Rev. James R. Linderman, former president of the LCMS Texas District, died Jan. 1 of lung cancer at his home in Austin, Texas. He was 75.
The funeral service was held Jan. 5 at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Austin. LCMS President Emeritus Dr. Gerald Kieschnick preached at the service.
As first vice-president of the Texas District, Rev. Linderman became the district’s president in 2001, filling the vacancy created when Kieschnick, his predecessor, was elected LCMS president. Rev. Linderman served as district president until his retirement in 2006.
Kieschnick said he was “humbled and honored” to preach at Rev. Linderman’s funeral, and described his friend as “a man’s man” who served in the Green Berets, was a paratrooper and loved to hunt and fish.
At the same time, he was “down to earth,” Kieschnick told Reporter. “He was a very humble, country man of God who was like a brother to me … a man that I loved dearly. He loved many people and was loved by many. Above all, he loved the Lord and spent his professional career in service to Christ and in ministry to people around the world.”
Rev. Linderman’s wife of 52 years, Jean, described her husband as “a man who definitely loved his Lord, he loved his family so, and he loved his country.” In addition to hunting, he enjoyed playing golf, doing crossword puzzles, spending time at the family ranch and being with his family.
As the son of an oil driller, Rev. Linderman traveled with his parents throughout the southeast Texas and Louisiana oil fields during his youth, according to the Austin American-Statesman. When the family settled to farm and operate a ranch in west Texas, young Linderman attended a one-room school. He later completed elementary and high school in Eola, Texas.
Rev. Linderman was a 1960 graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and held a master’s degree from the University of Kansas in speech, communications and organization.
He also was a graduate of the Basic and the Career U.S. Army Chaplain Schools; attended the Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; and studied Chinese and Russian history and politics at Long Island University.
Rev. Linderman served as assistant pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Houston (1960-62) before accepting a call to become an army chaplain. His 25-year chaplaincy career included assignments with the 82nd Airborne Division, where he logged 57 parachute jumps, and with the Green Berets in Vietnam. He also served chaplaincies in Germany and in Fort Hood, Texas.
He received numerous awards and decorations, including two Legion of Merit medals, and U.S. and Vietnamese Senior Parachute Wings.
He retired from army chaplaincy in 1986 with the rank of colonel. Following that, he served as pastor of St. John Lutheran Church, Athens, Texas (1986-90), and then as pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, Austin. He retired from the ministry in 1998.
Rev. Linderman has been a member of numerous Texas District task forces, committees, commissions, boards and study groups. He also served on the Board of Regents for Concordia University Texas, Austin, and more than six years as a member of the board of directors for Lutheran Social Services of the South, Austin.
He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Concordia University, Austin, in 2002, and was the first recipient of the school’s Beto Christian Leadership Award, presented in 2006.
In addition to his wife, Jean, Rev. Linderman is survived by two children — Lisa (John) Curlee of Georgetown, Texas, and Jeffery (Paula) Linderman of Austin; four grandchildren — Josh (Marisa) DeLong of Killeen, Texas; Justine DeLong of Schwertner, Texas; Kristin (Jerrod) Young of Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Quentin Curlee of Mustang, Okla.; and two great-grandchildren — Christian DeLong and Collin Young.
Memorials may be made to:
- Linderman/Knippa Scholarship Fund, Concordia University Texas, 11400 Concordia University Drive, Austin TX 78726.
- Lutheran Social Services of the South New Life Treatment Center, 8305 Cross Park Drive, Austin TX 78754.
- Lutheran Foundation — Jim and Jean Linderman Endowment Fund, 7900 East Highway 290, Austin TX 78724.
Posted Jan. 3, 2011