Rev. Dale G. Seffrood, 86, of Milbank, SD, passed away on Sunday, April 7, 2019, at St. Williams Care Center in Milbank. His death came peacefully and pragmatically – just as he lived his life – with his wife Eunice at his side. A committal service is being planned for a later date at West Wiota Lutheran Church, Wiota, WI.
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, April 10, at 2:00 p.m. at St. William’s Care Center in Milbank. Rev. Justin Neugebauer will officiate. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the care center.
Dale Gilbert Seffrood was born March 29, 1933, to Lester and Elsie (Meier) Seffrood on the family farm in South Wayne, WI. He graduated from high school in 1951 and attended Farm Short Course at the University of Wisconsin Madison in 1951 and 1952, while continuing to work on the family farm. He worked as a Bookkeeper/Buyer with Equity Livestock Sales until the summer of 1955, when Dale and his brother Harold went to Alaska to work on the railroad.
Dale enlisted in the U.S. Army in the Spring of 1956, serving in Fort Lewis, Washington for 2 years. After his time in the military, he went back to the family farm and worked with his brother Willard as a silo builder in the Madison, WI area.
In 1958, Dale enrolled in Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, graduating in 1963 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. While there he developed a strong interest and aptitude for literary criticism and chose to continue his education studying theology at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN, graduating with a Master of Divinity degree in 1967.
In his last year at seminary, Dale received a Christmas card from a former Luther College classmate, Eunice Rosalind Lee, who was then a registered nurse at the University of Wisconsin Health Services in Madison. He paid her a visit on his way home for Christmas that year, took her to dinner and suggested to her that being a Pastor’s wife wouldn’t be an easy life. She asserted that she wouldn’t mind, and they were married that spring on May 21, 1967.
That same month, May 1967, Reverend Seffrood was ordained into the ministry and installed in his first Lutheran Parish, serving Looney Valley and Cedar Valley Lutheran Churches in Houston, MN, from 1967-1973. Dale & Eunice’s 3 children, Paul, John, and Mary were born there during their first parish call.
Rev. Seffrood and family served Lutheran parishes in Berthold, ND, from 1973 to 1975, Maddock, ND, from 1975-1990, and Curtiss & Medford, WI, from 1990-1996.
Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996, Dale and Eunice moved to Wheaton, IL, in 1998 to be near their son, Paul and daughter, Mary. When Eunice began to struggle with memory loss they made their final move to St. William’s Care Center Nursing Home in Milbank, South Dakota, near their son, John and family.
The grandson of both Norwegian and German immigrants, Dale’s ingenuity and tenacity (or Norwegian stubbornness) and life lessons from the farm carried into his ministry and throughout his life. The “junkpile” on the farm, collection of castoffs and discards – often found new life as the perfect part to fix a tracker or broken fence. Whether resurrecting a rusty part on the farm or resurrecting the ‘castoffs and discards’ in the communities in which he lived and served, Pastor Dale was truly a minister to all of God’s people.
Those who knew Dale always had a pot of coffee ready when he paid them a visit. Coffee was his lifeline and his connection to people. Sharing a cup of coffee with someone was a daily sacrament that he took seriously and proved without a doubt his Norwegian heritage.
Rev. Seffrood is survived by his wife, Eunice of Milbank; 3 Children & 6 Grandchildren: Son, Paul & Julie Seffrood & Olivia of Huntington Beach, CA; Son, John & Annelies Seffrood & Sophia, Samuel and Elsie of Twin Brooks, SD; and daughter, Mary & Dan Milinko, Max & Benjamin of Wheaton, IL; 5 Brothers: Wesley (Marian) Seffrood of Darlington, WI; Harold Seffrood of Gratiot WI; Lawrence (Phyliss) Seffrood of Freeport, I; Willard Seffrood of Sandpoint, ID; and Donald Seffrood of South Wayne, WI; along with many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents: Lester & Elsie Seffrood; sister, Helen (Seffrood) Nenneman; and infant sister, Gladys Seffrood.
In his memory, Dale’s family requests that you share a cup of coffee and a story with a friend, or someone in need.