Rudolph's Story

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Rudolph Honsey, 98, of Mankato, died Thursday, May 11, 2017 at Pathstone Living in Mankato. Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 25, 2017 at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Mankato with the Revs. John Petersen and Luke Ulrich, officiating. Interment will be at Woodland Hills Memorial Park. Visitation will be 5-8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 24 at Honsey Hall in Bethany Lutheran College and on Thursday, 1 hour prior to the service, at church. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Rudolph and Elizabeth Honsey Scholarship Fund at Bethany Lutheran College, Mount Olive Lutheran Church or Ecumen Pathstone Living. Woodland Hills Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
Rudolph Edgar Honsey was born on September 9, 1918 on a farm north of Lake Mills, IA to Oliver and Nelsine (Stene) Honsey. He was baptized in infancy in the Lutheran faith at Lime Creek Lutheran Church, where the Evangelical Lutheran Synod had been recently formed. He graduated from Lake Mills High School and attended Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, MN. He received a Bachelor of Divinity degree in Old Testament from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO in 1945. He also attended several other universities, including the University of Minnesota, where he received an MA in Scandinavian Studies in 1955, and Brandeis University, where he received an MA in Mediterranean Studies in 1966.
Rudolph was a professor at Bethany Lutheran College from 1945 to 1962 and from 1966 to 1996. He taught a variety of classes during those years, including Hebrew, Greek, Latin, German, Norwegian and Religion. For approximately 20 years, he taught summer classes in Biblical Hebrew to prepare students for the seminary. He also taught Old Testament at Bethany Lutheran Seminary. He was known in the faculty lounge for his ability to give the batting average of any number of professional baseball players on any given day.
Professor Honsey loved his students. He injected humor, insight and an occasional pun into the learning experience. In 2010, the academic center at Bethany Lutheran College was named in his honor. He felt humbled and grateful for that honor.
Rudolph was ordained into the ministry and served as pastor of Harvard Street Lutheran Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts from 1962 to 1966. He also served several churches as a vacancy pastor. Rudolph is the author of a commentary on the book of Job in "The People's Bible" series. He was also on a committee for revising William Beck's "An American Translation" of the Bible.
On August 6, 1950, Rudolph married Elizabeth Ann Lillegard at Harvard Street Lutheran Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her father, the Rev. George O. Lillegard, performed the ceremony. Their marriage was blessed with five children, and was centered in faithful service to God and to each other.
Shortly after their 50th wedding anniversary in August of 2000, Rudolph and Elizabeth moved to Mankato Lutheran Home (now Ecumen Pathstone Living). They were grateful for the love and care provided by this wonderful community. In his retirement, Rudolph enjoyed church services, visiting with family and friends, reading, listening to music, and watching news and sports. For several years, Rudolph occasionally conducted chapel services at Pathstone.
Surviving are his five children: Judith (James) Haaland of Frost, MN; Carole Falconer of Bloomington, MN; Philip (Cynthia) Honsey of Grove City, OH; Ellen (Jack) York of Colorado Springs, CO; Ralph (Robyn) Honsey of Centennial, CO.
Also surviving are grandchildren: Jordan (Brandy) Haaland, Marit (Jack) Barquist, Rachel Haaland, Matthew Wiese, Allison (Scott) Albrecht, Laura (Tyler) Kempf, Andrew (Diana) Honsey, Kirstin (Michael) McLendon, Eric Honsey, and 12 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by sisters-in-law Dorothy Honsey, Laura Lillegard, and Alice (Dan) Maxfield, brothers-in-law David (Ione) Lillegard, Norman (Diane) Lillegard, and many nieces and nephews.
Rudolph was preceded in death by his wife Elizabeth on January 10, 2012; his parents; two brothers, Conrad and Joseph Honsey; sisters and spouses Thelma (Bjarne) Dahl, Naomi (Neville) Dakken, and Barbara (Woodrow) Chrz; and his son-in-law, Gary Falconer.
Knowing he was a sinner who was saved by the grace of God through faith in his one and only Savior, Jesus Christ, Rudolph looked forward to eternal life in Heaven.
The family appreciates all who faithfully visited Rudolph during his years at Pathstone and the loving ministry of care given to him by his Pathstone family.
Published on May 21, 2017
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