Rev. Dr. Paul John Thielo

June 26, 1930March 12, 2014


The Reverend Doctor Paul John Thielo, 83, of Copley/Akron, Ohio, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at the Akron General Hospice & Palliative Care Center in Akron, Ohio. At his side were his devoted wife Pamela and his loving family.

His wife Lou Ann of 49 years and his second wife Shirley preceded Paul in death.

Born June 26, 1930 in Flushing, New York, Paul lived predominantly on the East Coast before moving with Lou Ann/family and settling down in Ohio for the remainder of his life.

Over the years, God has been glorified through Paul’s service as a husband, father, educator, missionary, counselor and pastor. His life was extremely full and a true blessing to those who ever came in contact with him over the years.

Paul began his spiritual journey when as a teenager he attended Camp Chickagami. The people he met there profoundly influenced him and his life’s service to the Lord was set in motion. Paul had the longest service of any camp counselor at the time. He attended New Town High School in Elmhurst Queens NY for his Freshmen thru Junior years. Then for Senior year of High School Paul attended Concordia Junior Collegiate Institue in Bronxville NY. His education continued at Concordia College earning him an undergraduate AA degree in 1951 followed by a 1953 Bachelor of Arts Degree from Concordia Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO as well as a Bachelor of Divinity Degree in 1956. In 1957 Paul was ordained into the Ministry beginning his professional pastoral career. Some years later Paul continued his theological studies receiving a Masters Degree of Sacred Theology in 1970 from Union Theological Seminary | New York NY and a Masters of Sacred Divinity in 1971 from Concordia Theological Seminary | St. Louis MO. His final degree was achieved in 1986 from the Graduate Theological Foundation | University of Indiana, Notre Dame, IN receiving a Doctorate of Ministry.

Paul’s pastoral calling started on the West Coast in teaching at Concordia College, Portland, OR working as an Assistant Pastor, Marriage Counselor, Assistant Professor and Director of Public Relations (1956–1958). Shortly thereafter Paul and family moved to New York where he served as the Assistant Executive Secretary for the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau (1958–1961) as well as an Assistant Pastor at Calvary Lutheran Church in Leonia NJ (1958-1960). From (1961–1966) he then was employed as the Missionary-At-Large for All Saints Lutheran Church, a Religion Instructor at Long Island Lutheran High School and a Campus Chaplain for C.W. Post College. Thereafter, Paul accepted a full-time call from Calvary Lutheran in Leonia, NJ and served as Senior Pastor (1966-1970). During his time at Calvary, Pastor Paul worked on merging the two Lutheran churches in town, Holy Trinity, an American Lutheran Church (ALC) and Calvary Lutheran, a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church to form a Lutheran Church in America (LCA) named Holy Spirit Lutheran Church. From (1968-1972), Pastor Paul was invited to take on the role of Senior Ecumenical Leader as he worked with four local Leonia, NJ congregations (The Presbyterian Church, All Saints Episcopal Church, Leonia United Methodist and Holy Spirit Lutheran Church). In the years following (1972-1977) Rev Thielo took a full time position returing to All Saints Lutheran Church & Long Island Lutheran High School in Brookville, serving as Senior Pastor & Religion Department Head. In 1977 Paul and Family moved to Fairview Park, OH serving as Associate Pastor (1977-1982) at Messiah Lutheran Church. His ministry continued for 22 years at Messiah Lutheran Church taking on the position of Senior Pastor (1982-1999) until retirement in 1999 when he was bestowed the honorary position of Pastor Emeritus at Messiah Church. Upon retirement Pastor continued his ministry taking on responsibilities at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Akron and then serving as Interim Pastor at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Wadsworth, OH.

His contributions were broad and amazingly diverse over the span of his 35+ years of ministry. Supplementing his pastoral career was his involvement in a broad range of church and community undertakings. To highlight a few; • Worked with the Urban League in Portland Oregon • Chairman of the Worship Committee of the English District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod • Chaplain of the Police and Fire Department – Jericho & Brookville Long Island • Organized and coordinated the first Hunger Walk of New Jersey. • Participated at the 1963 Civil Rights ‘March on Washington’. • Avid supporter of Seminex – The Concordia Seminary in Exile in St. Louis. • Produced and Directed the International Walther League Convention at Purdue University. • Hosted a local ecumenical television program. • Produced and Directed several plays for the Lutheran Foundation for Religious Drama • Created numerous filmstrips and multi-media programs for The Lutheran Liturgy • Editor for many articles, newsletters, publications and published sermons • Active as Ecumenical Officer for the Northeastern Ohio Synod ELCA • President and Board Member for the Lutheran Deaconess Association (LDA). • Served on the Fairview Park Master Plan Steering Committee. • Senior committee member to establish the Fairview Park Hunger Center • Liaison between Messiah Church and the National Alliance for the Mentally ill • Initiated the first Parish Nurse Program for the West Shore Ohio region • Advocate for the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries organization in Greater Cleveland. • Key facilitator in the 1990’s Messiah Church new construction program • Worked extensively with designer to develop Phase I of the stunning stained glass windows in the sanctuary and atrium area of Messiah Church. • Served as the ‘Mission 90’ Coordinator for the Northeastern Ohio Synod ELCA. • Established the Messiah Church - Good Shepard ‘Living Memorial’ Fund. • Chairperson for the Pierstorf Memorial College Scholarship Loan Fund. • Enthusiastically involved with the Messiah Church collection of paintings, prints and religious artifacts • Created ‘The Wall of Crosses’ located throughout Messiah Church

Of his many honors Paul was most proud being named the 1990 recipient of the Christian Unity Award from the Interfaith Commission of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland presented by Bishop Anthony Pilla.

Throughout Paul’s life he was an avid collector of religious artwork. In his younger years he enjoyed sculpture, painting and photography taking up most recently watercolors. Paul and his wife Pam are insatiable museum enthusiasts and have a love for travel and the arts. They recently moved to Concordia at Sumner, a retirement community in Copley, OH. Paul truly felt that he had come home. He enthusiastically embraced this new opportunity to continue his ministry among the loving friends he and Pam have made there. His recent endeavor includes an autobiography slated to be published and released in late Spring 2014.

His cherished wife Pamela who has blessed his life in later years survives Paul. Surviving as well are Paul’s devoted immediate and extended family; Linda Pollitz (Ken), David Thielo (Ruth), Laura Gring (David), Christopher Thielo, Craig Fricke and Joy Ellerbruch (Will), as well as his 11 grandchildren; Stephanie, Timothy, Eric, Joel, Angela, Carl, Shane, Kyle, Scott, Carleen and Julia. Included as well are two great grandchildren; Jonah & Raelynn and stepchildren; Todd Meglich, Jason Meglich (Carolyn) and step grandchild; Alex.

A funeral service celebrating Paul’s life will be held at 10:30am, Saturday, March 22, 2014, at Messiah Lutheran Church, 21485 Lorain Road, Fairview Park. The Rev. Dr. Jerome Burce, Rev. Dick Williams and Rev. David Thielo (son) will officiate. The family will receive friends following the service with a light lunch in the Church Fellowship Hall.

Visitation will be held at Messiah Church on Friday, March 21, 2014 between the hours of 4-9pm. Arrangements were made under the direction of Corrigan Craciun Funeral Home, Fairview Park.

A private committal for immediate family will follow after lunch at Sunset Memorial Park, 6265 Columbia Road, North Olmsted.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Paul’s memory may be directed to the following: • Lutheran Deaconess Association – 1304 LaPorte Ave. Valparaiso, IN 46383 • Good Shepard Living Memorial Fund – Messiah Church 21485 Lorain Rd, Fairview Park, OH 44126 • Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries – 4515 Superior Ave. Cleveland, OH 44103

Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Romans 12:12


  • Visitation Friday, March 21, 2014
  • Funeral Service Saturday, March 22, 2014

Rev. Dr. Paul John Thielo

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July 24, 2014

I knew Paul as a fellow pastor on Long Island in the middle to late 60's. He was an impressive man and an inspiration to me ecumenically. I read of his passing in the Concordia Plan Benefits Bulletin and was sad to read his name among the faithfully departed. John G. Carajanes

Tom Hill

March 22, 2014

To Paul's Family, My condolences to you and your family. I certainly enjoyed my early years at Messiah School with Reverend Theilo, as the Pastor. I mostly enjoyed his student messages, when he would use his little puppet to help convey his great messages of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. "The Lord Bless You and Keep You!" Tom Hill

Pr. Ron Morgan

March 22, 2014

Pam & Family,
Paul was a strong influence in my life. He and Pr. Gerald Miller encouraged me to become a Lutheran pastor back in the mid-80's, while my ordination was still with the Church of the Brethren. Paul, Jerry, and Pr. Bert Fry served as a colloquy committee of instructors and advisors in my studies to become Lutheran, something that happily was done in an ordination recognition service at Messiah, in which Paul was the presiding pastor, and laid hands on me. He and Lou Ann were good friends of Jane and me, and I will always appreciate the way he included us in many social events in their home. I thank God for Paul.