Bruce Baum

Bruce Baum

I graduated from JFK in 1969.  Prior to that I was a student at Dana College for two years from 1963-1964. I took a year off in 1964 and in 1965 I transferred to JFK.  I found a home at JFK and discovered a closeness with the professors that made learning challenging and enjoyable, especially Professor Wiseman.  I loved his lectures!

Following graduation from JFK in 1969 I was accepted to Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa to pursue studies for the Lutheran ministry.  In 1972, as part of my preparation for the ministry, I served as an intern at American Lutheran Church in Milbank, South Dakota where I met my wife to be, Pamela Young who was a high school music teacher.  We dated that third year of seminary and were engaged before I returned to Seminary to complete my fourth year of studies.  Then on June 30, 1973 Pam and I were married.  In July of 1973 I graduated from seminary with a MD degree majoring in world history and psychology. I was ordained in August of that same year.

My first call was to serve as the pastor of Hope Lutheran Church in Burr, Nebraska.  I served that congregation for four and a half years. In 1974 our first child, a daughter, was born.  A year later our second daughter was born.   It was in 1978 that I accepted a call to serve Immanuel Lutheran Church in Chadron, Nebraska.  I served Immanuel Lutheran for eight and a half years and during that time that our third daughter was born.

In 1986 Faith Lutheran Church in Rapid City, South Dakota called me to serve as their pastor.  I served this congregation for twenty-three years and decided to retire in 2008 after thirty-five years in the ministry. However, I found retirement boring so for eleven months I filled in at congregations that were temporarily without a pastor.  During that time, I also worked at 4 funeral homes in Rapid City helping the funeral directors with services and ministering to families who had no church affiliation. I officiated at funerals for people who died by suicide, were murdered or were physically abused and whose clergy refused to do their funeral service.  I continue to do that ministry as I find it rewarding and fulfilling.  Of course, during my retirement, I officiated at many weddings and counseled people for various reasons.

But then in 2010 I was asked by the members of Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Rapid City to serve as an interim pastor on a part time basis.  That was supposed to be for a year or two but has turned out to be eight years now.  I enjoy ministry and all aspects of it, especially preaching and visiting people in their homes.  Maybe I really will retire in three years, thus bringing to an end fifty wonderful years of ministry.

In 1990 my wife and I went to Thailand to adopt a Thai boy seven years old.  He is now 36 years old and has a son that is seven years old.  Then in 1992 my wife and I returned to Thailand to adopt another child.  He was 8 years old at the time and is now 35 years old.  Our three daughters and their husbands have blessed us with six grandchildren, giving us a total of seven grandchildren. Of course, as often as we are able, my wife and I attend our grandchildren's school programs, band and choir concerts, and sporting events.  Fortunately, our health has been good, so my wife and I have also been able to travel abroad to quite a few countries. I also studied in Germany for a while.

Life has been good and I thank God every day for all the people, including my JFK classmates and roommates who have been instrumental in shaping my personality and making me the person I am today by the grace of God.   The JFK reunion should be a great time. I commend everyone who has worked so hard to put this event together. I wish I could be there but am unable to do so because of other time conflicts.  However, I do look forward to reading the bios of my fellow classmates.

Bruce Baum, class of 1979