Dr. Leland R. Stevens, executive editor of Reporter and The Lutheran Witness from 1979 to 1984, died Jan. 27 after suffering an apparent heart attack at home in Allen, Texas. He was 76.
Dr. Stevens’ ministry included 20 years as a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force and pastorates at congregations in Maryland and New Mexico. Stevens also wrote for LifeLight Bible Studies, Concordia Pulpit Resources and Portals of Prayer, all published by Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis.
During his ministry, Dr. Stevens also served on the Board of Directors and as a circuit counselor in the Colorado (now Rocky Mountain) District, was a member and chairman of the LCMS Armed Forces Commission, and was on the Board of Directors of Good Shepherd Lutheran Home of the West.
Dr. Stevens entered the chaplaincy in 1953 after graduating from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and retired in 1973 with the rank of Colonel. His pastoral ministry included First Lutheran Church, Bowie, Md. (1973-76); Trinity Lutheran Church, Alamogordo, N.M. (1976-79); and Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Ruidoso, N.M. (1984-90). In retirement, he helped congregations with pastoral vacancies in New Mexico and Texas.
In addition to earning an M.Div. degree from Concordia Seminary in 1953 and a Ph.D. in American Studies from St. Louis University in 1987, Stevens earned an M.A. degree in religious journalism from Syracuse University, New York, in 1968.
While studying for his doctorate at St. Louis University, Stevens researched the history of The Lutheran Witness. He wrote “Trends in the Missouri Synod as Reflected in The Lutheran Witness 1882-Early 1990s,” which was published in 1996 as three articles in the Concordia Historical Journal.
Survivors include his wife, Meta, of Allen, Texas; daughters Kathy and Elizabeth; sons David and Jonathan; four grandchildren; a brother; and a sister.
The funeral service was held Jan. 31 at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Plano, Texas, with burial Feb. 1 at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.
Memorials may be directed to Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Plano or to the National Kidney Foundation.
Posted Feb. 15, 2006