Eulogy on Behalf of Friends

by Ty Miles

Dear family and friends of Miriam Elizabeth Stuenkel Hoelter,

First, Mark, let me say what a wonderful example you and your family have been to all of us in your support, patience, Christian love and care of Miriam over these years. It is a beautiful blessing you have shared with us all.

We have been very blessed to have Miriam in our lives. There are a number of words that characterize Miriam, and I’d like to share them with you, and let you, from your experience with Miriam, fill in how they fit her so well.

At the top of the list, she was Christ centered. Her life was centered in Christ. Her life was anchored, grounded, in her faith in Jesus Christ, the faith of her baptism. And out of that faith came a life of Confession and Communion. She knew her sins and shortcomings, she was humble of spirit, she knew her Savior and His love for her and for all the world.

Her life in Christ is characterized by

Church-woman: Miriam was active in women’s ministry here at Trinity, especially in the Dorcas Society, in Lutheran Women in Mission also known as LWML, the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League; she was committed to women in ministry; she was on the Seminary Interview Committee of the Northwest District, the chair of that committee at the time of her passing; Miriam was the first woman elected to the Board of Regents of a seminary of The Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod, Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on which she served for eight years; she was a leader in the Church and was able to continue in ministry which often is not easy because those who work in the Church often see the ugly part, things that are not what they should be, what the Lord intended, the church is so very human, Miriam was a good example to others cheerful confident committed courageous consistent Others can have these characteristics, but when they are centered in Christ, there is an added depth and dimension. Miriam had that.

There is another word … cancer. Miriam was determined that cancer would not define her, and it didn’t; these other characteristics did. In this Miriam conquered, she was a champion in the struggle.

A passage that can sum up these last years for Miriam, that fits Miriam, is from Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” - For-ever.

They tell me there is a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Washington D.C. with the inscription, “My life is my legacy.” We can say the same about Miriam and even more. For Miriam we could say, “My life lived in Christ is my legacy.”

Thanks be to God! Thanks be to God for Miriam! The Lord bless you all!

Family Friend Pastor Ty Miles
Zion Lutheran Church, Portland, OR