The Rev. Terence Erling Fretheim, 84, died Nov. 16, 2020, in Chicago where he had recently lived. He died of plasma cell leukemia.
Terry lived for many years in St. Anthony Park, where he taught Old Testament at Luther Seminary. He was also an active member of St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church during that time.
Terry was born Jan. 27, 1936, the oldest of four boys. His father, uncle and grandfather were also Lutheran pastors. He first roamed the seminary campus when his father was a student there; then returned 20 years later as a student and teaching fellow. He earned his M.Div. in 1960, then studied in England, on a Fulbright Scholarship in 1960-61.
In the mid-1960s Terry studied and taught at Princeton Theological Seminary earning a Th.D. in 1967. He was an Old Testament instructor at Augsburg College and Seminary, Minneapolis, in 1961-63 and an assistant professor of religion at the college in 1967-68.
Terry accepted a call from Luther Seminary to teach Old Testament and was ordained in June 1968. He served the Dennison and Vang Parishes in Dennison, Minn., while simultaneously he stepped onto Luther Sem’s campus as an assistant professor, wrote his first two books and became a dad, twice.
In 1971, Terry and Faith and their two daughters, Tanya and Andrea, moved to St. Anthony Park. During his 45-year career at Luther Sem, he taught Old Testament theology, had a 10-year stint as dean of academic affairs and team taught a class with Paul Sponheim, Ph.D., for 20 years titled, “God, Evil, Suffering.”
In total, Terry wrote more than 25 books on Old Testament theology—including “Creation Untamed: The Bible, God, and Natural Disasters” and his most recent book, published in August 2020, “God So Enters into Relationships That … ” —and countless articles which have helped shape pastoral students over the past 50 years and counting. Terry officially retired from Luther Seminary in 2013 after 45 years of service.
Terry is survived by his wife of 64 years, Faith; daughters Tanya Fretheim and Andrea Fretheim; grandchildren Kelly, Shannon and Emre; his youngest brother Stephen; and sister-in-law Judy. He was preceded in death by his parents Erling and Marie, brothers Gary and Mark, sister-in-law LaVila, Aunt Ada and Uncle Phil.
The family requests any memorial gifts be sent to: Terence E. and Faith L. Fretheim Scholarship for Environmental Studies and The Care of Creation Development Office, Loyalty Hall, 700 College Dr., Decorah, IA 52101.