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A Son Pays Tribute to a Christian Mother

Author
Category Articles
Date August 16, 2002

A SON PAYS TRIBUTE TO A CHRISTIAN MOTHER

Mrs. Louise Otten, the mother of Walter Otten, the editor of the Lutheran weekly newspaper, “Christian News,” died in her 92nd year on June 25. Her son has written this tribute to his mother in the Christian News, and so opens a window on evangelical Lutheranism in the USA in the last century.

Walter says that although this article uses “Louise,” her children never called her by her first name. It was always “Mom.” She taught her children never to call uncles and aunts by their first name. In fact, children were never ever to call older close friends of the family by their first name. It was generally “uncle” or “tante” (aunt).

Louise was born near Zeven, Germany. Her father, Dietrich Tibke, worked in the post office. He was almost killed as a soldier during WWI. Both her father and mother were pious Christians who regularly conducted home devotions and faithfully attended church. Her mother, Engelken Ehlen, was almost imprisoned when she refused to greet a prominent Nazi in Zeven with a “Heil Hitler.” She said she had only one Heiland (Savior) and that was Jesus Christ.

Louise Tibke came to America when she was 16. She lived with the John Baden family and their nine children in Independence, Kansas. The Badens were instrumental in founding St. John’s College, Winfield, Kansas, one of the schools of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod. In that home she become acquainted with Herman Otten.

Herman Otten was also born in East Prussia. His father was a pastor in an independent Lutheran Free Church in Sottrum about 2

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