Cover photo for Rev. Howard Bredesen's Obituary
Rev. Howard Bredesen Profile Photo

Rev. Howard Bredesen

November 9, 1939 — February 1, 2023

Coffeyville, Kansas

Rev. Howard Bredesen

Howard Wesley Bredesen was a man that exhibited great responsibility, always straight forward, gentle and loving, who was respected by many.  He entered his eternal home on February 1, 2023, at the age 83 at his home in Coffeyville, KS surrounded by family.

Howard was born in his family’s farmhouse in Danube, Minnesota on November 9, 1939, the 2nd born to Gertrude Esther Juliana (Wallert) Bredesen of German heritage, and Elmer Jesse Bredesen of Norwegian heritage.  He grew up in Danube with his elder brother and best friend Harris, many uncles, beloved aunts and family.  He was baptized at First German Lutheran Church in Renville, MN.  He was active as a teen in the youth group at Danube German Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) church.

Every Sunday consisted of family gatherings at Tante Minnie’s home after worship, and weekly family dinners where German was often spoken. Losing his father as a young boy, Howard regularly played music with his home trio of mom (on organ), brother Harris (on clarinet) and he on trumpet.  He was a member of the high school band where he held first chair trumpet and competed in a trumpet trio at the MN High School Competition winning first place playing Bugler’s Holiday.  Howard was also athletic enjoying football, basketball, and track in high school.  As teens Howard and Harris hunted pheasants & ducks, raised sheep and farmed small grains and legumes “big time” under the tutelage of their uncles.  The seeds of Howard’s social justice and community activism came from Rev Zahl, and also his mother’s community organization involvement.

After graduation from Danube HS in 1957, Howard attended Mankato State University in Mankato, MN, majoring in Pre-engineering and working as a carpenter.  He joined the Air Force Aviation Cadet School and trained as a navigator and officer. His love of music influenced his advancement in the Air Force, and he was Commander of the Drum and Bugle Corps in Harlingen and San Antonio, TX.  It was important to both brothers Howard and Harris to have some military experience.  Talking with Pastor Geire on a break, he acknowledged 10 years of thoughts and secret urgings to go into the ministry.  Internally he was being called into being a Pastor.

Howard began his Divinity training at Westmar College in LeMars, Iowa, where he met his beloved Judy Sue Lowrance on campus, and reports that it was “love at first sight”.  They danced and dated, and got engaged, marrying July 21, 1962, at Trinity United Brethren Church now known as Trinity United Methodist Church in Coffeyville, Kansas.

Howard went on to Evangelical Theological Seminary in Naperville, Illinois, where he got a M.Div. Master of Divinity degree.  He was ordained in the EUB denomination, which merged into the United Methodist Church.  Retiring after 35 years of being a faithful servant, he served in 11 churches, leading the congregations at:  Plainview, IL EUB; Grace EUB Minneapolis, MN; Grey Eagle, MN EUB, Long Prairie, MN United Church of Christ; in Austin, MN Fellowship UMC, and Faith UMC; Minneapolis, MN Simpson UMC; Luverne, MN UMC.  The family moved to England & served in Park Grove Methodist, and six smaller Knaresborough Circuit Churches in North Yorkshire, England.  Returning to Minnesota UMCs he served at Olivet, Robbinsdale; Jackson; & Caledonia. Howard referred to himself as a preacher of the Cross.  He focused his ministry in two foundational pieces, first the love of Christ and sharing the Gospel, a personal relationship and salvation; secondly following Jesus’ teachings in social and economic justice, inviting all walks of life into the Kingdom of God.

He and Judy served mainly in central and southern MN.  When choosing where to retire he said to Judy “You followed me all of these years, I’ll go wherever you want to go” and Judy said “I want to go home to Coffeyville, KS”, where they moved in 2001. Howard and Judy became active members in Trinity UMC, the church where their married lives began.  Howard had natural leadership traits, and served in the Coffeyville Ministerial Alliance, where he was the originator of PINCH – People and Institutions for Communal Harmony – in order to bring together local people of differing religious denominations to confront local community problems as a united cause.

Howard and Judy moved to California with their daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter, to fulfill their lifelong dream of being grandparents.   They became active in Sebastopol UMC, and Howard got involved with family life, taking baby Abigail on daily nature walks while she napped; and voluntarily & joyfully washing the dishes after each meal.

Howard also played a key role in the Burbank Heights & Orchards Senior Living Center as a Reconciliation Counsel, where he listened, educated on power structure & spoke truth to power.  Howard & Judy enjoyed being with family & community, walking at the ocean, redwoods & mountains.

People of all ages enjoyed talking with him, sharing about their personal paths, faith journeys, current challenges, or discussing/wrestling with more challenging public topic items like religion, racism, and politics.  Howard had a deep capacity for listening, compassion, wisdom, and offering pastoral care.  Alanon & 12-step programs were important to him & he valued that work.

Howard is survived by his loving wife, Judy, his offspring Patrick and Jennifer, son-in-law Scott (Jen) McGinnis and granddaughter Abigail, and his beloved nieces and nephew.  He was preceded in death by his parents Elmer (1948) and Gertrude (1968) Bredesen, his brother Harris Bredesen (2012).

Services celebrating Howard’s life will be held on Saturday, February 18, 2023, at 11am at Trinity United Methodist Church, 1001 W 8th St, Coffeyville, KS 67337 under the direction of Ford-Wulf-Bruns Chapel.  Inurnment will take place on Friday, February 17, 2023, at 3pm at Restlawn Memorial Park Cemetery with the US Air Force, Coffeyville VFW Post 1022 and American Legion Post 20 providing Military Honors.  Memorial Donation suggestions to the social justice organization that Howard founded:  PINCH People and INstitutions for Community Harmony(PINCH) 1203 W 14th St #21, Coffeyville, KS  67337 or may be left in care of the chapel.  Services will be streamed live under his obituary page at www.fordwulfbrunschapel.com where you may also leave an online condolence or share a memory with the family.

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Past Services

Inurnment

Friday, February 17, 2023

Starts at 3:00 pm (Central time)

Restlawn Memorial Park Cemetery

2000 Woodland Ave, Coffeyville, KS 67337

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Memorial Service

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Trinity United Methodist Church

1001 W 8th St, Coffeyville, KS 67337

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