The Rev. David H. Manrodt dies at age 88

Beloved Lutheran pastor also inspired seminarians who studied at his church

August 21, 2010|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

The Rev. David H. Manrodt, who had been pastor of Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northeast Baltimore for nearly four decades, died Aug. 10 of pneumonia at Northwest Hospital Center.

The former longtime Parkville resident was 88.

Dr. Manrodt, a third-generation Lutheran minister, was born in New York City and moved to Baltimore in 1931, when his father was appointed pastor of Friedens Evangelical Lutheran Church on North Chester Street.

After graduating from City College in 1938, he worked at the old Glenn L. Martin Co. in Middle River and as an insulation installer for the Johns Manville Corp. while earning money for his college education, family members said.

After earning his bachelor's degree from Loyola College in 1942, he completed his religious studies at Lancaster Seminary and Gettysburg Seminary, and was ordained a Lutheran minister in 1945.

Dr. Manrodt began his pastoral career as assistant pastor at Community Protestant Church in Middle River and in 1948 was appointed pastor of Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church in the 4600 block of Belair Road.

He would remain the church's pastor for the next 38 years until retiring in 1986.

"I was in Pastor's first confirmation class in 1948, and we remained close friends for the next 62 years," said William P. Braun, who left the church when he moved to Shrewsbury, Pa., six months before Dr. Manrodt's retirement. "He was just an outstanding servant of the Lord. He was a great man. One of a kind.

"He was so interested in doing his job well. He could talk to the highest government or business official as well as the humblest laborer or child. He had a way of communicating with everyone," Mr. Braun said.

Mr. Braun said that Dr. Manrodt maintained a busy daily schedule.

"His datebook was full, and he was always going from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.," he said.

Later in life, Dr. Manrodt returned to college, earning a Ph.D. in systematic theology in 1980 from St. Mary's Seminary & University and Ecumenical Institute of Theology in Roland Park.

The Rev. G. Edward Whetstone, who just retired from Salem Lutheran Church in Catonsville, where he had been pastor for 32 years, had been a pastoral intern at Dr. Manrodt's church.

"He was always 'Pastor Manrodt' to the seminarians or interns, as we were called, as well as to the parishioners, or 'Herr Pastor,' which suggested an authoritative or autocratic German style," Mr. Whetstone recalled.

"But he did so in a loving manner, and he did rule in the call of his ministry and God," he said. "He was a very strong pastoral figure for his congregation. The love for his congregation was very palpable, and Dave was well-loved there."

He praised Dr. Manrodt's ability at "personalizing his illustrations" in his sermons to "create his parables."

"Dave had a very forceful older style of preaching, but that's not to say that humor didn't often break out in his sermons that was much appreciated by his congregation," he said.

Dr. Manrodt could often be playful with the "interns," Mr. Whetstone recalled.

"I remember going near his office and hearing Dave say, 'dummkopf,' and wondering what was wrong now," he said, with a laugh.

"His congregation and interns appreciated him, and they had every reason to do so," Mr. Whetstone said. "He certainly influenced my life and ministry."

"He was a mentor, friend and colleague to his seminarians and kept in touch with them," said a son, Thomas Manrodt of New Mexico.

Dr. Manrodt was the founder and director of the men's chorus at his church and was active in the Lutheran League youth group.

Earlier, he had also taught at the old Lutheran Training School at the Greenwood School in Ruxton, which is now the headquarters for the Baltimore County Board of Education.

After retiring, he volunteered at St. John's Lutheran Church in Parkville, visiting the sick in hospitals and shut-ins.

Since 2006, the longtime Parkville resident had lived at the Augsburg Lutheran Home in Lochearn.

Dr. Manrodt was fascinated by European castles and had taken several trips to visit them. He also enjoyed creating an annual Christmas garden for many years. He was a fan of murder mysteries.

His wife of 60 years, the former Miriam Miller, died in 2008.

Services were held at his church Aug. 14.

Also surviving are two sons, both Lutheran ministers, the Rev. John Manrodt of Minneapolis and the Rev. Paul Manrodt of Wernersville, Pa.; five grandchildren; and five great-granddaughters.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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