Jan. 24, 1944 – July 27, 2016

Edmund Kent Nesselhuf fought cancer to a draw and completed the promise of his baptism on July 27, 2016.

Ed was born on Jan. 24, 1944, in Rocky Ford Colorado to Carl and Edna Nesselhuf.

In 1971 he graduated from Luther Seminary and was ordained as a pastor in the American Lutheran Church. He served congregations in Rapid City and Chamberlain, South Dakota, before taking a call in 1984 to start a congregation in a women’s prison in Jessup, Maryland. In 1987 he brought his family back to South Dakota as the campus pastor at the Luther Center at the USD in Vermillion. In 1994 he started Prison Congregations of America. He worked with mainline Christian denominations to start congregations within prison walls. He served as the Executive Director of PCA for the rest of his career. He retired in 2009.

Ed was an accomplished cowboy poet and an adventurer at heart. He rode on camels in the desert, on horses in the prairie and on top of buses in the jungle.

A celebration of life is planned for Aug. 6 at 11 am at Trinity Lutheran Church in Vermillion. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be directed to Prison Congregations of America at PO Box 1335, Sioux Falls, SD 57101.

The most important thing in his life was his family. The rest of this was written by Ed himself:

The greatest blessing of my life was meeting Diane Bergelin at a church camp in Wisconsin in the summer of 1969. I somehow convinced her to marry me on Valentine’s Day in 1971. For 45 years she was my best friend and companion on many adventures.

While in Rapid City, Stephanie was born and taught me what unconditional love is. A few years later, Ben was born and taught me that some of the best acorns actually fall very far from the tree. Seth arrived while we lived in Chamberlain and watching him grow up was like looking in a mirror.

While in Maryland we decided to adopt a daughter. Out of all the children in the world, God gave us Ana and life was never the same. Several years later, while living in Vermillion, we added Miguel and our family was complete. Both of these kids were blessings beyond anything I ever imagined.

I’m lucky to have a couple of great daughters-in-law. Angie, who takes care of Ben, and Alicia, who with Seth, are great parents to my two grandchildren who I will watch grow up from a distance. Louis, who is 3, and Dorothy who was just born last month.

I’m going to beat my older brothers, John and Buzz, to being reunited with our parents. That’s OK. I was always their favorite.

I am blessed with a great family and many wonderful friends. I will miss you but this is only temporary. I will be waiting for you all, just as safe as a toad in God’s pocket.