3/10/1941 - 8/5/2022
Omaha - Charles Arnold Gierke was born March 10, 1941, in Billings, Montana, the first of five children born to Arnold and Lillian Gierke. On March 30, 1941, he was baptized into the death and resurrection of his Lord Jesus Christ at Hardin Lutheran Mission, Hardin, MT. Charles lived in Hardin until moving with the family to Butte, MT, when his father became the pastor of St. Mark Lutheran Church. Charles confirmed his Baptismal faith on Pentecost Sunday, June 5, 1955. His Confirmation verse was 2 Corinthians 5:15,
He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again
Charles attended a year of high school in Butte. Then, in preparation for the pastoral ministry in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, he left home to attend Concordia High School in Portland, OR. Prior to beginning college, Charles took part in a Walther League-sponsored program as a Caravaner. He and his team traveled to the Midwest, visiting and working with youth and youth leaders, leading Bible studies, and initiating or participating in various other church activities. He then continued his pastoral education at Concordia Jr. College in Portland, OR; Concordia Sr. College in Ft. Wayne, IN; and Concordia Theological Seminary in Springfield, IL, with a 3
year Seminary vicarage assignment at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church/School in Wauwatosa, WI.
He briefly met his future wife, Joyce Duchow, on a train trip with a college roommate. It wasn’t until several years and trips later when he decided she was The One. Prior to beginning his vicarage year in Wauwatosa, Charles and Joyce were joined in holy matrimony at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Flint, MI, on August 1, 1965. Their marriage was blessed with five children: Gail, Paul, John, Karin, and Sean.
Charles graduated from the Seminary on May 26, 1967. On June 25, 1967, he was ordained into the ministry of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod by his father at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Belvidere, IL. His first Call was as a missionary-at-large to west Flint, MI, where he and Joyce initiated and continued the process of starting a new congregation, St. Andrew Lutheran Church. With his dedicated work ethic and her music and organ abilities, Charles always said they made a good pair: he worked and she played!
In 1974, Charles also served as the presiding pastor to assist in forming Hope Lutheran Church in Linden, MI. He and Joyce continued their ministry in the following congregations: Bethel Lutheran Church/School, Westmont, IL; Immanuel Lutheran Church/School, Columbus, NE; and St. Mark Lutheran Church/Preschool, Omaha, NE. He retired from active parish ministry on March 31, 2006.
During his years of ministry, Charles was active on various boards and commissions in the districts where he served, including as a mentor for the Consecrated Stewards program in the Nebraska District, and was an invited participant at several synodical stewardship conferences. He was also involved in the communities in which he lived, using the gifts God had given him throughout his life: police chaplain; religious columnist; hospital board of ethics member; speaker in radio ministry—one of his school-age skills he continued as an adult; and member of Rotary International, receiving the Paul Harris Fellow award from the Rotary Foundation.
In ministry and in retirement, Charles was a Godly mentor. He supervised a deaconess, several vicars, participated in the PALS program, and worked in Omaha with Sudanese men preparing for the pastorate. Gifted by God in the areas of missions and stewardship, he passionately promoted these in his family life as well as with his church members and friends. He was also an excellent Bible teacher. Ask any of his children how well he knew the Scriptures when their misbehavior needed correcting or when their challenges in life needed a fatherly piece of advice!
Some of the most memorable times with Charles had to do with his quick wit and sense of humor. He often could not remember the punchline of a joke, which made his telling of the joke funnier. Unless he was in the pulpit preaching, you never knew if he was pulling your leg! He was a teaser. He gave nicknames to people, especially family members. He enjoyed storytelling, including stories of when he was young.
However, Charles would not have listed any of these “facts of life” as being important in the long run. Rather, his confession of faith was of utmost importance: He was first and foremost a loved, redeemed, forgiven child of God, and he would have told you it was only by the power of God’s Spirit working in him that he could fulfill any of these roles. He knew the grace and mercy of God in his life and practiced it with his family, friends, and parishioners. An admonition was frequently followed by a hug or a prayer or both. He was a good listener and a thought-filled advisor. He used any opportunity to bring Jesus into a conversation. He told you often that he loved you. A frequent good-bye phrase of his was: “God bless you. I love you.” He was a humble servant for the Lord and for others.
Charles continued to live faith-fully for the Lord until the morning of August 5, 2022, when the Lord said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your Lord,” and took him Home. He was predeceased by his parents; two sisters, Judith Gierke and Karen Gehrke; one great-grandchild; several brothers- and sisters-in-law; a niece; and a nephew. Remaining to cherish his memory are his wife, Joyce; children: Gail Black, Paul , John , Karin Jensen, and Sean; 12 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren; two brothers: Eugene and Timothy , and brother-in-law, Wil Gehrke; and numerous other relatives and friends.
Thanks be to God, who has given Charles the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! 1 Corinthians 15:57
Visitation Wednesday August 24th from 9:00 - 10:00 AM with Memorial Service at 10:00 AM at Divine Shepherd Lutheran Church 15005 Q Street Omaha, NE. 68137
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to: Concordia University Nebraska
, Orphan Grain Train
, Concordia Seminary St. Louis
, or Mission Central of LCMS Missions
Roeder Mortuary, Inc. - 108th Street Chapel - 2727 N 108th St - Omaha, NE - 402-496-9000 www.RoederMortuary.com