Rev. Michael Meier Dies; Was Sitka Lutheran Pastor

Rev. Michael Meier

Rev. Michael Meier, who was pastor at Sitka Lutheran Church from 1981 to 1991, died Sept. 25 in Corvallis, Oregon, at the age of 82.

He was born Aug. 23, 1941, to Olga and Carl Meier, on the family farm in Price County, Wis. He attended Liberty School then Rib Lake High School, graduating in 1958 at age 16. He enrolled at Wisconsin State College but  transferred to Concordia College in St. Paul, Minn., as a ministerial student. He married fellow student Iona Emma Trapp in 1963, and they had four children – Andrew Carl,  Naomi Iona and twins Peter Clarence and Mary Pauline. The couple divorced in 1979.

After earning his BA degree, Michael graduated from Concordia Seminary with a master of divinity degree in 1967, and became Lutheran campus pastor at Oregon State University in Corvallis. He was ordained as a Lutheran pastor in 1967, and earned a master degree in education in 1971.

He married Anthonia Ethel “Toni” Undem Hass in 1979, and in 1981 they came to Sitka, where he became pastor of Sitka Lutheran Church.

“Mike’s sermons were memorable, personal  and presented with passion, faith and intellectual firepower,” church member Harvey Brandt said. 

Along with his pastoral duties, Michael was president of the Sitka School Board and Rotary Club, and was a member of the Sitka Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse. He and Toni also hosted a high school exchange student from Konya, Turkey, for a year and later visited his family.

During his time in Sitka the Sunday school had more than 40 students; the Stephen Ministry was begun; the Church Council freed the congregation from “mission status”; the parsonage was sold; the choir was energized through the leadership of Michael and Gene Buchholz; the 1839 altar painting “The Transfiguration of Christ” was returned by St. Michael’s Cathedral; and the 150th Anniversary of the church was celebrated.

During summers, Michael and Toni led church youth backpacking trips to a Forest Service camp on Kruzof Island. They also bought a sailboat, and were given a corgi, Prince,  that became a special part of their daily lives.

In 1991, Michael accepted a call to serve the Pacific Northwest congregations in stewardship education, and he and Toni moved to Seattle. During those years they bought the former Liberty School building that Michael had attended as a child and began making it into a home. In 1998, Michael became director for leadership development in Chicago, and he and Toni would spend weekends working on the Liberty School. In 2006, Michael retired from his position in Chicago and served as interim pastor at Lutheran churches in Brantwood and Prentice, Wis. By this time The Schoolhouse became their full-time home.

From 2006 to 2019 they immersed themselves in the community, founding German Settlement History Inc.,  and adding the Yesterday House and Machine Shed museum to their property.

They moved back to Corvallis in 2019 to be closer to family and health care resources. They were living at Stoneybrook Lodge and Assisted Living when Michael moved in February to Willamette Springs Memory Care.

Michael was preceded in death by parents Olga Catherine Marie Harrold Meier and Carl Theodore Reinhold Meier; brothers Albert Harrold Meier and Marvin Carl Meier; and sisters Gladys Ann Howard, and Rosalie Jane Meier, who died in infancy. 

He is survived by his wife Toni, and former wife Iona Trapp of Corvallis;  sons Andrew (Jenny) Meier of Eugene, Ore., and Peter (Eloiza) Meier of Belmont, Calif.; daughters Mary (Cyril) Oberlander of Arcata, Calif., and Naomi (Jeff) Trapp Davis of San Diego; stepdaughters Lauri (Mark) Speelman of Dallas, Ore., Julie (Matt) James of Albany, Ore. and Debbie (Tom) Gerding of Philomath, Ore.; stepson Rick Hass of Billings, Mont.; brother Timothy (Mary) Meier of Independence, Mo.; sisters-in-law Carol Meier of Milbank, S.D., and Joleen Meier of Maple Grove, Minn; 9 nieces and nephews; 18 grand- and step-grandchildren; 10 step-great-grandchildren, and two step-great-great-grandchildren. 

A celebration of Michael’s life is planned Nov. 19, at Grace Lutheran Church in Corvallis.

Condolences may be sent to Toni Meier, Stoney Brook Assisted Living, 4650 Southwest Hollyhock, Corvallis, OR 97333.

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