YOUNGSTOWN – “He was a pastor so humble and always interested in what others were going through.”
“He was a servant first throughout his entire life. He taught me, by how he lived, what the radical hospitality of The Gospel looked like in practice.”
Early on the morning of Sept. 6, 2018, Pastor Robert “Bob” R. Offerdahl, 76, finished his race and received the prize he had lived to attain, eternal rest, safe in the arms of Jesus.
In a small house in Beresford, S.D., Bob was brought safely through a difficult birth by the grace of God and the persistence and stubbornness of his grandmother. His parents, Merle and Eleanor, took him to church before he was born, nurtured him in the Lutheran Church, and guided him toward his calling into the ministry.
Graduation from Vermillion High School and the University of South Dakota led him to Iowa’s University of Dubuque Seminary, where he received his Master’s of Divinity degree in 1971. He then shared his life and gifts with congregations in Iowa (Cascade, Hospers, and Neola), South Dakota (Sioux Falls), and Minnesota (Beaver Creek), before coming to Youngstown, in 1987.
Although he retired after serving Christ Church Presbyterian for 19 years, his ministry did not end there. Bob developed a close relationship with and support program for the American Indian people of the Dakota Presbytery, a group of churches on the reservations located in North and South Dakota, Montana, and Minnesota. At the same time, his love for small churches led him to guide Coitsville and Gibson Heights 2nd Presbyterian churches in the Youngstown area, then Oak Ridge and Yellow Creek Presbyterian churches in Wellsville. To his last breath, he continued to make plans for what he would preach/teach next. Bob used his gifts and enthusiasm to contribute to a large number of committees and organizations in the church and community. After nearly 50 years of ministry, that list is too long to print.
Sharing Bob’s life and love, and encouraging him in his ministry were his wife of 53 years, Frances; son Nathan, daughter-in-law Jami, and granddaughters Grace and Claire; son Lucas, granddaughter Ivy, grandson-in-law Derek Bennett, granddaughters Drew and Piper; daughter Martha; daughter Ellen, son-in-law Anthony Yeropoli and grandson Adam, all of Youngstown; as well as his sister and brother-in-law, Joyce and Dave Zimmer of Vermillion, S.D.
Calling hours will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday. Sept. 13, 2018, at the Higgins-Reardon Funeral Home at 4303 Mahoning Ave. in Austintown. A memorial service in honor of Bob’s life and will be held Friday, Sept. 14, at 11 a.m., at the Friendship Baptist Church, 111 Water St. in Girard.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be given in Bob’s name to Hearts for the L.A.N.D. (Dakota Presbytery) at 1161 Inverness Ave., Youngstown, OH 44502; or Jubilee Urban Renewal at 2141 Market St., Youngstown, OH 44507.