Rev. Gordon Syverson, age 85, of Fosston, MN, passed away on Thursday, November 25th, at his home. A Celebration of Life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 30th, at Kingo Lutheran Church in Fosston with the Rev. John Ragan officiating. Interment will be in Vernes Lutheran Cemetery, rural McIntosh. Visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with a 7:00 p.m. prayer service on Monday, November 29th, at Vernes Lutheran Church. There will also be reviewal for one hour prior to the service on Tuesday at Kingo Lutheran Church. Arrangements are with Carlin Family Funeral Service of Fosston and messages of condolence may be shared at www.carlinfuneral.com.
On Monday, August 3, 1936, Gordon Lee Syverson began his earthly journey. He joined a large farming family in a small white house in Hill River Township in rural McIntosh, Minnesota. His days as a youth were filled with play with his siblings and chores around the farm. He started his life-long love of learning and reading while attending Lindsey Schoolhouse through 8th grade, continuing his education at McIntosh High School, completing high school at Crookston AC. His college years were an example of his willingness to try new things and experience new places. He attended the Bible Institue of Minneapolis, Concordia College-Moorhead, and completing at Augsburg College-Minneapolis. He loved history, philosophy, religion and studied these all of his life. While in Minneapolis, he met and fell in love with Christine Frantsen of the Minot, North Dakota area. They married August 24, 1958. To this loving marriage, three children were born---Naomi, Rhonda, and Michael.
Following his college years, he attended Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul. He followed where God called him even when it did not always make sense to others. An adventure during Seminary was his internship year in Camrose, Alberta, Canada. The four years of seminary were full years---working full-time, attending classes, a new marriage, and a baby. So, following his graduation from Seminary, he took a break and taught high school for two years at Sioux Valley School District in Jackson County, Minnesota.
June of 1966, Gordon was ordained at Vernes Lutheran Church in rural McIntosh. He began serving East and West Zion Lutheran Churches in rural Starbuck, Hancock, and Benson, Minnesota. His selfless dedication to God and God's church were evident throughout his ministry beginning in Starbuck. He loved great worship, singing the hymns of the church with gusto, teaching---particularly about Martin Luther--, and being with God's people. He welcomed all without regard to their life circumstance, was tolerant and patient, was generous with his time and resources. His deepest desire was to make a difference in God's world. His farming roots were evident by raising sheep, growing a large garden, and simply being able to be outside in nature smelling fresh mown hay or watching the crops grow. Gordon served East and West Zion until 1993. While at Starbuck, his wife Christine died after a four year struggle with a rare auto-immune disease. This was a devastating season in his life and the life of the family.
In 1993, Gordon accepted a call to Dunnell, Minnesota to Immanuel and Union State Line Lutheran Churches, as evidence of his devotion to rural and small community ministry. He married Loretta Tollefson on December 28, 1993. While he was at Dunnell, he began his love of bicycle trips, making many over the next years. In 2002, his daughter, Rhonda died from a two-year battle against a rare cancer. This was the second grief-filled time for him and children. He retired from Dunnell in 2008 and moved near to his childhood home in rural Fosston.
Gordon loved conversations with a wide variety of people and moments of quiet reflection, both with a cup of coffee and cookie in hand. He was proud of his Norwegian heritage. He could out eat most of those gathered at table with him...especially potatoes of any shape or size or any recipe. He loved being around family for reunions or games following a meal. During his "retirement", God was not done with him yet. He was a powerful, solid, and skilled preacher. So, he was leading worship and preaching as pulpit supply most Sundays, traveling about Northwest Minnesota. He was invited to serve Calvary Lutheran-Winger, Immanuel Lutheran-Bejou, and Our Savior's Lutheran-McIntosh, which he did faithfully until his death. When his pastoral skills and abilities were needed, he always said "yes." This was especially true to be with a family after the death of a loved one. He brought the message of the power of the resurrection of Jesus to all.
Gordon entered the church triumphant on November 25, 2021 surrounded by his children who lovingly sent him on his way towards God. Gordon was a humble, devout, selfless, and hopeful disciple of Jesus. His desire to make a difference in this world for each individual will continue on through all those he touched throughout his 55 years of ministry and life of 85 years.
Gordon's legacy includes those who love him dearly--daughter Rev. Naomi Garber and her husband Greg, son Michael and his wife Joanna and daughters Amy and Allison, brother Norris, sisters Mary and Faith, son-in-law Keith Levinski, his four-legged companion-Shiloh and many, many family and friends.
He was preceded in death by wife-Christine, daughter-Rhonda, siblings-Alvira, Clara, Ardith, Francis, Anola, Edwin, Alan, and Rupert.
Blessed be the life, memory, and legacy of Gordon Lee Syverson.
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