The Rev. Dr. Elsa Patt was born on Oct. 7, 1931, in Erndtebruck, Germany, to Wilhelm and Elisabeth Patt. She was the oldest of four children and helped to care for her younger siblings during WWII as her father served in the German army. In her early childhood, she fell in love with Jesus and his church and found comfort in them through the ravages of war. During reconstruction, she met an American GI who felt called into the ministry. They were married in Germany and Elsa emigrated to the U.S. at the end of her husband’s duty tour. She continued her seminary education in the U.S., graduating first with a master’s in Theology and then a Doctorate in ministry from Colgate Divinity School.

Elsa was ordained in the United Church of Christ, blazing a path for female ministers in 1958. Elsa pastored churches in Churchville and Conesus, N.Y., Belle Plaine and Waukon, Iowa, as well as Custer, Mont. Later in her life, she helped to start a church and then a school in Kasson, working with her son and daughter.

She has four children, Deborah, Stephanie, Johannes, and Samuel, who all now reside in Minnesota. She also has 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. The love of her life was her Lord Jesus, teaching people about Him, and showing His love through acts of service and kindness.

Elsa led an active lifestyle right up to a month before her passing. She loved biking 5 to 10 miles at a time, swimming laps, and tutoring students at the Train a Child Center. She also enjoyed gardening, knitting, quilting, baking and making jelly.

She took her last breath on June 18, 2019, at the moment of the amen of a prayer said over her and was received into the arms of the Lord she had spent a lifetime loving and serving. She will be dearly missed in the community and by her family. We rejoice that to her dying breath, she gave testimony of God’s faithful love.

A memorial celebration will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, June 29, at the Rochester Church of the Nazarene. Visitation starts at 10:30 a.m. and a luncheon will follow the memorial service.

For those wishing to give gifts or send flowers, Elsa requested that donations be made to the school she helped found. Gifts can be made online at