On December 10, 2020, Rev. S. Jerome Elness, beloved father and pastor, gently passed into the eternal home prepared for him by his Wonderful Savior, to join his dear, departed wife, Elaine. Jerome was born to Simon and Viola Josephine Elness on January 18, 1932, in Alexandria, Minnesota. Growing up on a farm between Garfield and Brandon, he attended a one-room school house. After high school in Alexandria, Jerome attended Augsburg College and Seminary, where he met the love of his life, Elaine. They were wed in 1956. Sharing a heart for missions, the Elnesses served in both Taiwan and Hong Kong from 1958 to 1970. They were blessed with 4 children—Luther, Elenn’, Faith, and Beth. After the doors closed for further ministry in Hong Kong, Jerome served as pastor in 6-year stretches in Hingham-Kremlin (MT), Proctor (MN), and Erskine (MN). A “salesman for God”, he constantly spoke of God’s love and His promises. Wherever Jerome went, he found every opportunity to tell people about Jesus and his love. Indefatigable in reaching the lost, his creativity and humor drew in souls to the Kingdom of God. At the age of 60, he “retired” to Duluth and helped establish Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church (AFLC) in Superior, WI. When his physical body was unable to keep up with parish ministry, he found his church home with St. John’s Free Lutheran Church in Hermantown, MN. He inspired all he met with his plethora of stories, challenged many to Bible reading programs, shared always of the 7,487 promises from God to man in the Bible, brain stormed of outreach opportunities, and shared peppermints with the children when he shook their hands in church every Sunday. Jerome was a pray-er and a blesser. After 6 weeks of increasing abdominal pain, a pancreatic mass was found, and Jerome was placed on hospice at home. 6 days later he was in the presence of his Savior.
Jerome is preceded in death by his wife, Elaine, and his brother Rand. He is survived by his 4 children, 8 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren, one sister Karen and her husband Kaj Foget, one sister-in-law, Connie Elness, and a myriad of spiritual brothers and sisters. He leaves a legacy of love, prayer, blessings, and puns.
A memorial service will be held at St. John’s Free Lutheran Church in Hermantown (Duluth) on Thursday, June 10, at 3 p.m. All are welcome.