Kermit Marvin Roisen, 86

Published 10:15 am Friday, April 13, 2012

The Rev. Kermit Marvin Roisen, 86, of Des Moines, Iowa, went home to be with the Lord, April 8, 2012. Kermit, born Oct. 18, 1925, in Albert Lea, was the oldest of four children born to Olaf and Alma Roisen, Norwegian immigrants.


Kermit lived in Emmons area until 1944 when he enlisted into the Navy. He graduated in 1942 at age 16. After graduation, he worked as a farm hand while waiting to turn 18 so he could join the U.S. Navy. He was a member of the Emmons Lutheran Church until 1968 when he returned from the mission field and took a pastoral position and transferred his membership to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Millard, Neb.

Kermit served in the Navy during World War II on the USS Curtiss as an aircraft mechanic and a non-commissioned Petty Officer. He partook in the Battle of Okinawa and then served in Shanghai, China, as part of the liberation forces. It was during this time that Kermit experienced what he called a “distinct and verbal” calling from the Lord to go and serve the Lord as a pastor. On Jan. 27, 1946, Kermit was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy.

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Once home he enrolled at St. Olaf College in Northfield from 1946 to 1950 where he met and later married Marian Ruth Miller on June 6, 1948. Upon his graduation with a Bachelor of Science degree in Latin and Greek, Kermit enrolled at Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul where he received his Master’s of Theology degree in 1953. He was then ordained as a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church and was commissioned to go to Madagascar as a missionary in June 1953.

His wife of 64 years Marian and their six children survives him: Paul (Anna) Roisen of Sioux City, Iowa, Timothy (Nancy) Roisen of Virginia Beach, Va., Mark (Debbie) Roisen of Ann Arbor, Mich., Elisabeth (Alan) Schmidt of Wichita, Kan., Rebecca (Pio) Utu of Steamboat Springs, Colo., and Miriam (Doug) Obman of Storm Lake, Iowa. Also surviving him are his sister, Margaret (Glenn) Bendickson of Lonsdale; his brother Orrion (Sandra) Roisen of Albert Lea; 15 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Kermit was preceded in death by his parents, a sister Marjorie, who died in infancy, and one grandson, Benjamin Wood.

During his career as a pastor he served as a missionary in Madagascar from 1953-1968, St. Paul Lutheran in Omaha, Neb., from 1968 to 1978, Little Sioux Lutheran Church, Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp Milford, Iowa, and Bethany Lutheran in Spencer, Iowa, from 1978 to 1984 and Zion Lutheran Church, Clear Lake, Iowa, from 1984 to 2003.

A memorial celebration will be at 2:30 p.m. April 22 at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, 3900 Ashworth Road, West Des Moines, Iowa. Interment will be a private ceremony at the Emmons Cemetery in Emmons. Memorials contributions will be used to fund continuing mission work in Madagascar. Send memorials to Roisen Family, c/o Paul Roisen, 4420 3rd Ave, Sioux City, IA 51106. Condolences may be expressed at