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”