Longtime St. Andrew pastor Louis Launhardt dies

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

In his 32 years at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, the Rev. Louis Launhardt helped establish new ministries, received several awards for community involvement and touched the lives of many.

"Pastor Launhardt was a friend and pastor to so many people in our community. There are literally thousands who would count him among their friends and as a pastor," said Jim Hicks, a lay minister who worked with Launhardt at St. Andrew for 20 years.

At age 74, Launhardt died Sunday at his home in Jackson.

Launhardt came to St. Andrew in August 1964. While there, he initiated the Kennedy Evangelism program and the Stephen Ministry in 1985. He served the Lutheran Campus Center from 1964 to 1967 and was instrumental in calling the first full-time pastor to serve the students at Southeast Missouri State University.

Hicks said it is unusual for a Lutheran pastor to stay at one church for so many years, but that his ministry stayed fresh through three decades at St. Andrew.

"People responded so well to his leadership," said Hicks. "He was a man with great, great compassion for those who were hurting and lost."

Visitation will be today at St. Andrew Lutheran Church from 4 to 8 p.m.

For details on Launhardt's visitation and funeral, see the obituaries on Page 7A today.

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