, Susan, and Julie.
We glorify the Lord for using Prof. Pelzl’s talents in the teaching ministry at Immanuel Lutheran College (1971-1991), and after the Lord called Lorna to eternal rest (1975), for nurturing him in marriage with Carla Thurow (1976) and for endowing them with their son Paul.
Whether behind the podium in his math/science classroom or at his workbench crafting furniture and stringed musical instruments, Prof. Pelzl conducted himself as a Christian gentleman; even his emphatic “Really, I’m serious!” had an endearing quality. Jim made and kept friends for the long haul; he gave more than he took; he enjoyed serving others.
Our memories of Jim as a Christian friend are kept fresh in Messiah congregation as we worship in view of the chancel furniture that he built to grace our sanctuary. In addition, furniture and musical instruments that he crafted for family and friends remain as testimonials to his meticulous concern for quality (cf. Acts 9:39).
Throughout Jim’s life, the Lord sustained Jim with His Word as the Spirit empowered him to leave behind secular advantages and to avoid religious falsehoods—as he served the Church of the Lutheran Confession on a number of boards and committees and educated an entire generation of Immanuel Lutheran High School and College students. When he retired from the ILC faculty, Jim remarked that he would miss (most of all) the mid-morning chapel services, for the Word of God was his meat and potatoes. [Editor’s note: These chapel services are accessible at http://www.ilc.edu/chapel.htm.]
Since November 14, 2012, James C. Pelzl holds a choice seat in God’s auditorium, where he is enjoying worship services “world without end.” Still in their time of grace are his wife Carla; his four children: Peggy (Mark) Herrick, Susan (Mike) Eichstadt, Julie, and son Paul; five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, three brothers, a number of nieces and nephews, and many friends in his Christian family.
On our part, we testify to the Lord’s work accomplished through one of his humble workmen, for we attend to the voice from heaven: “…‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them’” (Revelation 14:13).