Cover photo for Reverend Dale Jerome Pepelnjak's Obituary
Reverend Dale Jerome Pepelnjak Profile Photo
1952 Reverend Dale 2024

Reverend Dale Jerome Pepelnjak

March 29, 1952 — March 14, 2024

Pelican Rapids

Reverend Dale Jerome Pepelnjak entered Heaven, the place he most often talked about, on March 14, 2024.  He often joked his obituary would read, “He was born, he lived, and he died, Thanks be to God!”… well, here it goes…

Pastor Dale was born in Virginia, Minnesota on March 29, 1952, to George “Bebz” and Evelyn Pepelnjak. He was the youngest of the three sons born to George and Evelyn, ten years behind Stephen and five years behind George.  In June of 1952, he was assured of being a child of God in his baptism.  He graduated from Virginia High School in 1970.   Dale loved growing up on “the Range” where he learned to hunt, work, and have fun.  He had the best group of friends anyone could wish to have.  

On June 16, 1979, the best thing to ever happen to Dale was getting married to Susan Ann Lempart in Blackduck, Minnesota.  Another “best” thing was the birth of their three children Meagan Sue, Jenna Lynn, and Alissa Ann.  Another “best” was having the pure joy of being “Grampy” or “Gramps” to nine grandchildren.  His dogs were important to him too, having six during his married life including his present best buddy, Maggie.

After graduating as a Minnesota Gopher in 1974, with a degree in Business Administration, he worked for Inland Steel and owned a small business, Voyageur Sport and Equipment.  In 1990, he attended Luther Theological Seminary and graduated in 1995 as an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.  He served three congregations.  His first parish was Big Timber and Melville Lutheran Churches in Big Timber and Melville, Montana where he served as a pastoral intern.  Next, he served Peace Lutheran and Saron Lutheran in Burlington and Minot, North Dakota.  His last call was at Zion Lutheran on Franklin Lake in rural Pelican Rapids, Minnesota.  In retirement he often preached in various congregations in the Northwest Minnesota Synod and helped the parish of Foxhome and Vukku Lutheran Churches in Foxhome, Minnesota as their interim pastor.

Pastor Dale loved serving Jesus’ people as a parish pastor.   In life he found pure joy in living out Jesus’ commandment that we love one another as Jesus has loved us.  He also enjoyed watching sunsets on Lake Lizzie, woodworking in his shop, ice-fishing with his family, and watching his Minnesota sports teams. 

Dale fought a nearly two year battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, in which he gave his all to defeat. Susan, his steadfast caregiver, was alongside him every step of the way.

Dale is survived by his wife and best friend, Sue; children Meagan (Jeremy) Blake, Jenna (Trent) Anderson, and Alissa (Justin) Partee; nine grandchildren Micah and Ainsley Blake; Brayden, Lauren, Clara, and Harper Anderson; Carter, Reese, and Charlotte Partee.  Also, surviving him are his brothers Stephen (Mary) Pepelnjak and George (Patti) Pepelnjak as well as several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Preceding him in death are his parents, in-laws Peter and Arlene Lempart, and two brothers in law, Everett Haiby and Darrel Lempart.  

A Prayer Service will be held at Zion Lutheran Church on Franklin Lake on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, at 6:30pm with Visitation from 5:00 to 6:30pm. His Celebration of Life Service will be on Wednesday, March 20th at 11:00am with visitation one hour prior to the service. The family and Women of Zion Lutheran will host a lunch following the service.  

Any monetary donations can be made to one of the following meaningful missions.  Each of these were greatly cherished by Dale and his family. First, the Richard M. Schultz Hope Lodge in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Hope Lodge provided support while Dad received his Bone Marrow Transplant in November 2022. Next, the the Zion Lutheran on Franklin Lake Building Fund in rural Pelican Rapids, Minnesota. Lastly, donations of life-giving blood, platelets and plasma to benefit all who are battling Leukemia and other serious health conditions.

Pastor Dale’s final wish is that everyone would “Go in peace to serve the Lord because He has made us free to care for the world.”

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Reverend Dale Jerome Pepelnjak, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, March 19, 2024

5:00 - 6:30 pm (Central time)

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Prayer Service

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

6:30 - 7:30 pm (Central time)

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Celebration of Life

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

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