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A Wetzel and Son Obituary for:
Rev. Dr. Clairold B. Hoifjeld
November 1, 1929 - September 25, 2019

Public Events and Locations

Visitation - Friday, November 1, 2019, 2:30 to 3:00 PM at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, Feasterville
Memorial Service - Friday, November 1, 2019, 3:00 PM at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, Feasterville


Funeral Home - Wetzel and Son Funeral Home - 419 Huntingdon Pike, Rockledge, PA 19046 - 215-663-8550 - Map
Clergy - St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church - 65 East Street Road, Feasterville, PA 19053 - 215-357-8138 - Map
Donation - ELCA World Hunger - PO Box 1809, Merrifield, VA 22116 - 800-638-3522 - Map

Rev. Dr. Clairold B. "Clair" Hoifjeld of Southampton, Pennsylvania died Wednesday, September 25, 2019 at Spring House Estates. He was 89 years old. Clair was born November 1, 1929 in Soldier, Iowa, son of the late Johannes Hoifjeld and the late Esther D. Hoifjeld (nee - Guldseth). He is the beloved husband of Ginny Hoifjeld (nee Helberg); father of the late Paul Hoifjeld, Grace Esther Klick and her husband Ronald, Mark Wesley Hoifjeld, and Ruth Deborah Hoifjeld; grandfather of Brian Inzerello, Steven Inzerello and wife Marisa, Deborah Inzerello, and Colleen Corbett and her husband Will; great grandfather of Robby, Paisley, Cadence, and Halas Inzerello.

The following story was composed by Rev. Dr. Clair Hoifjeld on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of his Ordination: April 24, 1960 — 2010:

Quasi Modo Geniti — The liturgical caption for the Sunday after Easter, April 24, 1960, date of my ordination. It was from the appointed Introit for the day, read in part, "As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word, alleluia ... Sing aloud to God our strength" (I Peter 2:2; Ps. 81:1). The presiding bishop preached with that as his base text, drawing on the New Birth emphasis of Easter and its direct application for one entering the holy ministry. It was a most effective launching pad for me, and it has often resonated with me through the years.

On that ordination day, I recall lengthy reflection on the 30 years of life that led me to this day and this calling: Born in a Lutheran parsonage in rural Iowa — Living in parsonages as my father felt led to various ministries —from Iowa to Minneapolis (pioneering Christian radio broadcasting) New York City/Manhattan (attended school in which white children were a minority) — Chicago — Ketchikan, Alaska (not a state, but a declared war zone [ww2]) — Eureka, CA (graduated from high school) — Three years of College at Augsburg (then-Lutheran Free Church) College in Minneapolis — Back to California (familial reasons) — Drafted into Uncle Sam's Army, - (during which term I took leave to return to Eureka and marry Virginia Helberg, who has been a true loving support and friend ever since. The union begot four offspring, grandchildren and great-grandchildren) --- Following military service, we returned to Eureka, founded and operated its first Christian Bookshop — Entered and graduated from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, CA — A wide panorama of people and places and other factors brought to this day of ordination.

The first parish I served as an ordained pastor was Trinity Lutheran Church of Fort Bragg, CA — a seacoast town of uncluttered, hardy, open people. The church was of Finnish (Suomi) orientation — small in membership, but open to outreach and growth. I learned much from these people as we grew and expanded together --- Three years later, when the LCA came into being, I was called to be an Associate Director on the Commission on Youth Ministry staff. My responsibilities included managing church-wide youth gatherings, developing Youth ministry resources, being the LCA liaison on national and world-wide youth-related agencies and involvements, plus a wide variety of other youth-related meetings and events.

In 1973, while the LCA was going through a re-structuring, I already felt a yearning to return to parish ministry and was soon called as senior pastor at St. Luke, Devon — a large congregation consisting of a spectrum of suburbia in membership. The eight years there provided me with input, feedback and learning from people representing a wide variety of vocations, professions, and disciplines. During this time, I began studies with the Doctor of Ministry program at Drew University in Madison, NJ.

In 1981 I was called to the Philadelphia seminary staff as interim Director of Internships and CPE and to teach two courses, while Dr. Jack White was on secunded leave. I gained much in fellowship and ministering with the seminarians and staff, including honest struggle with issues relating to our Christian faith —Following this, I was interim pastor at St. Matthew, Chester Springs. In 1984, a call came from St. Timothy, Fox Chase/Philadelphia, where I served for 11 fulfilling years, `til I retired in 1996.

Since "retirement" I've filled six interims in synod parishes, the last one being three years at Calvary, Bustleton/Philadelphia. All have been positive learning and growing experiences for me. My honest (if unrealistic) wish at times is that I could have known when I started what I've learned, including from many who will (hopefully) read what's said here. I suspect that's not an uncommon feeling for one at this point.

I truly, with thanksgiving, "sing aloud to God my strength!"

Clair is formerly of 25 Washington Lane, Wyncote, PA before moving to Southampton Estates. He was a member of The Four Good News Conclusions and The Four Gone Conclusions (same group Good News for worship based, Four Gone for regular singing), his barbershop quartet group.

Ginny and Clair hosted and directed travel groups over the years and managed to travel the world as travel hosts and coordinators.

Relatives and friends were invited to a visitation on Friday, November 1, 2019 from 2:30 P.M. and memorial service at 3:00 P.M. at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, 65 East Street Road, Feasterville, PA 19053. Religious services were provided by Rev. John Hougen.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to ELCA World Hunger, PO Box 1809, Merrifield, VA 22116.

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