Pastors' Memoirs

Lloyd C. Halstrom, 1913-1987

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Not often, if ever before, has the Virginia Annual Conference embraced in its clerical membership the son of a teamster from the iron mines of Minnesota. Of Swedish ancestry dating in America from the days of the Northwest Territory, Lloyd Halstrom possessed many of the fine qualities of the Swedish people, not the least of which were warmth, industry, the capacity for deep love and unshakable loyalty, and the saving grace of a delightful humor.

Born August 15, 1913 in Aurora, Minnesota, Lloyd was the only one of his parents' five babies who survived childbirth and must on occasion have felt, therefore, that God had some special use to make of his life. Following graduation at the University of Minnesota he served for a time in welfare work and, as a gifted musician, served as organist for a local Lutheran Church.

With the advent of World War II, Lloyd enlisted in the Army and was sent to Officer's Candidate School. However, before beginning a 20-year tour of military duty which would include assignments in the South Pacific, Germany, Iran, and Fort Lee, Virginia, he returned as a Second Lieutenant to Minnesota and married his sweetheart, Carolyn Nyquist. Across 44 years they traveled in mutual devotion to each other. God blessed their marriage with one daughter and two sons.

While serving his country, Lloyd tried also to serve his God, participating as often as circumstances permitted in religious life in camp. At Fort Lee he was the superintendent of a 500-student Sunday school at Post Chapel. Having decided earlier that upon his retirement from Army service he would enter the Christian ministry, in 1962 he sought admission into the Virginia conference and began training. He was assigned to the South Sussex Charge in the Petersburg District in September, 1962, and by 1966 had qualified for deacon's orders. In 1968 he became an elder and a year later was admitted into conference membership as an associate member. After six years at South Sussex, Lloyd was transferred to Ocran Church on the edge of Petersburg, where he served with effectiveness and won the love of both church members and community citizenry. While at Ocran, however, physical problems became increasingly apparent and in 1974 he had to seek disability leave. Still, not willing to give up to his infirmities, for several years he rendered, as a part-time associate, loving service to the members of Washington Street Church, Petersburg. In 1979 full retirement became regretfully necessary. Over the next eight years he suffered declining health with great and heroic patience until on August 5, 1987 Our Father called him home. His country paid him tribute with all the pomp and pageantry of a military funeral but his larger tribute has come from the hearts of the many people he served in ministry throughout his life. In their hearts he will be enshrined forever -- a true soldier of the Cross.

-Joseph S. Johnston

 

 

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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

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