Obituary: Preacher Lowell Lundstrom had knack for spectacular

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 26, 2012 - 8:23 PM
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The Rev. Lowell Lundstrom in 2007

Photo: Jeff Thompson, Star Tribune

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Reflecting on the 50th anniversary of her father's mission to bring people to Christianity, Lisa Lundstrom said five years ago that Lowell Lundstrom would preach until his dying breath.

"His stopping will be his funeral," she said then of the man who, with his wife, cofounded Celebration Church in Lakeville. "There is no retiring for this man, ever."

The Rev. Lowell Lundstrom, who preached the gospel with a touch of wit from prairie tent revivals to his suburban megachurch, died July 20 at his home in Savage after battling Parkinson's disease. He was 72.

Having preached since 1957, Lundstrom and his wife, Connie, settled in nearly 40 years later at Celebration Church, the spacious, high-energy Lakeville house of worship where daughter Londa Lundstrom Ramsey is senior pastor, and her husband, Brent, is executive pastor.

What Celebration Church has become is a far cry from the Lundstroms' nomadic beginnings as newlyweds, traveling the country to lead crusades and tent revivals. Lowell Lundstrom sang and told jokes before crowds, mostly in the Upper Midwest, that sometimes would swell into the tens of thousands. He also found time to write and record music and host Christian TV and radio shows.

As his children were born, they came along for the ride, raised on a bus on the road for up to 300 days a year. Eventually, Lowell and Connie Lundstrom had enough of the road and formed a congregation in 1996, first meeting at Burnsville High School and moving six years later to Lakeville.

"Dad was a warrior," Londa Ramsey said on Thursday, noting his involvement in the church foundation's affairs right up until the day before he died. "There was no stopping him."

Lowell Lundstrom described Celebration services as "entertainment evangelism" for its 1,500 regular attendees. The church puts on elaborate Christmas and Easter shows.

Its "Country Christmas Celebration" boasts 70 singers, dancers and musicians. A regular service at times has a band with nearly 20 singers and musicians.

While having affection for the spectacular, Lowell Lundstrom also found ways to reach souls, Ramsey said.

A worshiper told her of when she and her son, in a wheelchair, attended the "Country Christmas Celebration." After the cast came up the center aisle, "Dad came over and kissed the boy on the forehead," Ramsey said, recounting the woman's story.

The mother said "it was one of the most special moments of her life," Ramsey recalled. "That was Dad. He's spoken in front of hundreds of thousands, of millions of people, but he always made time for the one person."

Lowell Lundstrom was born in Minneapolis and raised near Sisseton, S.D., where he sang and played guitar in a dance band. He survived two car crashes and found Jesus in girlfriend Connie's church.

"He was a master communicator, a farm guy from Sisseton who fell in love with Jesus," Ramsey said. "He was born in Minneapolis and died in Minneapolis and logged millions of miles in between."

Along with daughters Londa Ramsey and Lisa Lundstrom, Lowell Lundstrom is survived by brothers Larry Lundstrom of Sisseton and Leon Lundstrom of Lakeville; and sons L.J. Lundstrom and Lance Lundstrom.

Services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at Hosanna Lutheran Church, 9600 163rd St. W., Lakeville. An additional service will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Sisseton Fine Arts Center, 516 8th Av. W., Sisseton, S.D.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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