Tribute to Aaron B. Markuson

1910 - 2010

by John Markuson

Readers may be interested in Bob Bach's profile of Aaron Markuson that appeared in the Fall 2004 issue of Pietisten.

Born: September 1, 1910
Died: February 11, 2010
Birthplace: Rockford, Illinois
Father: John Aaron Markuson
Mother: Emma Nilsson Markuson
Brothers: Carl Ernest, Gustaf Adolf (Ade), Harry Marcus, John Emil Bernard (Ben), one infant-died first year
Sisters: Esther Ingeborg, Selma (Sally) Christina, Ruth Catherine, one infant-died first year
Married: Margaret Gusarson in Brandon, South Dakota, May 18, 1940
Children: John, Marcia; Son-in-law, Carl Blomgren
Grandchildren: Anders and Per-Lars Blomgren; Granddaughter-in-law, Alison
Graduated: Rockford High School, 1927; North Park Junior College, 1935; North Park Theological Seminary, 1937; Tufts University and Crane School of Religion, 1945
Received Honorary Doctor of Divinity from North Park Theological Seminary, 1999
Pastor: Salem, South Dakota, 1935-36; Winnetka, Illinois, 1937-42; Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1942-51;
Bethany Covenant Church, Richfield, Minnesota, 1970-75
Interim Pastor: Bethlehem Covenant Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1975-76; Montecito Covenant Church, Santa Barbara, California, 1982; First Covenant Church, Seattle, Washington, 1981-82, 1990-91, 1995-96
Executive Secretary: Covenant Department of Christian Education, 1951-70
Member of Executive Committee, United States General Commission on Chaplains, 1960s
First Chaplain at Covenant Shores Retirement Community, Mercer Island, Washington

A radio pioneer, Aaron was an announcer for KFLV in the late 20s; worked at National Lock Company in Rockford from 1927-31; attended North Park College and Seminary in Chicago from 1931-32; then worked at Burd Piston Ring Company in Rockford from 1932-34 to support his mother and sisters during the Depression. His wages had dropped from $100 a month to $38 a month, but he had work!

During his service at Covenant Headquarters in Chicago, he established CHIC (Covenant High Congress) and the Quadrennial, national weeklong get-togethers for Covenant high school and college students; helped to develop, write, and edit new Sunday School and Confirmation materials; and led many groups of young people on trips to Europe to meet with other Christian youth from the early 1950s through 1970. Although he couldn’t sing a note, his deep love of languages and poetry brought about several English translations of old Swedish hymns, still sung in churches around the nation. Late in his life, he went to the Holy Land, fulfilling a lifelong desire.

His love of history, art, literature, poetry, antiques, and sports remained with him throughout his life. Aaron loved learning. And what a library he had! Through his mid-90s, he continued to visit others in hospitals and nursing homes.

“To First Covenant Church, Rockford, Illinois, I owe a debt of gratitude I can never begin to repay. There I was first brought to Sunday School; there I was converted, confirmed, called to the Christian ministry, and ordained.” –Aaron Markuson

Dad was first and foremost a pastor, one who cared for others with humility and grace. His was a mission of giving, of visiting and bringing God’s love, peace, and grace—informed by his simple faith, guided by his trust in his Heavenly Father.