Louis Theodore Almén – pastor, professor, author – dies


The Rev. Louis Theodore Almén, 88, a former president of Thiel College in Greenville, Pa., one of 26 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) colleges and universities, died June 3 surrounded by family at his home in Oviedo, Fla.

Almén was a former executive director of the Board of College Education and Church Vocations and the Division for Professional Leadership of the former Lutheran Church in America (LCA), a predecessor church to the current ELCA.

An author of several books, some of his more recent writings include “Vocation in a Post-Vocational Age,” “Now More than Ever,” “The Augustana Heritage Vis-à-vis the Role of the Church in Society” and “Augustana Heritage: Resource for the Fuure.”

Almén earned a Bachelor Degree from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., also an ELCA college. He graduated from the former Augustana Seminary in Rock Island, Ill., and was ordained in 1950 in the Washington Cathedral in Washington, D.C. He later earned a Master of Theology degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, N.J., and a doctorate from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa.

As a pastor, Almén served Bartholomew Lutheran Church in Elizabeth, N.J., and Messiah Lutheran Church in Port Byron, Ill.

In 1976 he was named president of the ELCA’s Thiel College, retiring in 1990. Previously he had taught at the former Upsala College in East Orange, N.J., and Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., another of the ELCA’s colleges.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Ardis “Swanson,” their three children and five grandchildren.