Reverend Rob Kemppainen

November 28, 1951 - April 27, 2024

Reverend Robert A. “Rob” Kemppainen, age 72, of New Prague, died peacefully with his family at his side on Saturday, April 27, 2024, at Mayo Clinic Health System Hospital Rochester. Rob was born on November 28, 1951, in Minneapolis to Arthur O. and Marion A. (Newton) Kemppainen. He grew up in Brooklyn Center, where he graduated from High School, went on to attain his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music and Teaching from the University of Minnesota, and finally, his Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary. It was during his first call in the ministry to Hay Lakes in Alberta, Canada, that he met the woman who captured his heart. He and Marilyn E. Schoenknecht were married on August 18, 1979, at Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Hay Lakes. He pastored numerous churches while the couple raised their children, finally retiring to New Prague 5 years ago. He became very involved at FaithPoint Lutheran Church, serving as a supply pastor and active on the worship team.

Service to others was the cornerstone of Rob’s life. He was known as joyful, witty, a character, and God’s faithful servant. His life passion was music, both composing and singing. His musical gift encompassed compositions that were worship-oriented, humor-oriented, and a blend of the two. Just last year he published a Christmas cantata, Old Wine in New Wineskins – 10 Christmas Carols Set to New Tunes. His many whimsical songs could be heard at Sunday and funeral liturgies. His gift delighted people wherever he served. He loved watching football, especially the Vikings and sailing. A catastrophic stroke took him suddenly, and that loss will be felt by his family and all who knew him. He was a bright light, always ready with a joke, and a joy to all who knew him.

Rob is survived by his wife, Marilyn, of New Prague; sons, Nathan (Aya) Kemppainen of Tsukuba, Japan, Jason Kemppainen of Burnaby, British Columbia, & Justin (Kate) Kemppainen of Eagan, MN; grandchildren, Lillian & Marcus; sister, Gayle (Tom) Herman of Wheaton, IL. He is preceded in death by his parents and sister, Karen Everett.

Celebration of Life Service will be held Saturday, May 11, 2024, at 2:00 PM at FaithPoint Lutheran Church (1051 W. 270th St., New Prague, MN) with Reverend Dr. Steve Trewartha officiating. Visitation will take place at church from 1:00-2:00 PM. Lunch will be served in the church social hall after the service.

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Deanna Kern
1 month ago

I am so sad to hear of Bob’s passing. I grew up with him in our youth group at Hope Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. We still talk about Bob. We enjoyed his cheerfulness. We remember him playing his guitar and leading us in singing on the bus rides for our youth trips. We are sorry for your loss and pray for comfort to the family.

Mary Beth Berg
2 months ago

Marilyn and family, our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Much love from your Newton cousins: Steve & Toni, Penny & Steven Gepner, Brian, Ruthie, and Mary Beth & Rory Berg.

Jean Urban
2 months ago

Marilyn and family, you are in our prayers . We have great memories of your time at East Norway Lake! He was a man of many talents.

Maggie Harp
2 months ago

My sympathies to Rob’s family! His music touched me and all the Coffee House Fiddlers. “You Have Called Me By My Name”.

2 months ago

So sorry to hear of Rob’s passing. It was a joy to share music with him in our little fiddling group in New London. Now he will know if there is any Chocolate Up In Heaven”. Rick and Brenda Swenson

Sandy Pierce
2 months ago

Rob will be missed by so many none more than his family my sad heart goes out to them. Heaven has to be enjoying his talent and humor as much as we did.

Darlene Schroeder
2 months ago

Sorry for our loss. Pastor Rob was a “regular” at our weekly jams in New London. His spirited singing and playing added a lot to our sessions. His new tunes were always a welcome surprise, e.g. “The Preacher and the Bear.”

Greg and Sue Yeo
2 months ago

Our sincere sympathy to Marilyn and family. So enjoyed Rob during your time at Norway Lake. Especially that great version of Amazing Grace.

Mary Jorissen
2 months ago

So, so sorry for your loss.

Gordon and Barb Hjelle from First Lutheran Church
2 months ago

Our hearts go out to you Marilyn and family, as you walk through this difficult time. We have some great memories of Pastor Rob serving our church in rural New London.

Dan and Susan Kallevig
2 months ago

He had a song truffles in heaven, Rob I pray there are chocolate truffles in heaven

Mary & Rich Schieck
2 months ago

Our deepest sympathy to you Marilyn, Nathan, Jason & Justin. We have such fond memories of Pastor Rob & your family when he served at the Norway Lake Parish! Blessings

Jean Matson
2 months ago

Our deepest and most heartfelt sympathy Marilyn and family.
I thank God that Pastor Rob shared Jesus Christ’s love for me & so many others. I was lost & broken, searching for something when he told me of God’s love. Always remember him telling me that God doesn’t make junk & he created me.
His ministry definitely changed my life.
My thoughts & prayers are with you all in this time of grief.

Annette George
2 months ago

Dear Marilyn and family,

I am so very sorry to hear of Rob’s passing. Thinking of you, Marilyn, during this difficult time of loss and sadness. May the Lord give you peace and comfort in the days ahead.

Blessings and prayers,
Annette George (Busenius)

Vanessa Juncker
2 months ago

I am so sorry for your loss Marilyn and family! Rob was a wonderful man. I always looked forward to hearing him preach with his good stories and great humor. Thinking of you during this very difficult time.

Sandy Schoenknecht
2 months ago

My dear Marilyn and family. I will always cherish my memories of times spent with you. Rob’s humor, his corny and witty jokes, his gifts of music and great hugs when needed. Thoughtful and faithful words were so appreciated over the years. God grant you all peace and comfort, my prayers are with you all.

Marvin & Darlene Schultz
2 months ago

We have so many great memories and of Rob and you at Hay Lakes and the special friendship we shared. We know that he touched so many people with his faith, humour, gift of music, and electric smile. He was an angel on earth and we will remember him always. Our hugs and tears are with you and your family and we hope treasured memories and the love of family and family help you through this sad time.❤️

Josh Knutson
2 months ago

Prayers and thoughts for your family.

Ruth Templer
2 months ago

Such a great man. He will be missed. God Bless his memory!

Steve and Sabrina Dahl
2 months ago

We are so, so sorry for your loss, Marilyn. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Wayne and Joanne Thompson
2 months ago

So sorry to hear this sad news! We will keep the Kemppainen family in our prayers!

Joan Walter
2 months ago

Marilyn, my heart goes out to you. I will surround you with loving prayers. May your family find pace and comfort.

Mary M Sullivan & James R Kanne
2 months ago

So sorry to hear about Rob’s passing. Prayers for you, Marilyn, and the family.

2 months ago

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Marilyn.

Roxanne Korbel
2 months ago

Wishing you peace and comfort in these difficult days.

Kiffin and Lori Deihl
2 months ago

We are thinking of you and your family, Marilyn. We are here for you!

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