Reverend Douglas Dwight Rathgeber

March 09, 1944 - December 20, 2018

Rev. Douglas Rathgeber

Reverend Douglas Dwight Rathgeber, 74, died, December 20, 2018, at home, with his loving wife by his side after a three year battle with cancer. He was born on March 9, 1944, in Wichita Falls, Texas, to Carl and Laverne (Kuehn) Rathgeber. He was baptized into faith on May 21, 1944, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Wichita Falls and later confirmed his faith on March 30, 1958. He graduated from Concordia Boys’ High School in Austin, Texas, in 1962; Concordia Junior College in Austin, Texas, in 1964; Concordia Senior College in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1966; and Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1970.

During his first year at seminary he married Karen Margaret Liermann on December 29, 1966, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Orange, California. Upon graduation from the seminary, he accepted a pastoral call to serve St. John Lutheran Church in Selma, Alabama. In September 1973, he accepted a pastoral call to serve St. John Lutheran Church in Beaumont. He faithfully served the congregation of St. John (Beaumont) for over forty-three years where people knew him as “Pastor”. Throughout his tenure he served as vacancy pastor for the following Lutheran congregations in the area: Redeemer, Beaumont; Grace, Orange; Trinity, Port Arthur; and Hope, Winnie. He served many years as LCMS Circuit Counselor and as an advisor to the Circuit 34 Lutheran Women Missionary League when they hosted the Texas District LWML Convention in 2006. He has also served on various committees and boards, including the Citizens Advisory Board of the Beaumont Police Department.

He enjoyed golfing, hunting, reading, playing cards and dominoes, and watching football.

He is survived by his wife of almost fifty-two years, Karen Liermann Rathgeber; daughter, Wendy Rathgeber of Tokyo, Japan; son, Paul Rathgeber and his wife, Jackie; grandsons, Jack and Charlie of LaVista, Nebraska; brother, Reverend Benjamin Rathgeber and his wife, Lois, of Cleburne, Texas; sister, Priscilla Rathgeber Holz and her husband, Alan, of Springfield, Virginia; and many nieces, nephews, and godchildren.

A gathering of Reverend Rathgeber's family and friends will be from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., Friday, December 28, 2018, at St. John Lutheran Church. His funeral service will be at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, December 29, 2018, at St. John Lutheran Church, 2955 South Major Drive, Beaumont. His interment will follow at Magnolia Cemetery, Beaumont, under the direction of Broussard's, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont.

Memorial donations may be made to St. John Lutheran Church Organ Fund, 2955 South Major Drive, Beaumont, Texas 77707.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14: 6

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9


Gathering of Family and Friends
St. John Lutheran Church
2955 South Major Drive, Beaumont, Texas 77707
Friday, December 28, 2018
5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Funeral Service
St. John Lutheran Church
2955 South Major Drive Beaumont, TX 77707
Saturday, December 29, 2018
10:00 a.m.
Magnolia Cemetery
2291 Pine St Beaumont, TX 77703

Comments (13)

  • Steven Halvorson

    04 March 2019 at 01:41 | #

    Well life goes full circle I guess. Sam would miss you Pastor. He passed away in 2008. I remember you as my first Pastor in Selma, Alabama. Sam and you had a strong friendship over the years. You all offered your home to us for a week I guess when we were heading back to Texas. Your friendship with our family was strong and visiting you in Beaumont was a Welcome to Texas for us. I realized later we were going to your home town and all your family are from Wichita Falls, Texas. Like many families we had our struggles. I looked you all up again in Beaumont and you baptized my son Ryan Halvorson. Thanks for always being a part of our lives in some way. As I write this I'm staying at the Rathgeber House in Wichita Falls. Janet Halvorson, my mom is very sick. Shes struggling right now Pastor. I want to know your your family still provides quarter to those in need. We were blessed to know you and your family. We are still blessed today by the family who continue helping each and every day. We will miss you!! Fond memories are there Pastor. Thanks for everything you did as a friend to my father..and a Pastor to our family.


  • Roseli (Smith) McClure

    01 January 2019 at 20:23 | #

    I just came across this news & I send my deepest condolences to you all. May The Almighty bless you all & keep y’all in such a time as this. All are & have been in my prayers. Shalom Roseli


  • Tanya Buck

    28 December 2018 at 20:16 | #

    I didn't know Reverand Rathgeber but I work with his son. I know the Reverand must have been a good man because Paul is a wonderful person and the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I am praying for the whole family and offer my heartfelt condolences. God Bless


  • NL

    28 December 2018 at 16:51 | #

    My sincere condolences to the family at this difficult time. May you all seek God for comfort, peace, strength and support (2 Cor 1:3).


  • Adeline Amen

    28 December 2018 at 00:06 | #

    Doug was a man of great faith and I remember a difficult time that he helped me through and will always be thankful that I knew this man of great faith. I will be keeping you all in my prayers at this time. Just remember Doug got to celebrate Christmas with the Lord and what a blessing that is for him.


  • Jordon Albers

    27 December 2018 at 21:08 | #

    My condolences to the Rathgeber family. I am sorry for your loss.


  • Karl Knippa

    27 December 2018 at 03:12 | #

    My condolences to the family. Pastor watched me grow up into the man I am today. He baptized and confirmed me. I will always keep and remember the many lessons I learned from him through Sunday school, bible study, and the sermons on Sunday. We had so much fun during youth circuit meetings and trips. My thoughts and prayers to Mrs. Karen, Wendy, Paul and the rest of the Rathgeberfamily.


  • Barbara & Bob Crawley

    24 December 2018 at 19:29 | #

    My thoughts and prayers are with Karen, Wendy & Paul & family..
    Thoughts and prayers are with the family, especially Karen, Wendy and Paul & his family


  • Richard & Beth Skinner

    24 December 2018 at 04:25 | #

    Prayers for all the Rathgeber family, especially our dear friends Paul, Jackie, Jack and Charlie. as they mourn the loss of their father and grandfather


  • Robert and Ollie Erickson

    23 December 2018 at 21:02 | #

    Our condelonces to Karen, Wendy, Paul & the rest of the family. Pastor was a great man & loved by many people. He served his congregation & others in every aspect needed.
    God has truly gained a special angel. RIP Pastor.


  • Bruce and Sandra Blakelock

    23 December 2018 at 15:45 | #

    Prayers for you and your family Karen.


  • Scott and Christine Long

    22 December 2018 at 13:50 | #

    My condolences to all the family, especially Paul, Wendy, and Mrs. Rathgeber.


  • Bill and Mary Fears

    21 December 2018 at 22:04 | #

    We are so sorry for the family. Pastor was such a wonderful friend, pastor, and family man. His patience and willingness to help each and everyone was remarkable. Our prayers and thought are with the family.


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