Gwendolyn Beth Sayler

October 27, 1948 ~ November 11, 2019 (age 71)


Rev. Dr. Gwendolyn Beth Sayler, PhD, a William A. & John E. Wagner Professor of Biblical Theology and Distinguished Professor of Bible at Wartburg Theological Seminary, died unexpectantly Monday November 11, 2019. Memorial services are planned at Wartburg Seminary. Burial will be In Underwood ND. The Leonard Funeral Home & Crematory is in charge of arrangements.

Gwen was born on October 27, 1948 in Bismarck North Dakota the daughter of Quentin and Elizabeth (Tucker) Sayler. She grew up in Underwood ND and graduated from Underwood High School in 1966. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Valparaiso University and was extremely proud of her association with the class of 1971. She served at Immanuel Lutheran Church as a Parish Deaconess in Alliance, Nebraska.

Gwen graduated from Concordia Seminary in Exile in May of 1974 and received her PhD in Jewish and Christian Literature and History from the Exile to the Mishnah in 1982. She was certified for ordination in the American Lutheran Church in 1981. She was called as a pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Watertown, Wisconsin in October of 1982 and served until joining the Wartburg staff in 1991.

Gwen served as the Director for Lifelong Learning for several years along with the Internship Committee at Wartburg. She has authored numerous articles, book chapter Bible Studies and one book. In 2016 she celebrated the 45th anniversary of her consecration as Deaconess in the Valparaiso Lutheran Diaconal Association (LDA) community. She served on the Candidacy Committee for the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin for more than 20 years. Her plans were to retire after the 2019-2020 academic year. Gwen was an avid Bicyclist, walker, Pilates and Green Bay Packer fan. She was a volunteer at the Dream Center, the Presentation Lantern, and was a active member of Saint Peter Lutheran Church all in Dubuque.

Gwen lived a full and joyful life, serving as a Deaconess, Pastor, Professor, kind and loving friend, sister, sister-in-law, aunt and great aunt to her family in North Dakota. Gwen loved her family and spent almost every Christmas in ND. She never forgot about a birthday or holiday, especially for her great nephews and nieces.

She is survived by her brother Tom (Valerie) Sayler of Stanton, ND: her nephews Michael (Emilie) Sayler and John (Esther) Sayler of Mandan, ND; and great nephews and nieces Isaac, Jack, Ben, Adam, Lyla, and Kate.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

In Lieu of flowers memorials may be given to Wartburg Seminary of the Lutheran Deaconess Association (LDA)

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