Gerhard Malling Cartford, 92, died Feb. 8 at home in Minneapolis, with his wife and granddaughter at his side. He was born March 21, 1923, in Fort Dauphin, Madagascar, to Richard and Marie (Mortenson) Cartford.
Gerhard left college in the middle of his sophomore year to serve in the U.S. Army (1943-46). He returned to St. Olaf College after World War II, graduated magna cum laude in 1948 with a bachelor of music degree and then attended New York’s Union Theological Seminary, earning a master of sacred music degree in 1950.
After a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Norway, Gerhard worked as an organist and choirmaster in churches in Eau Claire, Wis., and the Twin Cities and at Luther Seminary in St. Paul.
After earning a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Minnesota, he taught at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas, from 1961 to 1974. He went on to teach at Luther Northwestern Seminary (now Luther Seminary) in St. Paul from 1974 to 1977.
Gerhard was active throughout his life speaking and writing about worship and music and was published in domestic and foreign journals and books. In 1958, he helped found the Lutheran Society for Worship, Music and the Arts and later served as the editor of the society’s journal, Response. From 1967 to 1978, he was a working member of the Liturgical Music Committee of the Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship, the select group responsible for the publication of the Lutheran Book of Worship. His musical contributions to this book include settings of liturgical texts, psalm tones and a hymn tune.
Gerhard and his wife, Polly, spent time in South America, where he had been invited by the American Lutheran Church in Colombia to help its people contextualize their worship and develop their own cultural resources. Gerhard also worked closely with the national liturgical commissions of Brazil and Argentina, helping to produce provisional worship books in both countries.
He organized the first Latin American Liturgical Consultation, which took place in 1986 in Caracas, Venezuela, and in 1990 he coordinated the worship music for the Eighth Lutheran World Assembly. He also edited its worship book, Supplement 1990 to Laudamus, the LWF hymnal.
He retired from full-time work in 1990 but continued to be active in publishing music for worship, most recently serving as the general editor for a 1998 Spanish-language book of worship, Libro de Liturgia y Cántico.
Gerhard was preceded in death by his parents, brother Olaf, and sisters Alfa Aaland and Ragna Evenson. He is survived by his wife, Pauline; his three children, Jonathan (Patricia Stein) Escondido, Calif.; Peter of Overland Park, Kan.; and Mary (Eugene Stewart), Denver, Colo.; two grandchildren; and his sister, Astrid Blackwell of Bend, Ore.
Gerhard’s memorial service was held Feb. 20 at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, with interment at Oaklawn Cemetery, Northfield, Minn.