St. John’s celebrates pastor’s life


When Mary and Mark Brahs joined St. John Lutheran Church in 1977, Pastor Alfred Koschade welcomed them to the congregation. The kind man with an Australian accent had been the church’s pastor since January 1, 1962.
On Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, the congregation of the small church on the hill said goodbye to Koschade who had died on January 7 in Davenport, IA. With a Celebration of Life Memorial Service, Koschade was remembered and celebrated by friends, family and many members of the congregation.
Mary said what she remembers most about Koschade is that he was so very kind, and his thought-provoking sermons. 
“They were always so interesting,” she said. “You always left with something new every time.”
At the service, Rev. Phillip Peterson, who had served as an associate pastor under Koschade starting in 1977, also shared his memories about Koschade and his ministry at St. John. He said in those days, Koschade wasn’t just a pastor, he was also a mentor.
Peterson recalled a heartwarming story how he would often ask Koschade questions about a variety of topics, trying to stump him. Peterson said before he answered, Koschade often prepared, then smoked his pipe.
“He would take out his pipe, stomp out the tobacco,  refill it, light it up, and I would see all of the clouds of smoke,” Phillips said. “Years later, he admitted the whole pipe thing was an act to buy him more time to think of a response.”
Peterson also shared the memories of Saturday night services where Koschade would sometimes leave the comfort of the pulpit and his manuscript and walk the aisle during the sermon. 
“Every eye was on him, not knowing what he would say next,” Peterson said.
Peterson said Koschade once asked the question, “Where do we go when we die?” On Tuesday, Peterson said perhaps the question should now be, “To whom do we go when we die?” He then offered an answer.
“Alfred has gone to the Father and we celebrate his journey,” Peterson said.
The Celebration service also included several hymns, one of which Koschade had written, as well as the reading of his favorite Psalms. Memories of the kind pastor who retired from the church in 1993 were shared after the service at a luncheon in the church’s Fellowship Hall. 
A complete obituary can be found under the Obituaries tab on this website.

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