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Cal Goerdel

Thursday, October 28, 2021
Cal Goerdel

On Saturday Oct. 23, 2021, Calvin Otto Goerdel, loving husband and father of three boys, passed away at the age of 89.

A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 803 West 3 rd St., Clifton, with viewing starting at 11 a.m. Graveside service will be at 3:30 p.m. in Trinity Lutheran Church Cemetery, Pottsville, on FM 218.

Cal was born June 25, 1932, in Indian Gap to Otto and Hilda Goerdel. He was baptized Aug. 14, 1932, and confirmed Oct. 27, 1946, both in Trinity Lutheran Church, Pottsville. He married Donna Ruth Kuhlmann Sept. 4, 1955, in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Cole Camp, Missouri. He was ordained June 28, 1959, at Trinity Lutheran Church, Pottsville.

Cal had several loves second only to Donna. He was an avid outdoorsman, which included camping, hunting and fishing. He fished for trout in Colorado, salmon in Alaska and Washington, and Texas crappie feared for their lives when Cal appeared. He was able to fix almost anything around the house. His vegetable garden always fed more than his family - he shared his crops and seeds.

He was passionate about family history, traveling to Europe several times with Donna and corresponding with numerous churches and family members. All these efforts allowed him to determine family genealogy back to the 1600s.

Cal’s education and career were extensive in both breadth and location. He graduated from Pottsville High School; Texas Lutheran College, getting his Bachelor of Arts; Wartburg Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity; then University of Denver, receiving a Master of Social Work in Administration.

His career was long and productive, touching and uplifting innumerable people on his journey. After seminary, Cal’s first parish was St. James Lutheran Church in Llano, then he went to Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Beaumont. Cal worked at Denver General Hospital as a Care Coordinator for mental health services. Next, he was director of the Health Planning Agency in Fort Collins, where he organized and obtained funding that provided help for people in need.

Cal took calls from the church for this part of his career, which all involved social services. He had a knack for solving difficult issues, in three cases not only keeping organizations from going under, but also leaving them thriving. In this capacity, Cal was Seattle area director of Lutheran Social Services of Washington. Services included help for adoption, foster care, residential care for troubled teenagers, family counseling, family life education and chaplaincy.

Cal then took a position as Vice President of Social Services for Lutheran Social Services of Texas. They provided development, management and supervision of social services statewide. Many of the programs available were started by Cal. The next organization Cal served was Lutheran Welfare Service located in Northeastern Pennsylvania, another turnaround. They provide nursing and hospice care, family counseling and more.

Cal’s work with the Lutheran Sunset Ministries was some of the most rewarding of his career. He not only turned it around but was able to raise funds to build a new facility. The staff teamwork and support from the community were key to revitalizing the ministry.

In Clifton, Cal got very involved on the boards of several local community organizations including the Economic Development Corporation and Chamber of Commerce. He also served as interim pastor for Faith Lutheran Church in Meridian and Our Saviors Church in Norse.

During his work with social service agencies, Cal, by preaching in local churches, created awareness of the services provided and how their funding helped people.

He was preceded in death by parents Otto and Hilda Goerdel (Marwitz); brothers Lemund, Clarence and Auline (Bob).

He was survived by his wife, Donna Goerdel; sister Lorine Peters; sons Timothy (wife Angela), Andrew (wife Michelle) and Peter; grandchildren Jeffery, Henry, Grayson and Charlotte Goerdel and Alexandra, Eric and Lillian Christensen; and sister-in-law Shirley (husband Auline).

Memorial donations may be sent to Lutheran Sunset Ministries at 413 Sunset St., Clifton, TX 76634.