Elder Lindahl

1926 — 2014

by Phil Johnson

Dr. Elder Lindahl, lover of wisdom, died at Covenant Village in Golden Valley, Minnesota, November 3. He enjoyed carpentry, fishing, the outdoors, and coached tennis. Elder also loved Pietisten; his contributions include more than fifty articles.

Elder Lindahl and Mel Soneson created the Philosophy Department at North Park College. They designed a rock solid philosophy curriculum in preparation for the Junior College becoming a four-year Bachelor of Arts degree granting college. The quality of their teaching was confirmed by the performance of the first philosophy graduates (1960) on that year’s Philosophy Graduate Record Exam. North Park philosophy students continued to score above average through the years under their tutelage.

Elder opened up windows for us, the windows of our minds. He enabled students to begin to understand philosophy, to get acquainted with the great philosophers, and to taste the freedom that philosophy can bring when guided by a great teacher. It was comforting for us small-towners that Elder came from Stambaugh in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He served in the Army at the end of WWII. He said it was a mind-opening experience and he wrote about it in Private Lindahl, Citizen Soldier (reviewed by Burton Nelson, Pietisten, Winter 2001/2002).

In “A Retirement Soliloquy,” Elder’s wonderful, delightful first article for Pietisten (Fall 1990), he summed up his 37-year teaching career, “. . .by paraphrasing the parting words of the great Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein—Tell them I’ve had a wonderful life at North Park.”

In that article Elder made clear that he was moving on. “I am looking forward with great anticipation—if CREF/TIAA and Social Security come through as expected—to some good years of writing and enjoying life.” Elder did that and much more. He joined gatherings of Pietisten with relish and friendship. He became an integral part of our conversation and spirit the minute he stepped onto Minnesota soil. He had a good editorial eye and he helped edit articles each issue. Muriel and he enlisted friends from Covenant Village to address and stamp the envelopes for Pietisten mailings—a big job and a huge help.

Elder and Muriel shared their wisdom, love, and neighborliness unstintingly at Covenant Village, Salem Covenant Church, and beyond. We are all so very much richer because of them. You can continue to enjoy Elder’s wisdom, insight, and humor at pietisten.org where you will also find articles by Muriel and a tribute to her.

Peace and blessings to the Lindahl children and their families. To Elder—your memory will be cherished. Your friends love you. Rest in peace.