News and Views

Stephen Rettenmayer - June 28, 2015

Posted by on

Stephen Clyde Rettenmayer was born in Jolliet, Illinois on March 23rd, 1944. He grew up and attended school in Wilmington and Canton, Illinois. He graduated from high school in 1962.

Steve was an exceptional student but even more, he was an exceptional musician. He was an all-state clarinetist in high school and after a successful audition he accepted the offer of a position in the United State Marine Band, “The President’s Own”. He then came to Washington D.C. to play clarinet and saxophone in this prestigious organization. It was dream come true! The highlight of this time was the opportunity to play at the White House and at the funeral service for President John F. Kennedy.

In 1966, Steve met Linda Minnick while at a spiritual retreat in Western Maryland . They fell in love very quickly, and were engaged in September 1966 and were married on June 9th, 1967. Steve never did do anything slowly! Steve and Linda were soulmates and were blessed with three sons, Wesley, Joshua and Nathaniel; and then with two wonderful daughters by marriage, Monika and Katelyn and then with two super wonderful grandchildren Blake and Wyatt.

While serving in the United States Marine band Steve had a life changing experience with Jesus Christ and a call to ministry. So, after leaving the band, he began his studies. First at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania where he graduated in 1969 “Magna Cum Laude,”with honors in Greek. He was also inducted into the academic Honor Society of Phi Beta Kappa.

Linda and Steve then headed off to Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va., a fine academic institution with an outstanding biblical studies department. During his time at Union Steve was awarded a year of study as an exchange student at the Universities Basel and Bern in Switzerland. 

After graduation from Union Seminary with a Masters of Divinity and a Doctor of Ministry in 1973, Steve received his first appointment in the Baltimore Washington Conference. Three years later Steve returned to Union Seminary to earn a Masters of Theology degree.

Steve went on to serve several United Methodist churches in the Baltimore Conference including Lodge Forest, Cape St.  Claire,  Mt. Zion (Highland), Faith (Rockville), Towson, and Community Church (Crofton). Then after retiring in 2009, he was appointed part time to Dundalk for a year. Steve served on many boards and committees on both the District and Conference levels- too many to note here.

One of the greatest experiences of Steve’s ministry occurred as he was called to serve the American Church in London. This was an international congregation of expats, Brits and other foreigners living in London. The four years from 2001 to 2005 were memorable in many ways for both Linda and Steve.

Steve had many interests and talents.  He loved playing tennis. He loved playing and coaching basketball with his boys. He loved to travel and enjoyed learning other languages and about other cultures. He loved life!

After retirement he enjoyed the Valley of Virginia very much, where he and Linda retired in 2010. In the Valley, Steve was able to resume playing his clarinet in the Stonewall Jackson Brigade Band and singing in the vocal group Schola Cantorum. His great joy in retirement was his work with the Jerusalem Center where he taught and guided church groups and seminary students to a grand experience in the land where Jesus walked. Speaking of Steve’s exuberance and enthusiasm one minister, who recently traveled with Steve said, “We ran in the land where Jesus walked”. Steve didn’t want his groups to miss anything.

Steve was a great teacher, he taught for 33 years in the Course of Study School, at Wesley Seminary in Washington on DC. He also taught at Eastern Menonite Seminary. He enjoyed working with the students, teaching and encouraging them in their calling.

Steve and Linda were blessed with 48 years of wonderful marriage. They traveled and studied together, encouraged and loved each other for all those years. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him- his wife, sons and daughters, grandsons, his brother John, his niece Jenna and his nephew Justin, his friends and parishioners- all of us left to carry on.

Steve left this life after a very brief illness and is now at peace and at home with the Lord, whom he faithfully loved and served, so long and so well. 

In lieu of flowers, the family request that memorial contributions be made to : 
Bethlehem Bible College 
614-C South Bus. IH 35
New Braunfels, TX 78130
Learn more about Bethlehem Bible College.