Alvin Perry Brucklacher was born January 16, 1930, in Freeman, South Dakota, the son of John F. and Edna E. (Downer) Brucklacher. Alvin grew up in Turner County 11 miles southeast of Freeman. He attended school at Salem Township District #47. Before he started grade school his mother was given a message from God, that her son Alvin was going to grow up to be a minister, but she never told him, because she did not want him to be a minister because she said so. He was baptized as an infant and confirmed when in the 8th grade. He went to Freeman Public High School from where he graduated in 1948. The call came to him to be saved by the Lord Jesus Christ, and accept Him as his person savior in 1946. To him the only way to serve Christ, beyond the farm fence was to become a minister. After graduating from high school he went to Augustana College in Sioux Falls, to begin post graduate studies to become a minister.
After two years he was failing academically. He then decided to go to Bible School and get a Bible-based life. He went to Lutheran Bible Institute at Minneapolis, Minnesota. While he was there, he took a course in “How to Study”. After a year he returned to Augustana College and applied what he had learned and came up with A’s and B’s. He was able to play sports again and academically increased. With summer school he was able to achieve enough points to graduate with an honorable BA Degree.
Thus having obtained his BA degree from Augustana College in 1953, and while working for Ralph Nelson in 1952, he met and married Ralph’s sister, Lenore. They were married June 26, 1953.
Al attended Lutheran Theological Seminary in the fall of 1953 and while there they were paid for taking care of a retired minister and his wife, a short distance from the seminary in St. Paul. After attending the seminary they were placed on internship at Stanley, North Dakota. Lenore and Al and their three children lived in the basement of the SS Building. Upon completion of their internship, Al went back to seminary to finish his final years of study. Lenore and the family stayed in a temporary parsonage at Ross, located seven miles west of Stanley. Al was called to continue serving Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Ross while attending seminary and commuted every two weeks back to Ross to preach.
Upon finishing his studies, he received a Master of Theology and was ordained in his home congregation, Salem Lutheran Church in 1957. While he was there, his mother bared her heart and told him she knew since 1934, that he was going to be a minister. They wept and hugged each other. His first baptism to perform upon ordination, was his fourth son John in 1957, while living in Ross. He served three congregations: Bethlehem Lutheran of Ross, First Lutheran of Manitau, and First Lutheran of White Earth. While there, they helped build a new parsonage at Ross, a new church at Manitau, and the congregation thrived in attendance. In 1960, they received and accepted a call from Florence and moved to serve four congregations, St. Pauli of Wallace, Godue of Florence, Helgen of Florence, and Bergen of South Shore, all in South Dakota. While there, Helgen was closed and moved to Florence where the pastor lived. It was called New Helgen and provided a place for the parish office and meetings. It has been remodeled many times since.
Upon serving there for seven years, they moved to Philip in 1967, to serve Trinity Lutheran Church of Grindstone, Hilland Lutheran north of Philip, and First Lutheran Church of Philip, all in South Dakota. In 1972, Al and Lenore lost a son, and after 18 years of intense ministry, he was headed for “burn out” and left the church for a self-employment carpenter task in 1974. He took a leave for a working sabbatical. Then in 1976, he was asked to serve as a part-time pastor and travel from his ranch to the place of need. This was the beginning of another 25 years of renewed ministry. He travelled to churches in need of part-time commuting itinerate minister under the title, “Mr. Ecumenical”, have Bible will travel. It led him to acquire eight congregations and Pastors who needed help.
Pastor Al went to the St. Paul School of Theology for six weeks in 1979 and became a licensed pastor and served under the UMC as a modern day circuit rider. Pastor Al travelled to congregations in Interior, Faith, Wall, Philip, Rapid City, Belle Fourche, Humboldt, and Tulare, South Dakota. He received his “second wind” from the Holy Spirit. His goal was to get all church together and heal their differences.
Pastor Al was a whiz at getting people together, and through the guided discovery in small groups talking about their differences one by one, needs assessment, set their goals, and pursue. In the early 1970’s, he received the Boy Scouts High honor of the Wood Badge, and was trained in the “Competencies of Leadership.” He attended summer school in Ft. Collins, Colorado and took a course in “Steps from Idea to Action.” He also took an extension course from the University of Spearfish called “Group Dynamics.” He used the power of the Holy Spirit together with the help of these courses to enable people to arrive at the solutions to congregational growth. Where ever he went the congregations increased in attendance, building expansions, growth, and outreach to serve the Risen Lord Jesus Christ, with “listening love.”
Grateful for having shared his life include his wife Lenore of Philip; four sons Mark (Carla) Brucklacher of Wall, John (Linda)Brucklacher of Windsor, Colorado, Perry Brucklacher of Philip, and Bruce (Brigitte) Brucklacher of Philip; two daughters Marie (Tom) Radway of Philip, and Janis (Mike) West of Colusa, California; 15 grandchildren Jennifer Tietsort (Ron) of Custer, Matthew Brucklacher (Sonja) of Greeley, Colorado, Marcy Morrison (William) of Rapid City, Cain Radway (Kristin) of Hinton, Iowa, Mindy Green of Philip, Alex Radway (Jeni) of Rapid City, Ashley Harrison (Spencer) of Windsor, Colorado, Jesse Brucklacher, Amber West of Colusa, California, Austin West of Sacramento, California, and Adler West of Colusa, California, Derek Brucklacher (Kira) of Savannah, Georgia, Skye Brucklacher of Kadoka, and Gavin Brucklacher of Philip; 15 great-grandchildren Noah and Hope Tietsort, Maylin and Alissa Brucklacher, T.J, Spencer and Luther Morrison, Julian Small and Rex Radway, Payton Schoenhals, Creighton Green, Adlee and Henli Radway, and Jaxson and Olivia Harrison; one brother Ervin Brucklacher (Marlene) of Freeman; one sister Alice Melin (Mack) of Hartford; and a host of other relatives and friends.
Al was preceded in death by a son Paul Brucklacher in 1972, his parents; a grandson Dalles Brucklacher in 2007, and two brothers Harold and LaVerne Brucklacher in 2014.
Visitation was held 4-7 p.m. on Sunday, June 15, at the music room at the barn on the Brucklacher Ranch southwest of Philip.
Funeral services were held 10:00 a.m. Monday, June 16, at the American Legion Hall in Philip, with Pastor Kathy Chesney officiating.
Interment was held at Masonic Cemetery.
A memorial has been established to the United Church's Vacation Bible School.
Lenore & family, Our deepest sympathy. Pastor Al was very special to us as he married us 45 years ago this year. He will always hold a special place in our hearts. God Bless you and your family.
~ Ralph & Cathy Fiedler
2130 Ellen St. Sturgis, S. D. (6/9/2014)
Sympathys to Al's family he was a great man.
~ Bonnie Moses
My prayers to the family. Pastor Al was a wonderful man and will be missed.
~ Bonnie Fitzgerald
So sorry to learn of Pastor Al's passing. I have many memories of him as he was my Boy Scoutmaster in Troop 8 and lead us on many adventures.
~ Tom Aasby
Rapid City SD (6/9/2014)
My thoughts and prayers are with all of the family. While we know Al is at total peace and Home,,, He will be missed!
~ Sandy Radway Rathbun
2807 Spy Glass Cove longwood Florida (6/9/2014)
Al was such a pleasant man! We were always made to feel so welcome at his barn. He always had time to talk to the kids and figure out what they were doing. We have only known him for the years since we moved to Philip, but his love and attention make it feel like it's been forever.
His guidance and love touched us and will be with us forever.
May you hold tight to the memories you have and let that put a smile on your face.
We are better people having had Pastor Al as a part of our lives
God bless to all
David, Michelle, Kelcey, Katie, and Lukas Butler
~ Michelle Butler
To all of Al's family,
So sorry for your loss of this wonderful man! I have very fond memories of Pastor Al from when I was a young, spunky, red-haired girl that he protected from my Grandma Mary's spanking(which I so deserved), to several trips to his cabin in the hills & then as I got older still enjoyed to visit with him and hear of his wisdom especially of his faith. My family also appreciates his amazing gift of carpentry skills since we live in a house that has an addition built by him with quite the story behind it. He has sure touched the lives of many! Find comfort in your memories of him & knowing some day you will see him again! God Bless, Trevor & Christa Fitch family
~ Trevor & Christa Fitch
Milesville SD (6/9/2014)
Our heart goes out to the entire Brucklacher family. A huge loss for those left behind but what a gain for heaven. I can only imagine what an unbelievable reunion he must be having! God's blessings and peace to you all.
~ Nick, Hallie, Chevy & Memphis Konst
Philip SD (6/9/2014)
Al was a giant of a man, his greeting smile, soft spoken voice and a true follower of The Lord. My deepest sympathy to you Lenore and the family.
~ Beth Kennedy
PO Box 495, Philip (6/9/2014)
I pretty much grew up around the Brucklacher clan. I have very fond memories of their family reunions at the cabin in Silver City as well as our combined family get-togethers. Hold all those fond memories close to your heart. I know Al is smiling and singing praises as he is Home now. Rest in Peace. Hugs to you all.
~ Stacy Dole
Black Hawk (6/9/2014)
So sorry to hear of Pastor Alvin passing, but how heaven must be celebrating. Alvin had such an impact on my life teaching that Jesus could be your friend
~ Mary Neiderworder Miller
New Underwood SD (6/9/2014)
So sorry to hear of Alvin passing, but oh how heaven is celebrating his homecoming. Alvin had such a big influence on my life... by looking at his life I witnessed that Jesus could be my friend not just a Sunday acquaintance. I will be ever grateful. Praying for all of you... God bless!
~ Mary Neiderworder Miller
New Underwood SD (6/9/2014)
Sorry to hear of Al's passing. Sending warm thoughts and deepest sympathy to all the family. May you find peace in your memories.
~ Krystl (Anderson), Jared, Lexus, Jaxon, and Alex Vermundson
Rapid City, SD (6/9/2014)
I was so sorry to hear of Pastor Al's Passing. I remember Pastor Al taking the confirmation classes camping and what fun we had. He was a remarkable man, with faith that poured out in his smile. He will be greatly missed. My deepest sympathies to the family.
~ Laurie (Thorson) Dale
Amarillo, TX (6/9/2014)
Our Sympathy to all of Al's family hold on to all the memories you made all these years. May God wrap his arms around each of you during the difficult days ahead. RIP Al
~ Rudy & Susan Roth
Al has touched so many lives with his love for The Lord. He will be missed by many.
We are praying for the whole Brucklacher family during this time of sorrow. I know the celebration of life will sore to the heavens! Pastor Al would want it that way.
~ The Don Hagen family
Arlington, Washington (6/9/2014)
I didn't really know Pastor Al until we worked together on his history book just recently. He was so appreciative and kind, and the last time I saw him he gave me a big hug in thanks! Little did I know that would be the last time I talked to him. My sympathy to your entire family; this has to be a very hard time for all of you. You're in my thoughts and prayers!
~ Kelly Penticoff
Philip, SD (6/9/2014)
I am so sorry to hear of our earthly loss but heaven's gain of Pastor Al. It was a true pleasure to meet & visit with him while I was at Ervin & Marlene's home. Thoughts, prayers & love to your family. God Bless.
~ Dona Reiffenberger
Sioux Falls, SD (6/9/2014)
So sorry if there is anything I can do just call me Love to Mark. Carla and family
~ Sue Michels
Uncle Al's powerful spirit and heart warming smile will be greatly missed! He was ( and still is ) an amazing leader. The Lord certainly worked his wondrous ways through Alvin. Our thoughts & prayers are with you all.
~ David & Lori Brucklacher
Dear Lenore and family:
We the widow and daughter of Al's brother Harold, know that our brother Al lived with his Lord and Savior his whole life. Pastor Al touched so many lives as did Lenore; who allowed Al to achieve this by being a loving wife and mother.
WE share these thoughts with you: "Weep not for me for I am not here. I have gone Home to live with the LORD".
Our prayers, thoughts and knowing we will see Al again "when our turn comes".
June and Susan Brucklacher
~ June and Susan Brucklacher
Sioux Falls (6/9/2014)
Heaven is rejoicing with Pastor Al. Remember the good times and all of the memories that you have.
~ jim & Vonnie O'Dea
howes, SD (6/9/2014)
Perry and family, so sorry to hear about your dad passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
~ Pam Duncan
Pierre, SD (6/9/2014)
Our deepest, deepest sympathy at this time of loss. He was a man with a great spirit and wonderful smile. He was a wonderful speaker and his sermons were always powerful. He touched many lives in his day AND wrote a wonderful book! He will be greatly missed by many.
Nathan & Brittney Drury & Family
~ Nathan & Brittney Drury
Lenore and Family,
So sorry to hear of Pastor Al's death. We enjoyed our time with Pastor Al in Faith and know he will be missed by all.
Tom and Vivian Milleer
~ Tom and Vivian Miller
Red Owl, SD (6/9/2014)
Dear Family of Al,
It's been a long time since I lived in Philip and about as long since I'd seen Al. A good friend of ours and a man of kindness and humanity. And were in the same "time bracket" of life...
I hope you will grieve appropriately Al's passing, then move on to keep dear his memory and share them with others.
I wish I could make it to the ceremonies but recovering from my own recent heart surgery precludes my being there.
Blessings to all of you.
Robert and Sonja Shannon
~ Robert Shannon
24705 Timber Ridge Rd, Hermosa, SD 57744 (6/9/2014)
I can remember the day Pastor Al came to the ranch and brought my dad Faye to the Lord. It put a great impact on Bruce's and my life and how we wanted to lead our lives to this day. We will always be great-full for his kindness. Our deepest sympathy to the Brucklacher family's. His shoes will be hard to fill.
~ Bruce and Sharon Barnett
Wall SD 57790 (6/9/2014)
Al was a devoted servant of God. He left behind a new church building at Faith which include several hand-crafted furnishings, including the sanctuary lights. He also left behind many disciples of Christ, trained in his small group meetings.
We celebrate his life and ministry, even as we grieve his loss. God is with you, and God is good, all the time.
Richard Fisher, United Methodist Pastor (retired), Superintendent of the Western District from 1980 to 1986.
~ Richard Fisher
Deadwood, SD (6/9/2014)
We are so Sorry to hear of the loss of Pastor Al. He was a wonderful man and he was loved by all. He will be truly missed.
~ Lee, Nicole & Boys (Dennis)
Our love and prayers for the Brucklacher Family. We had many great times together and the memories will always be there. Al and Lenore you made such a impact in so many around the country. Al did my grandfathers funeral and prayed with many of our family that day. My friend, we can only imagine how awesome of a time you are having now. We have always loved you and your family. See you soon.
~ Gator & Connie Strong
Rapid City, SD (6/9/2014)
So sorry for your loss. Craig has many fond memories growing up a few houses from the family. He was honored to be confirmed by Pastor Al. Our Prayers are with you.
~ craig and Janice Heigh
2500 Lunar Dr Rapid City, SD (6/9/2014)
Lenore and family we were very sad to hear of Pastor Al's passing. Thinking of all of you.
~ Greg and Cheryl Bodenhamer
Rapid City, SD (6/9/2014)
As Perry was a co-worker of mine, we were very sorry to hear of his father Alvin's passing.
~ Leann & Bill Goff
Pierre SD (6/9/2014)
I was sorry to hear about Al's passing. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this time. Remember the good memories you have all made with him throughout the years (I'm sure there are many). I know he will remain close to all of you in your hearts forever.
~ Jo Ann Hanson
Spearfish, SD (6/9/2014)
Pastor Al served God daily and the churches in Tulare in the 1980's and we are saddened by his death. Our sympathy to Lenore and his family and thanksgiving to God for Al's ministry among us. Peace, Pastor Lorah Houser Jankord and Al's Tulare United Church family
~ Lorah Houser Jankord
Tulare SD (6/9/2014)
Lenore & Family, I am so sorry for your loss. He was such a wonderful man! I have so many wonderful and special memories of Pastor Al!! He was our pastor in Marcus and Faith and was the most dynamic pastor!! All the memories of Kings Camp, his cabin and lock in's. He had a way with youth. I can still see his proud smile!! We were blessed to have him marry us. He is having so much fun in heaven right now!
~ Debbie Brown
Faith, SD (6/9/2014)
We are thinking of you folks during this difficult time, hold onto all the memories.
~ Les & Joann Pearson
Philip, SD (6/9/2014)
We were always in awe of Al's designs and works---and he had a great helpmeet in Lenore. A good and faithful servant is reaping his rewards. Our thoughts and prayers to the family.
~ Justin and Joyce Wheeler
24208 Fairview Road (6/9/2014)
John, sorry to hear of your father's passing. email me if you have a new email address. I see you are living in Windsor now, my daughter lives in Ft. Collins, maybe we can get together for coffee or something sometime. Jim
~ James Trimble
1830 5th Ave Belle Fourche, SD (6/9/2014)
Pastor Al has been the greatest influence in my life, apart from my parents. His great smile, caring heart, skilled hands, hard-working yet fun-loving and adventurous spirit, acts of leadership, words of teaching, correction, encouragement, challenge and inspiration have made a lasting impression and an eternal difference on MANY of us. He was a good and faithful servant who now shares in the joys of his Master. Many of you, too, carry on the work in big and small ways. Please be encouraged to know it makes more difference than you may realize.
I thank the whole family, and especially you, Lenore, for sharing Pastor Al with the world. We pray that the Father would graciously fill any aching, empty hole you might feel in your hearts from his absence, and that you feel yourselves embraced by a loving Father who knows the painful loss of sharing His Son Jesus with the world, too, but who also knows the joy of re-union. May that joy be yours.
~ Scott (and Ann) Hewitt
5440 Pearce Ave, Lakewood CA (6/9/2014)
Pastor Al and Lenore were very special people when I wss growing up. Daughter Marie and I were best friends and we spent a lot of time together. It was Pastor Al, when I attended the Bible Camp near Philip,that truly delivered me to my Lord by telling me: For God SO Loved Sally, that He gave his only son to die for Me. He left a mark on so many hearts. and for that we are blessed
~ Sally Bisgard
PO Box 247 Waubay,SD (6/9/2014)
Our thoughts and prayers are with your family.We felt so fortunate to have Pastor Al as our minister at the little church at Marcus. He loved to work with the youth and take them to the cabin in the hills or down to Kings Camp for some very inspirational and fun times. God bless
~ Tucker and Bev Hudson
Howes Sd (6/9/2014)