Wayne Rasmussen

/Wayne Rasmussen
obit template2018-11-29T12:10:12+00:00


Date of Service:

Reverend Wayne Ralph Rasmussen (born November 28, 1938), entered eternal life on June 3rd, 2018. Loving husband to Marilyn. Dear father of Amy (Mark) Newman and Ann (Ryan) Glor. Grandpa of Tyler, Aiden, Harrison, and Isaac (Ike). Preceded in death by his parents Ralph and Mildred Rasmussen.

Born in Chicago, IL, to Ralph and Mildred Rasmussen,Wayne attended elementary school at St. John Mayfair Lutheran School in Chicago. As a youngster, he was a skinny little kid, who was often picked on. These experiences gave him compassion and understanding toward the “underdog.” He played sports including basketball and was an accomplished accordion player.In 1956 he graduated from Concordia High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He then attended Concordia Junior College in Milwaukee and Concordia Senior College in Fort Wayne, IN, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Languages in 1960. After two years at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, he realized that God was first calling him to the teaching ministry. He completed his education colloquy at Concordia Teacher’s College, River Forest, Illinois. For 17 years (1963-79), Wayne coached basketball at Walther High School in Chicago while teaching religion, Latin, and history, plus working as a counselor. Students remember playing Latin baseball to help them learn their Latin words. During this time, he received his Master of Arts with a focus on Education from Concordia College, River Forest, IL, in 1967. It was also during this time that he met and married the love of his life, Marilyn (nee) Kueker of Melrose Park, Illinois.

Wayne’s first collegiate assignment followed as he served as the head men’s basketball coach for three seasons (1979-82) at Concordia College in Seward, Nebraska. He returned to Walther for one year, and then moved to Wisconsin in 1983, where he took the reins as head men’s basketball coach at Concordia University Wisconsin (CUW), compiling a 105-63 record over the course of nine years. During this time, he taught classical languages as well as a variety of theology and history courses. While at CUW, Wayne pursued his Colloquy from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN, and was ordained as a Lutheran pastorin 1990.
In 1992, Wayne’s career shifted gears as he assumed the role of principal at Grace Lutheran School in Menomonee Falls during which time he also served as an assistant basketball coach for two years at Milwaukee Lutheran High School. In 1994 he joined the Wisconsin Lutheran College(WLC)men’s basketball staff, assisting head coach, Skip Noon. In 1996 he and Marilyn moved to Austin, Texas, wherehe was the head men’s basketball coach at Concordia University. Realizing “home” was in Wisconsin, Wayne and Marilyn returned to Wisconsin the following year, where he served as an assistant pastor at Hales Corners Lutheran Church and also resumed coaching at WLC. During this time, he assisted WLC in winning several conference championships.
In 2005, he returned to CUW as the head’s men’s basketball coach, and in 2007, turned the reins over to his former player and mentee, Shawn Cassidy. He returned to Hales Corners Lutheran where he remained until 2010, when he joined Pastor Jeffery Schubert in ministry at Divine Redeemer Lutheran Church in Hartland, WI. He then returned to Hales Corners Lutheran again in 2012 in a part-time position before moving to Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. After leaving CUW, he helped out with boy’s basketball at Hales Corners Lutheran School, Martin Lutheran High School, and Lake Country Lutheran High School, where he assisted his son-in-law, Mark Newman.
In 2015, Wayne joined Pastor Wayne Schroeder in filling the vacant pastor position at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, in Wauwatosa, WI. He remained on staff with an emphasis on discipleship and generosity after Pastor Andrew Steinke assumed the head pastor position in 2016. He served at Our Redeemer with passion until the time of his death.
Wayne was passionate about Christ and sharing the Gospel message. Even in the last few weeks of his life, he was brought to tears as he thought of all the hurting people, who had yet to know Jesus. He had the amazing ability to see the God-given talents and abilities in each person, develop them, and help each person to believe in him/herself. Over the course of his life, Wayne has touched thousands of lives with his generous, compassionate, and at times, challenging spirit. As his health began to fail, Wayne received numerous messages reflecting on the impact he had on the lives of his former students, parishioners, and players. Many recounted how Wayne changed their lives and inspired them to serve the Lord in a variety of different ways. One stated, “…I want you to see that by Jesus putting you in my life thirty years ago that the trajectory of my life changed dramatically in ways that I never would have imagined. Now when I minister to men, I constantly try to find in them ways that they can become leaders by using their gifts to serve others. I have a passion to come alongside men to coach and support them as you did me.”
In celebration of his life, visitation will be held Friday, June 8th, from 4-7pm at OUR REDEEMER LUTHERAN CHURCH, 10025 W. North Avenue, Wauwatosa, and Saturday, June 9th, 10am until the start of Service at 11:00am.

In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Our Redeemer Lutheran Church and School, the Lutheran Special School and Education Services, and the Lutheran High School Association of Greater Milwaukee.

“Well Done Good and Faithfull Servant”

Past Comments

Mark Nordman

Coach Rausmussen was very instrumental in my life as a great coach and he used that key position to help lead me to become a pastor. I was blessed to play for him three years at Seward. There are so many things he said and did that I will remember. His dry humor was always right on. May God comfort everyone who will miss him, until we join him in glory.


Professor Rasmussen found a way — through understanding grace — to find the best in every person. I am grateful he saw that in me — and so many others. After 25 years of teaching, I am still inspired by a few words he said to a winterim class many years ago: “Each day I give you 110%; I ask 100% from you.”

Sara Ward

Pastor Rasmussen married us in 2004. In our wedding video and a few pictures, it looks like he has a halo around his head. 😉 He certainly made a wonderful Christ centered impact on this world. He will be sorely missed! We extend our most heartfelt sympathy to you Marilyn and your children. May the knowledge that Pastor is now in his heavenly home bring you peace and comfort. Sincerely (“sincere”, a word that was part of his sermon in our wedding), Chris and Sara Ward

Marilyn Rasmussen

Dave Mooneyham, you mentioned Wayne’s variety of one liners. The one I remember the most is “Great Ceaser’s ghost“. What that means I sure don’t know.

Elizabeth Eggebrecht

I treasure my friendship with Wayne, from when we first taught together at Concordia High School in Milwaukee. I still remember our board games of Grand Prix. He was a wonderful Christian man and one of the smartest people I ever met.

David Eggebrecht

David Mooneyham

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family in this tough time. I will always be thankful that I had the opportunity to play for Coach Ras at CUW. Many fond memories are still shared and laughed about with friends that enjoyed that time playing for Ras. Some of his one liners will always bring a smile to my face. Those who did play for Ras during this time will know what I’m talking about. Again I am extremely grateful that I got to know Coach Ras as he was more than just a coach and will be missed.

Rev. Dr. David Ritt

Dear Marilyn, Amy, Ann, Tyler, Aidan, Harrison and Isaac. May our Risen Lord Jesus Christ and Lord of all resurrections to eternal life give you peace at this difficult time in your lives, but also the sure and certain hope of reuniting with your husband, father and grandfather in the eternal mansions of heaven, Wayne’s new home. I am so thankful for the privilege of sharing the gospel with Wayne in bringing the saving grace of Christ to families, parishioners, students, athletes and communities both of us touched over the years. I am eternally grateful for his support of me while serving in the office of English District President/Bishop (1997-2006) and for his encouragement and wise counsel. Wayne was a true mentor for my son, Jonathan, and “son” Charles Villar, while students and athletes at Concordia, Mequon. Wayne was known throughout the Church as an excellent theologian, teacher, administrator, counselor and mentor to so many. The Church and its academies of higher learning and athletic arenas were blessed through his person and ministry. I am saddened by his passing, but joyful in that he is now with the sainted apostles and prophets, church fathers and mothers, brother and sister colleagues in the Christian faith. + REQUISCAT IN PACE + Wayne. You have earned it by your powerful example of faith in Christ, the Resurrection and the Life.
President/Bishop E.M. English District
David Ritt +

Sandra Weith

Dear Marilyn, Ann, Amy, and family. We still smile a lot when we think of Mr. Wayne Rasmussen. “Mister” because he was our teacher and coach at Walther Lutheran High School so long ago and not the Pastor or Professor that he later became. But we also smile because you were our classmate, Marilyn, and our marriages are a delightful memory of our adulthood. We wish that we could have interacted more in the years that followed. Exchanged Christmas letters had to fill in the gaps. Peace and comfort to you as you move forward and adjust to Wayne’s absence – a remarkable man. Love, Sandy (Zimmermann) and Bob Weith

Robert Burke

I remember “Ras” from our student days on the campus of Concordia Milwaukee (of blessed memory). I was a year behind “Ras,” but we lived just down the hall from each other during the 1955-56 school year.
In those days on campus, our sports bets were always a week’s serving of pie (we had pie twice a week). in 1954, the Cleveland Indians and the NY Giants were in the World Series. Cleveland had 4 20-game winning pitchers. Everyone thought that the Indians would wipe out the Giants. “Ras” bet on the Giants… and won enough weeks of pie from other guys that they were still paying off their bets the following year!
“Rest eternal, dear friend, and may light perpetual shine upon you.”

Marsha Klusmeyer

Thoughts and prayers are with the Rasmussen family – “Mr. Rasmussen” was such a positive influence in my life during my time at Walther and a support when my own father died suddenly. I give thanks for his ministry.
Marsha (Haertel) Klusmeyer

Leave a condolence or share a memory