Rev. Galen C. Call
April 24, 1945 – July 25, 2020
If one word had to be chosen to capture the essence of Pastor Galen Call, it would be shepherd. He led and cared for his family and friends with tender compassion and sure-footed guidance. And he would surely credit the fact that he faithfully followed in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd all his life - the same Jesus he now sees face to face. After a short and sudden illness, Pastor Call went home to be with God on July 25, 2020, at the age of 75.
Galen came into the world on a spring day in northeast Kansas on April 24, 1945, the firstborn of Grace and Leo Call. Brothers Steve and John and sister Susan were added to the family in short order. Their earliest days were simple and rustic, fitting of a rural farm family of the time - filled with extended family dinners on Sundays, farm chores before dawn. They had no indoor bathroom in their house, and all the kids attended a one-room country schoolhouse. A few times, Galen even rode his horse to school, although he didn’t think it was fair to have the horse tied up all day, waiting for him to get done.
Life forever changed when Galen was eight. He was riding in the farm truck with his father when Leo clutched his chest and died of a heart attack. Galen became the man of the family, and his household became the exception in his community: a farm and family run by a single mother. Grace went to work at the IGA in town and Galen and his siblings helped run the farm. Despite the hardship, he always remembered it as a generally happy time and credited his mother with hiding the stress and sorrow from her children as best she could. By the time Galen was in high school, Grace remarried. John Duffield was a kind and gentle presence in their family, and sister Lori completed their sibling group in 1961. Grace and Galen remained close until her untimely death at the age of 66, also of a heart attack.
The Calls attended Calvary Baptist Church in Valley Falls, which is where Galen first felt a tug toward ministry. After graduating high school, he attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago - a school he loved his entire life. He finished his bachelor’s degree at Grand Rapids Baptist College, and shortly received a call to become assistant pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Covington, Kentucky, under Pastor Warren Wiersbe.
One of the duties of the assistant pastor of Calvary was to step into the pulpit at neighboring Baptist churches when their pastor took a break. And that is how Galen first laid eyes on Jeannette Eggleston, the daughter of Pastor Harmon Eggleston. As the story goes, Galen came to Highland Baptist Tabernacle one Sunday evening to fill in for Pastor Eggleston. Seated in the very middle of the choir behind the pulpit was a dazzling young woman - who was immediately elbowed by her choirmates on both sides. Galen was attractive and charming, and self-proclaimed matchmakers were already wondering if the stars would align. They did. Galen and Jeannette began dating. He proposed in May 1970, and they were married at Calvary Baptist Church on October 24 of that same year.
Galen and Jeannette lived in a parsonage across the street from the church. He often recalled it as a happy and hopeful time. Warren Wiersbe was one of the finest expository preachers of the day, and he became a close friend and mentor. When Pastor Wiersbe was called to Moody Church, the congregation at Calvary voted to call Galen to be their new senior pastor - on the same night that his first child, Kelly, was born in January of 1972. He often laughed about that and said it probably helped the vote go in his favor.
Two more children joined the family during their time in Northern Kentucky - Michael, born in 1975, and Emily, born in 1978. Those were busy years. Galen was energized by his work at Calvary - founding a Christian school nearby, starting an inner-city ministry and expanding the church’s foreigh missions focus, revealing his deep love for missionary work. But he was also burning out, and later in life, he said he wished he’d focused more on his young family during those years.
In 1979, Galen accepted a call to become pastor of a small Baptist church in Richardson, Texas. But it was a disastrous move - something Jeannette predicted, which he humbly admitted the rest of his life. Within a year, Galen resigned and experienced his first dark night of the soul. Redemption came when Edina Baptist Church called him to be the founding pastor of a new church they wanted to plant in Roseville, Minnesota. The Calls moved to the Twin Cities in January of 1981. It was cold, dark and snowy - but the church welcomed them warmly, and Galen and Jeannette knew they were home.
A fourth child, Jonathan, was born in 1982, and Galen was busy building Grace Church Roseville, where he was pastor for 19 years. Under his leadership, both church and his family grew. Galen loved being a dad - except for maybe a few days during his kids’ teenage years. He treasured being together. He loved to joke and to tease around the dinner table. He read books to the kids at night. True vacations were rare, but the Calls visited Jeannette’s family in Kentucky and Galen’s family in Kansas every summer. He earned a master's degree in pastoral leadership from Moody Graduate School, “cramming a seven-year program into nine years,” he often laughed.
In 1999, Galen accepted the position of senior pastor at Los Gatos Christian Church near San Jose, California. During his tenure, the church regained health and eventually decided to merge with another church it had planted in the 1980s. It became Venture Christian Church, and after two years, a new senior pastor was called for the combined congregations. Galen resigned, per the merger agreement, satisfied that he has helped the Lord set the church back on firm ground.
After 40 years of pastoral ministry, Galen and Jeannette moved to Colorado Springs in 2009, and it was there that Galen finally fulfilled his wish of becoming a missionary. Together, he and Jeannette served with Barnabas International, providing pastoral care and encouragement to missionaries, their families and other international leaders - mostly in the areas of Central Asia and Spain.
In 2015, Galen and Jeannette moved back to Minnesota. Only the lure of grandchildren could entice Galen to return back to the land of winter. But it was worth it. His final five years were filled with the joys of family. He adored his 14 grandchildren and lived for those big family gatherings. It was during this time that Jeannette was diagnosed with dementia, and while it was a heavy blow for both of them, Galen found it an honor to care for and serve his life-long love.
Those are the details of what Galen did during his time here on earth. But part of the reason we mourn him today is because of who he was.
He was a man of God. It’s hard to picture Pastor Galen without a Bible in his hands. He was a student of the Bible and a communicator of its truth. But more than that, he was a pastor who cared for his flock. Since his death, hundreds of people have said, “He was a hero of the faith to me.” Or simply, “I never knew someone so Christ-like.” He had a knack for listening and asking just the right questions. His warm brown eyes invited others to be reflective and honest, which led many to pour out their hearts to him, and he in turn would lift them right up to the Father.
Physically, he was imposing. People often remarked on his big hands, which he would clasp around others as he stood by the church door on Sundays. But in stature, he was gentle. He rarely raised his voice except to sing his favorite hymns.
He loved this country and had strong political convictions - which all his Facebook friends know well. His patriotism was rooted in his belief that America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and he was proud that his family roots could be traced back to the Revolutionary War. If he had been present at the original Boston Tea Party, we are sure he would have been there, throwing tea into the harbor.
Galen read maps for fun. You could often find an atlas on his bedside table. He never lost his sense of direction - “just go north after you get to the stoplight” - fitting of any country boy worth his weight. He treasured a drive on the back road - be it in the prairies, the mountains, or through the lakes and forests. He loved a good storm and was known to go outside when the tornado sirens went off, instead of retreating to the basement. He was fascinated by planes of all sorts, and he was always thrilled to travel, be it to Israel, Turkey, Ireland or Spain.
But more than anything, Galen found joy in his family and friends. Loving well the people he loved - that was his hobby. In Genesis, the patriarch Jacob blesses Joseph’s sons by saying,”God has been my shepherd all the days of my life to this day.” That was true for Galen. It is true for those of us who called Galen our shepherd too. His memory is a blessing, and while we miss him, we know we will see him again.
Friday, July 31, 2020
Saturday, August 1, 2020
Rev. Galen C. Call
August 10, 2020
My husband and I started attending Grace Church Roseville in June, 1987 after we moved to Roseville, Minnesota. About 3 months later, Pastor Call phoned and asked if we would start a Name Tag Ministry. After the ministry was started, we noticed that Pastor Call had gotten out of the habit of wearing his name tag, so we made another one. I didn't know where the lights were in the sanctuary, so I crawled on my hands and knees to the pulpit to leave the new name tag with a note for Pastor Call. He later had a great laugh when he heard this story and was much better at wearing his name tag!
We are grateful for his ministry to our family, especially when he baptized our oldest daughter, Jen, on 1/10/1988 and prayed for our youngest daughter, Colleen, when I was having a difficult pregnancy and dedicated her later in 1988. Our son, Chris, told us some years later that he accepted Christ during one of Pastor Call's sermons.
We were sad that we were out of town and could not attend Pastor Call's Memorial Service.
Allen & Kathy Steppa
August 10, 2020
My deepest condolences to Galen’s family. He will be remembered by me for being a strong inspiration as someone who helped lead his family when needed. I always thought of him as a strong older brother who took up the responsibility thrust upon him and the rest of the family at too young an age. His career in Ministry was a choice many benefited from over his life time. I knew him mostly as a young man, but his life story is an inspiration and I am proud to have known him.
Paul and Maribeth Niager
August 10, 2020
Maribeth and I worked with Galen and Jeanette in Barnabas International. The word that comes to mind when I think of Galen is, “Gentleman”. Galen was such an example to me of being a man who is gentle, thoughtful, kind and yet clear, willing to speak Truth and a man of conviction. I remember Galen being so supportive of Maribeth and I when we were on the Leadership Team with Barnabas. He encouraged us in our role, he reached out to Maribeth and I upon occasion and simply cared for us. When he and Jeanette came to Florida each year they would reach out and see if we might be available for a meal....He was a man among men. I was honored to be counted among his friends. He loved us and many others so well. Jeanette, we love you dear friend and are so grateful that you have family who will so intentionally tend to you and your needs. While I don’t know your children, I know enough about them to know that they exude many of their father’s values, one of which is to be attentive to people. He was to us and I KNOW he so desired to care for you well, Jeanette. He both spoke of his love for you and he modeled very well what it means to be a Godly husband. You are missed my friend but you are Home....
August 1, 2020
Dave and I want you to know we were moving our daughter and son-in-law so could not be present for reviewal or service. However we both learned so much from Galen. He was a wonderful teaching pastor. While we are happy he is with the Lord he loved, our hearts feel for the loss of the entire Call family. Our prayers are for your comfort and a sense of the love that surrounds you.
August 1, 2020
You will be truly missed Galen. You were always such a loving, caring and compassionate person who had a true love for the Lord. We found out my husband had cancer at the age of 47 and went home to be with the Lord at 49. My husband grew so close to the Lord the last few years of his life because of Galen. My husband wanted to be baptized, but only wanted to be immediate family there and Galen respected my husband’s wishes and did a wonderful baptizum for him. May you Rest In Peace with our Lord Jesus.
August 1, 2020
My memories go back to Valley Falls when my dad (Lowell Bush) pastored Calvary Baptist. I have such find memories of their farm and especially Easter sunrise services out in the field with the smell of bacon and eggs for Easter breakfast! Over the years, our family has kept in touch and it's been a blessing to follow his ministry! Such a humble, loving, godly man. I loved his Facebook posts! He's walking with His Savior, and we will join him one-day!
Mary (Tichenor) Shipps
August 1, 2020
We were neighbors, attended the same School and church while growing up, and good friends. The Call boys were friends and like brothers to my all girl family. Such fun and great memories. Grace, Galen’s mom was like a second mother to me. So thankful to have known Galen and to see stories of how
God has used him through the years. May
God bless you his family and give you comfort and peace.
July 31, 2020
Dear Jeannette, Kelly, Michael, Emily, Jonathan, and your families,
Our time ministering with Galen, your husband/father/father-in-law/grandfather, and the rest of the pastoral staff (Dave, John, Mark, Herb, Paul, and Joe) at Grace Church Roseville was a highpoint of our lives. It was a blessing, privilege, and pleasure to know all of you and to work with scores of Grace Church people, which is reflective of the godly man, spiritual leader, and gifted preacher Galen was. On a more-personal note, he never could understand why his hair was turning lighter while mine remained dark, although I am less than a year younger. His homegoing was a shock, but how grateful we are that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (which is far better)—and then there is the promise that a grand reunion awaits us (1 Th 4:13-18). Praying for you, Paul and Sandy Bartlett, Christy, Heather, and Gretchen
David K. & Joyce Johnson
July 31, 2020
With our sympathy, we are continuing to pray for all of you. "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death if His godly ones" (Psalm 116:15).
July 30, 2020
It is not often that words escape me, however this news of Galen’s passing and going to be with the God and Savior he preached and loved for so many decades has left me breathless! My mom and dad adored Galen and Jeanette. Galen lovingly conducted both of their memorial services. Many years ago when I was in MN I met with Galen in his temporary study while Grace Roseville was under construction. It was a cold Monday. For many years I thought I was saved. I wasn’t! He led me through Scripture, I remember his large hands paging.through his Bible. He prayed, I prayed and I received Christ. Through the years whether it was in Los Gatos or back in Woodbury, we talked or emailed often. I loved Galen and Jeanette. Last August the entire Call family had a reunion at Trout Lake Camp. Galen sent me photos daily of their family antics and fun.
I had spine surgery here in VA on June 30. We prayed on the phone and he wrote an encouraging and sweet humorous email everyday. I was looking forward to spending time with Galen and Jeanette on an upcoming trip to Minnesota. One of his last emails He sent to me ended as only Galen knew how: “ Even so, come, Lord Jesus. That is my prayer.”
I am still in unbelief and was unaware I still had so many tears to shed. I would love to be in MN this weekend. I would not be writing this note were it not for Galen and Jeanette’s love, care, and concern for this lost sinner.
Farewell my faithful and Godly wingman. A glorious reunion awaits Us in Glory!
Kathy (Wagner) Hopwood
July 30, 2020
So sorry to hear of Galen's passing. I remember him as a rock of a pastor- showing by example how to walk with God. His smile and laugh were infectious! Galen was compassionate and treated everyone with gracious dignity. He taught us to look for God's everyday work and presence in our lives. The story of the butterfly that stayed on his car antenna all the way home for his mom's funeral was just one example. He's remembered with joy!
Kathy (Wagner) Hopwood
Kelli "Mattson" Hildebrandt
July 30, 2020
I don't remember Pastor Galen Call very well as I was still young when he pastored Grace Church but I sure was impacted by the church he planted. For that I am forever grateful for his ministry & his choosing to follow the Lord.
Tom and Darlene Tibbetts
July 29, 2020
Dear Call family,
We met your dad and mom last year, when they visited, and woshipped at Woodbury Lutheran Church. It didn't take long to find we had much in common!! We enjoyed your wonderful, Godly dad's humor, politics, and most of all, his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We wept, when we learned of his passing, but rejoice knowing he is with his Lord, and we will see him again. May the Lord bless, comfort, and tenderly hold you, as you grieve. With our love, in Christ, Tom and Darlene Tibbetts
July 29, 2020
My family and I started going to Grace Church when they were meeting at Northwestern College.
I was in about first grade done. We continued to to go well into High School.
I also went to New Life Academy with his children for a brief amount of time.
I remember listening to Galen speak and taking notes because the Sunday school teacher encouraged it.
I remember shaking Galen hand as we would leave the service. His large hand just engulf my little child hand. As a child he seemed so warm and compassionate. It was an early image of what Christ may look like.
I have very fond memories of Grace Church as a whole. Running around the youth houses next door. Going to Awana.
One of my favorite memories from Grace Church was the Sunday night singing services. They would take audience request and we would all sing as a group. I continually requested The Wonderful Grace of Jesus. I love how it sounded as a church everyone singing in a round sort-of. That song was encouraging as a child.
Fast forward 25 years. I was going through my divorce and I instantly thought of Galen. We texted back and forth a little bit and he was an encouragement during such a dark time of my life.
He was one of my Facebook friends that I truly looked forward to his posts. He had a good sense of humor. He was strong in his convictions but never condemning or belittling to people with different viewpoints.
My prayers go out for the entire Call family. You have lost a father and a husband and we have lost a truly great example and voice for Christ.
July 29, 2020
Thank you for posting about your dad. I will keep your family in my prayers.
Your dad led me to the Lord on Palm Sunday, April 15, 1984, and baptized me in the lake in September 1984. Grace Church was holding services at Northwestern College at the time.
Your dad and I communicated through private and public facebook so I could thank him for how he impacted my life by leading me to Christ. We also FB chatted about your beautiful mom. I lost both parents to Alzheimer's.
So I mourn for your family ... for the loss of a great man of God, father, and friend. For how much your dad sought God so he could be strong for your mom as he cared for her during Alzheimer's.
I'll miss his corny jokes.
But I'll forever be grateful. I'm a life that was changed eternally because he served the Lord.
I'm in Arkansas now after caregiving for my mom. Otherwise, I would come to his service.
My prayers for you, your family, and especially your mom. I know her, and your, courageous and confusing Alzheimer's journey ahead, and praise God that He shared your dad with the world.
John and Judy Rodman
July 28, 2020
Our connection to your family goes back to Galen’s mom and my mom as classmates at Meriden in the 1930’s, which we discovered when my mother recognized Grace when she attended John’s and my baptism at Calvary Baptist Church in Valley Falls in 1975. We came to love and respect Grace and John and all five of their children whom we met and/or fellowshipped with since that time, including many years when Susan and I worked together, when we comforted each other in the times of the passing of my dad and her mother. We were blessed to cheer on Lori in her high school basketball career, into college at Cedarville, her work in KC and her marriage. By extension, we felt so close to Galen, John and Steve and their families, and enjoyed the several times that we attended services where Galen preached or spoke. He was a beloved son and faithful servant. We send our deep sympathies.