Rubke led Concordia University Texas in 1960s

The Rev. Dr. Walter C. Rubke “made the theological, academic and spiritual formation of pastors and laity his life’s vocation,” according to the Rev. Dr. Robert Newton, president of the LCMS California-Nevada-Hawaii (CNH) District. During his long career, Rubke served in many roles in the district and Synod, most notably as president of Concordia Lutheran College in Austin, Texas, (now Concordia University Texas) from 1964-1969.


Walter C. Rubke (1923-2016)

Rubke, who was 92, died peacefully July 7 at his home in Santa Rosa, Calif. A memorial service is set for 11 a.m., Aug. 9 at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Santa Rosa.

“The congregations and pastors of the CNH District rejoice over the reception of our brother Walter Rubke into the Church Triumphant,” Newton wrote in an email to Reporter. “At the same time, we grieve his departure from us, greatly missing his ministry among us and the incredible contributions he’s made to the Gospel’s ministry in the district.”

Early in his career, Rubke served as pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley, Calif., and two mission congregations in Chicago Park and Auburn, Calif. (1949-1951). From 1951 to 1964, he served at California Concordia College, an LCMS college in Oakland, Calif., that closed in the early 1970s.

Following his years at the Concordia college in Texas, Rubke was vice-president for student affairs at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Ind. (1969-1975) and then served three congregations in California: First Lutheran Church, Yuba City (1975-1980); Peace Lutheran Church, Mill Valley (1981-1986); and Grace Lutheran Church, Modesto (1986-1987).

Rubke was a 1948 graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and he later earned a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of California, Berkeley.

He is survived by his wife, Louise, and her daughter, Jennifer Van Stelle, and by his three daughters and their spouses: Linda and Chuck Kennell, Susan Rubke, and Jane and Zane Numazu. He also was blessed with seven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and many nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Gudrun, who died in 1996.

Gifts in Rubke’s memory  may be sent to the LCMS California-Nevada-Hawaii District (2772 Constitution Dr., Suite A, Livermore, CA, 94551). These gifts will benefit students pursuing careers in full-time church work at schools in the Concordia University System or at LCMS seminaries. Please make checks payable to the CNH District and include on the memo line “Rubke Memorial Fund.”

Posted Aug. 5, 2016 / Updated Aug. 8, 2016


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One Response to Rubke led Concordia University Texas in 1960s

  1. Milton Rudnick September 7, 2016 at 8:54 am #

    As a vicar instructor at California Concordia College in 1946 Mr. Walter Rubke was asked to become the advisor to a missionary society proposed by several students whose interest in this was sparked by a comment of Prof. Scaer in a chapel talk. His response seemed as unrealistic as it was positive.

    He said that he was very interested in missions and evangelism and would be more than willing to serve as the advisor, but only if were very serious about this. There would be no fun and games, only instruction about how others have have been introduced to Jesus and practice in doing this ourselves.

    When the first meeting was announced we expected few to show up, but the room was packed. We were enthralled by his lectures on the history of missions and challenged by his demonstrations on how to witness. On weekends we would canvass communities seeking prospective members for existing as well was proposed congregations. At least two congregations were established with help from the Mission Society. It became one of the most vibrant student groups at Concordia with as as many as 70 members.

    Walt’s impact on my heart and life through the Mission Society was both profound and lasting at the professional level as well as the personal. In urban pastoral ministries, in higher education as professor and seminary president, as missionary professor in Russia, as an author, formally and informally, what was planted and nurtured by Walt grew and bore fruit of eternal significance.

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