The Rev. Dr. Leslie B. Pearson, 92, of Rochester, MN, died on Tuesday, February 14th, 2023 Rochester, MN, and went home to be with His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who he served for 76 years. A man who was kind, loving, giving and whose Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at 10:30 AM at Salem Road Covenant Church, 3401 Salem Road SW, Rochester, MN 55902
Leslie Birger Pearson was born on December 22, 1930, in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Birger and Thelma (Manson) Pearson. Les attended the following schools: St. Philips Lutheran Elementary School 1936-42; Taft High School 1943-1947; Wright Junior College 1949-1951; Wheaton College 1952-1954; North Park Seminary 1954-1956; and ordained in 1957 at First Covenant Church, Minneapolis, MN, during The Evangelical Covenant Church of America's Annual Meeting. Les received The Doctorate of the Ministry Degree from North American Baptist Seminary in Sioux Falls, SD, on May 19, 1985.
When Les was 14 years old, the elders of Immanuel Covenant Church in Chicago, came to Les and asked him to form a quartet to welcome home the World War II veterans at a church banquet. The Immanuelaires quartet included George Elia, Verne Lundstedt and Stu Kortebein and went on to win a Youth for Christ talent competition and sing in the Chicago area for 10 years.
Les served as Youth Pastor at the Austin Covenant Church in Austin, IL, in 1952. Les served as senior pastor: First Covenant Church in River Falls, WI 1956-61; Excelsior Covenant Church in Excelsior, MN 1961-1971; Sioux Falls Covenant Church, Sioux Falls, SD 1971-1976; Montecito Covenant Church, Santa Barbara, CA 1976-1979; Good Shepherd Covenant Church, Minneapolis (Blaine), MN 1979-1990; and Salem Road Covenant Church, Rochester (SRCC), MN, 1990-1995.
While in Sioux Falls, Les served 4 years, part time, as Chaplain at the South Dakota State Penitentiary. Les also had a radio ministry at KNWC (an affiliate station of the Northwestern College Radio Network out of St. Paul, MN.) It was while he was serving the Lord in Sioux Falls that he was invited, by Dr. Clarke Tungseth, to attend the Continental Congress on the Family in St. Louis, MO, that he met Rozella Hofer, who was working in broadcasting and sent to the same convention by her church, First Presbyterian, in Fresno, CA. They had a 6-month commute between Sioux Falls, SD, and Fresno, CA, thanks to Northwest Airlines, and were married on April 24, 1976.
After his retirement in 1995, Les served the following churches in various roles: Christ Community Church, Rochester, MN; Trinity Evangelical Free Church, Plainview, MN; Calvary Covenant Church, Stockholm, WI; Saint Charles Bible Church, St. Charles, MN; Vista Covenant Church, New Richland, MN; Salem Road Covenant Church in Rochester, MN; Rochester Minnesota Chinese Church (with an interpreter); and Salem Road Covenant Church as Visitation Pastor (2012-2019). SRCC also bestowed the title of "Pastor Emeritus" on Les in 2012. After Les and Roz moved to The Homestead of Rochester, he volunteered as one of the Sunday Morning Chapel speakers. Often over the past 30 years, Les would receive calls from other Covenant Church pastors asking if he would visit their parishioners who were in Mayo Clinic hospitals.
After retirement, in December 1995, Les worked for Sam's Club (1996 to 2009) and thoroughly enjoyed his years working for Tom Kadlec Honda shuttling new cars, between dealers and to customers (2010 to 2020).
For 35 years, Les and Roz enjoyed winter breaks in AZ, CA, or FL. Les enjoyed playing basketball or softball, fishing and gardening and continued to exercise faithfully his entire life. Other hobbies were crossword puzzles, classical music, visiting family, and summer vacations to northern MN and WI.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife of nearly 47 years, Rozella "Roz" Pearson, nephews Dr. Dale (Kathy) Anderson and Gary (Linda) Anderson, and niece Linda (Dean) Anderson, grandnieces Lauren (Andy) Riviere, Hannah Anderson and Bethany Anderson; and grandnephew, Daniel Anderson; great grandniece Virginia (Ginny) Riviere; Roz' sister, Linda Jones, and her nieces and nephews: Carlyn (Sak) Ungphakorn, Jared (Diana) Jantz, Melodee (Roger) Runyon, Hugh Jantz, Laurie Willoughby, Rose Jones and William Jones; and Les' cousins Carol Lundberg, Phyllis (Cliff) Anderson, and Glen (Sue) Larson and many other extended family members who valued Les' wisdom and prayers.
Preceding Les in death were his parents, Birger and Thelma Pearson, only sister Virginia Anderson and brother-in-law Marshall Anderson; and 5 aunts: Anna Persson, Hulda Persson, Ebba (Harry) Alfredson, Ruth Manson, and Lillian (Ivar) Larson.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to: Salem Road Covenant Church https://salemroadcov.com/; one of the Minnesota Covenant Camps https://www.northwestconference.org/conference-camps/ or Camp Victory https://campvictory.com/.
To view the service livestream or later, please visit https://salemroadcov.com/
Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Pearson family. To share a special memory or condolence, please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com.
Rochester, MN 55902
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