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Eric Rathjen 1929-2023

On Thursday, 6 July, Eric Rathjen, former Lutheran School leader, died after a very short illness in the Loxton hospital. He was 93 years old.

He completed all of his schooling in Lutheran schools; his primary days at Cambrai Lutheran School and then secondary years at Concordia College, Adelaide, where he had won a scholarship to attend.

In 1948, after completing secondary school, Eric was sent to Kewell Lutheran School (near Murtoa) as a relief teacher for a term. He was then invited to go to Canna, WA to start a small government-subsidised Lutheran School.

His first job as a fully trained teacher was at the Koonibba Lutheran Mission near Ceduna. Eric subsequently served in Henty (NSW), Maitland (SA), Nhill (Vic) and Loxton (SA). Overall, he served in Lutheran Schools for forty-six years, in which he was headmaster/principal for all but one term!

Above all, Eric was a man of God. He saw serving in our schools as a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel with every person who stepped onto the school campus.

Eric is survived by his wife Lois and five children, including Mark, our College Chaplin.

T.G.D. "Ophie" Renner 1929-2023

On Monday 14 August, Ophie Renner, former Lutheran School leader, died peacefully in his sleep at Wheatfields Residential Care, Freeling. He was 94 years old.

Ophie was born and grew up in Eudunda, one of nine children, (four of whom became Lutheran Pastors). His schooling included Eudunda Primary School, Immanuel College at Walkerville and finally Adelaide Teachers College, Kintore Ave. His first appointment was as sole teacher/principal to Butler Tanks Area School, Eyre Peninsula in 1951 (for three years). Ophie entered the Lutheran System and began principalships firstly in 1954 at Lights Pass Lutheran School in the Barossa Valley, before moving to Lutheran schools at Loxton, St John's Highgate (now Concordia College St John's Campus) and Immanuel Primary, Novar Gardens.

His long-time friend of 80 years and secondary schoolmate Pastor T.T. "Tom" Reuther was principal at Concordia College whilst Ophie was at St John's).

His final appointment for thre years was at St Jakobi Lutheran, Lyndoch as a classroom teacher, before he retired in 1994, after 43 years service to education, including 40 years with Lutheran Schools.

In his retirement, Ophie actively tutored and assisted children with learning challenges in Gawler and the district with their education, right up until he turned 90. In 2012, he helped form a local group who assisted and supported dyslexic children. This group quickly grew into Dyslexia SA. He was awarded the SA Senior Citizen of the Year in 2012 for this work.

Above all, Ophie was a man of God, who saw serving in our schools as a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel with every person who stepped onto the school campus, and he did so in a humble, gentle and sincere manner. Education and the journey of children in their formative years was his passion and he lived and breathed the desire to help all children fulfill their potential.

Ophie is survived by his four children (Andrew, James, Elizabeth and Anne - all of whom attended Concordia College in the 1970s and 1980s), five grandchildren (three of whom  - Ashley, Oliver & William - also attended Concordia College in the 2000s and 2010s), and four great-grandchildren.