Death of Robert Thelin, former missionary in Ghana
Global Ministries announces the passing of former missionary, Robert Thelin, on March 9, 2010, at the Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center, surrounded by his loving wife and daughters.
January 11, 1935 – March 9, 2010
Global Ministries is saddened to announce the passing of former missionary, Robert Thelin, on March 9, 2010, at the Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center, surrounded by his loving wife and daughters.
Bob was born in Foochow, China, to missionary parents on January 11, 1935. He spent his formative years in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he graduated from high school in 1952. He graduated from South Dakota State University in 1956 with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Husbandry. After a two-year voluntary service assignment with the Presbyterian Church in Puerto Rico, he was drafted into the US Army and served as a medic in Korea. Upon his return to the US, he worked on a ranch owned by family friends in South Dakota, where he developed a love for the land and animals.
Bob connected his later missionary work to a moment during a church service in a Methodist church in Gettysburg, South Dakota, when “his heart was strangely warmed.” Soon after this experience, he applied to the United Church of Christ Mission Board and served for 37 years as an agricultural/development missionary in Africa. Initially, he worked with village farmers in rural Ghana, where he met and married his wife, Nelda Rhodes. They continued to live in Ghana for nine years, having two daughters during this time. The family also lived and worked in other parts of Africa – Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa – until his retirement in 2000. During his years of service, Bob also completed two Master’s degrees, one in Rural Sociology from Ohio State University and one in Biblical Studies from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary.
During Bob’s retirement years in La Junta, Colorado, he enjoyed exploring his lifelong passions for organic gardening, the environment, photography, and horses. He was also an avid reader with a great love of learning. His commitment to love, peace, non-violence, and social justice was a driving force throughout his life, which he most recently expressed in his generous giving to multiple humanitarian and environmental organizations, as well as his volunteer work in La Junta at Crossroads Marketplace and the Community Garden. Personal relationships were foremost in all that he did, and he loved keeping in touch with family and friends.
Bob is survived by his wife, Nelda; daughters Rachel (Sanjay Jivraj); and Ruth (Bill Daugherty); grandsons Nikhil and Ronak Jivraj; brother Mark (Virginia); and nephews Carl and Eric. He was preceded in death by his parents, Guy and Elizabeth Cushman Thelin, and all of his aunts and uncles.
Notes of sympathy may be sent to Nelda Thelin at: 29 Chaparral Circle, La Junta, CO 81050-3800.
Memorial gifts may be sent to Global Ministries, 700 Prospect Avenue, 7th Floor, Cleveland, OH 44115 or made online at http://globalministries.org/give/.