Gehard Edward Vorland


Gehard Edward Vorland, aged 101, passed away peacefully at Boutwells Landing in Stillwater, MN, on May 28, 2024. Born on February 22, 1923, in Ceylon, MN, to Andrew Nils Vorland and Sarah (Heggen) Vorland, Gehard lived a life dedicated to family, faith, and service.

He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Mildred and Alvina; brothers, Sanford and Earl; his daughter, Cathy (Michael) Donnelly of Melbourne, Australia; and his beloved wife, Bertha (Solberg) Vorland. 

Gehard is survived by his sons: Bruce (Yuri) in Owariasahi, Japan, Keith (Joan) in Vancouver, Canada, and Andy (Yukari) also in Owariasahi, Japan. His memory will be cherished by his grandchildren: Matthew and Nicholas from Australia; Erika, Maia, and Noa in Japan; and Kai and Mia in Canada. He is also survived by his great-granddaughters Isabella and Asher in Australia, along with many nieces and nephews.

Gehard served in the Army Air Force in the Pacific Theater during World War II, with postings stretching from Australia to Japan, from January 1943 at Camp Dodge, IA, until January 1946 at Fort Leavenworth, KS. Gehard seldom talked of his time in the army, except for the story of his pet pig Bosko, a story he shared with many over the years. 

In December 1946, Gehard married Bertha Leonora Solberg, which he always said made him the luckiest man on earth. He pursued his education at Augsburg College, graduating in 1950, he continued on to Luther Seminary, where he graduated in 1953 and was subsequently ordained into the Lutheran Ministry.

In 1953, Gehard, with his family, embarked on a missionary journey to Japan, where he served until 1990. During his time in Japan, he studied Japanese in Tokyo for a year and ministered to various congregations in cities between Tokyo and Nagoya. He was actively involved in numerous committees within the Lutheran Church, Nagoya International School, Fukuroi Danish Farm, and the Nojiri Lake Association. Gehard is fondly remembered for initiating, and serving, on the Bridge of Fellowship programs, which fostered connections between Japan and Iowa, Korea, Australia, and Minnesota.

A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m., Wednesday, July 10 at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Stillwater, Minn., with visitation one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be at 2 p.m., Thursday, July 11 at St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery, - North, Cylinder, Iowa.