Theodore Jungkuntz

"Pastor Ted" Theodore R. Jungkuntz

February 6, 1932 June 8, 2020

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Obituary for "Pastor Ted" Theodore R. Jungkuntz

Theodore Robert Jungkuntz was called home to Jesus on June 8, 2020 exactly 10 years to the day after his beloved wife Lois was called to her heavenly home. He suffered a stroke on Saturday, June 6, while doing what he loved, teaching his men’s Bible Study. He died, with his son on his right and his daughter on his left, holding his hands as he was ushered into the arms of his Savior, the one who bled and died for him and now called him home. Just as the hand of God was evident in his death, the hand of God was evident throughout his lifetime.

Theodore Robert was born in Watertown, Wisconsin on Feb. 6, 1932. The fifth child out of six. His parents, Otto and Clara Jungkuntz, had experienced the devastating loss of their six year old son from a brain tumor while Clara was pregnant. They received this child as a “gift of God” in the midst of their loss, hence his name, Theodore, which means “gift of God.” His middle name, Robert, is in honor of the brother who died. This experience marked him as he knew from a very young age the reality of death and the importance of “counting his days aright and applying his heart towards wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

Growing up in the home of a Lutheran teacher, principal, organist, and choir master and having both grandfathers as pastors also shaped his life. After being confirmed on March 25, 1945, it was only natural that he should leave home to go to Northwestern Preparatory School for high school and then Northwestern College to prepare to be a pastor. Although up to that point Ted had followed the typical course for a son of a teacher and grandson of a pastor, he next charted his own course by taking a year off prior to going to the seminary to get a Master’s Degree in Classical Languages from the University of Missouri. After that he returned to Wisconsin to go to the Wisconsin Synod Seminary in Thiensville from 1954-1958. During that time he also taught Latin and Greek at Northwestern College in Watertown.

After graduating from seminary, his brother, Richard, also a pastor, encouraged him to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Germany. Much to his surprise, he won the scholarship! The hand of God. One week before he left, he dated his father’s favorite first grade teacher, Lois Westcott. They continued writing almost daily letters after he left and were publicly engaged by Christmas. She traveled to Germany the next summer and they were married on August 1, 1959 in Erlangen, Germany. The newlyweds lived in Heidelberg, Germany for two more years and he received his Doctor of Theology in Nov. 1962.

Ted received his first call as a Missouri Synod pastor and was ordained on March 17, 1963, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Concordia, Missouri. That first year of being an assistant pastor was very difficult for him and led to a time of deep depression. During this time his daughter Rebecca Lois, known as Becky, was born. A year later he received a call to teach Latin at St. Paul’s College in Concordia. God’s hand was present in the midst of the challenging experience of his first pastorate. What at first felt like a failure in his life opened the door for God’s next step in his future which was being called to teach theology at Valparaiso University from 1966 to 1983. These were fruitful years. His second child, Theodore Michael, known as Ted, was born. It was also during this time that he came into contact with people in the Charismatic Renewal and he had a personal experience of the Holy Spirit which changed the course of his life.

While at Valparaiso University he was given the opportunity to become the Director of the Reutlingen Study Center in Germany from 1969-1972, where he both taught classes and led study center trips throughout Europe. After returning home and inspired by Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book Life Together he became interested in living out Christian community. So Ted and Lois purchased a 100 year old home which they called Covenant House and invited students to live with them. Their “household” continued from 1974 – 1983. This led to a life rich with relationships and continued to develop his pastoral shepherd’s heart.

Life was full with teaching at the university, serving at Immanuel Lutheran Church, and speaking around the country at Lutheran Charismatic Conferences and even speaking in East Germany. He was a founding member of Renewal in Missouri and was a regular contributor to the RIM Newsletters and other journals. During this time he published several books: The Formulators of the Formula of Concord, Lutheran Charismatic Catechism, and Confirmation and the Charismata, as well as writing several chapters in Welcome, Holy Spirit. He also participated in Lutheran Catholic Dialogues at Notre Dame. He had put down roots and fully intended to end his career at Valparaiso University.

But God had other plans for him and his family. In 1983, he received the call to pastor Cross and Resurrection Lutheran Church, a church started by the Word of God Community in Ann Arbor Michigan. While deeply faithful to his understanding of the Lutheran Confessions, he had a deep appreciation for his brothers and sisters in Christ in other denominations and was drawn to this ecumenical community. After much prayer, he felt God’s leading to put the theology he was teaching into practice in pastoral ministry and he accepted the call. He loved serving this small but vibrant congregation.

During his time in Ann Arbor he became involved in the prolife movement and participated in a number of Operation Rescue sit-ins in front of Planned Parenthood Clinics which resulted in a 10 day stay at the “Hogback Hilton” otherwise known as the Washtenaw County Jail. Ted and Lois then made a commitment to pray outside of the Ann Arbor Planned Parenthood which they did for many years caring for both those visiting the clinic and those who worked inside the clinic. He also continued to be involved in speaking internationally, going to Finland with Larry Christenson, and doing mission trips to Latvia, Nigeria, India, and Israel. He retired from Cross and Resurrection in 1999.

In 2001, Ted began serving as Pastor Assistant at St. Luke Lutheran in Ann Arbor where he continued to serve in a variety of ways until his death. While he spent time preaching, teaching, and writing, he also devoted much time to caring for people, counseling in the basement office of his home or later at his office at St. Luke. In his later years, his ministry focused on caring for the homebound, the sick, and the dying and giving them Jesus in the sacrament of Holy Communion.

In 2003, his beloved wife Lois was diagnosed with “mild cognitive impairment” which later led to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. This difficult journey brought them close together as she learned to be a care-receiver and he a care-giver. Their love and commitment testified to God’s work in their lives and they saw God’s hand of love sustaining them through the challenges of living with Alzheimer’s. It is no coincidence that he joined her in glory on the 10th anniversary of her death.

When asked which title (Reverend, Doctor, Professor) he wanted on his gravestone, he immediately replied “Pastor Ted” as that title most reflected his heart. His life was not about what he had accomplished, but rather about being faithful in loving others as he had been loved by Jesus and pointing to the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

He is survived by his daughter, Becky Johnson, and her husband, Tom, and stepchildren, Eric (and his children, Hailee and Ashlynn) and Kristen; and son, Ted, and his wife, Katherine, and grandchildren, Faith and Josiah. He is also survived by his sister, Doris Schumann, and brother, Daniel Jungkuntz, and his wife, Patricia, and by many nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to St. Luke Lutheran Church or Ann Arbor Christian School.

Taken on Easter Sunday of 2020 per Dad’s request.
His final picture with his grandchildren, Josiah and Faith.

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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Tuesday June 16, 2020 | 2:00pm - 5:00pm
    St. Luke's Lutheran Church
    4205 Washtenaw Ave.
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    Tuesday June 16, 2020
    2:00pm - 5:00pm
  • Second Visitation

    Tuesday June 16, 2020 | 6:00pm - 7:30pm
    St. Luke's Lutheran Church
    4205 Washtenaw Ave.
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    Tuesday June 16, 2020
    6:00pm - 7:30pm
  • Funeral Service

    Wednesday June 17, 2020 | 10:30am
    St. Luke's Lutheran Church
    4205 Washtenaw Ave.
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |
    Wednesday June 17, 2020
    Pastor John Sproul
  • Interment

    Bethlehem Cemetery
    2801 Jackson Road
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email |


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Bill & Suzanne Brannan, Terri Pulice, and other have sent flowers to the family of "Pastor Ted" Theodore R. Jungkuntz.
Hand delivered by a local florist
Bill & Suzanne Brannan, Terri Pulice, and other have sent flowers to the family of "Pastor Ted" Theodore R. Jungkuntz.
Hand delivered by a local florist

Ray Barker

Pastor Ted is truly a man of God and now is with Him for eternity. Words cannot express how much he has touched and impacted my life and that of my mom Karen, but this is exactly what he did his entire ministry for us, but every one that had the pleasure of meeting him. Our deepest condolences during go to the family and all during this difficult time. Pastor Ted would surely remind us that we will all be together for eternity when Christ returns. Until then, we will hold this man in our hearts.

With our deepest sympathy,
Raymond and Karen Barker
Comment | Posted at 08:12pm via Condolence

Bill Brannan

It is impossible to say enough about miss wonderful men who love God with all his heart mind and soul. We love you we will see you again one day
Comment | Posted at 09:10am via Condolence

Bill & Suzanne Brannan

Pastor Ted will remain in our hearts forever
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Bill & Suzanne Brannan purchased flowers for the family of "Pastor Ted" Theodore R. Jungkuntz.
Comment | Posted at 08:14am via Floral Arrangements

Phil Banegas

I was introduced to Pastor Ted in the summer of 1990 in Ann Arbor Michigan. I was young man from California and I was on a journey. My goal was to find peace and confidence in who I was. I was fortunate to meet some some very good people along the way. They pointed me in the right direction and modeled for me the type of person I wanted to become. One man in particular stood in as a 'father figure' at times and spent many hours helping me understand important aspects of relationship, family, faith and ultimately what it meant to be man who lived with conviction. I was honored when Pastor Ted offered the homily at our wedding, grateful when he welcomed my family at my college graduation, was comforted when he called with encouragement at the passing of my own father and strengthened when he showed confidence in me at times when many others did not. I've been back in California for 17 years now and the encouragement, challenges and faith he modeled still comes to mind frequently as I continue my way through this life. I most certainly look forward to the chance to visit him again in the next life! Thank you Pastor Ted!!!

Please receive our condolences.

Phil and Cami Banegas
Comment | Posted at 10:21pm via Condolence

Michael Stenman

Pastor Ted was a huge influence on me during university years and my twenties. He brought a balance of deep reflection and a heart shaped by the gospel to all aspects of life. You could tell by the way he lived his life that he had a profound experience of God that permeated everything he did. Holding to his convictions often cost him in a variety of ways. He chose to risk career and reputation to pastor C&R when he could have chosen a more comfortable path. So many of us benefited from the personal commitment Pastor Ted made to follow his call. His willingness to spend time with people of all walks of life listening and counseling them is still bearing fruit today. Oh how we could Pastor Ted's insights, compassion and leadership in these difficult days. Thank you Pastor Ted. Pray for us!
Comment | Posted at 11:12pm via Condolence

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