Reverend Robert "Rob" Dotzel

  • Born: December 28, 1953
  • Died: February 7, 2016
  • Location: Iowa City, Iowa

Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service

2720 Muscatine Avenue
Iowa City, IA 52240
Tel. (319) 338-1132

Tribute & Message From The Family

The Rev. Robert D. Dotzel (Rob) of Iowa City, Iowa, died peacefully at his home on February 7, 2016, with his devoted wife at his side. Rob died after a valiant effort to defeat a virulent form of brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme. He was 62 years of age.

Rob was born on December 28, 1953, in Dubuque, Iowa, to Deneen and Mary Dotzel. A younger brother, Dennis, joined the family in 1959. He attended schools in various communities in Kansas, as the family followed his father's career. He met his future wife, Stephanie, in Salina, Kansas, while doing youth work at Immanuel Lutheran Church during and after college. He graduated from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, with degrees in German, Philosophy, and Religion. He was fluent in German and spent several months in Tutzing, Germany, in 1976. He and Stephanie married on July 22, 1978, at Immanuel Lutheran Church.

In 1978, Rob and Stephanie moved to Columbus, Ohio, where Rob attended Trinity Lutheran Seminary. He received his M.Div. and was ordained in 1982. He was then called to serve as pastor at Faith Lutheran Church in Junction City, Kansas. In 1986, he accepted a call to St. John's Lutheran Church in Des Moines, Iowa, where he served until 1989. While there, Rob and Stephanie welcomed their first child, Krista, in 1986. After that, the family moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where Rob was the pastor at St. Andrew Lutheran Church. While in Cedar Rapids, a second daughter, Rebekah, joined the family in 1990. In 1997, Rob was called to be the Lutheran Campus Pastor at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. He led students on cultural immersions to such places as San Bernardino, California and Nicaragua. He served as an inspiration to his students, many of whom went on to become pastors themselves. In 2008, Rob also became an associate minister at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. During this time, he also taught World Religions at Kirkwood Community College, which he immensely enjoyed. In 2014, Rob was called as Senior Pastor at Gloria Dei, and was installed in July. His tenure there was cut short as a result of his illness and Rob reluctantly resigned his position in May 2015 .

Rob and Stephanie enjoyed many enthralling trips with their daughters over the years, and especially enjoyed traveling to Ireland and later Germany, where Krista attended graduate school. Rob loved to cycle, and frequently spent his spare time bicycling the neighborhood streets of Iowa City or the country roads nearby. He also enjoyed fly fishing in the trout streams of Northern Iowa. He took pleasure in the collegiality of a group of local pastors who became known as the Seven Reverends.

Rob is survived by his wife, Stephanie, of 37 years, and his daughters Krista (Paul Drechsler-Martell) and Rebekah (Adam Olesen). He is also survived by his parents, Deneen and Mary Dotzel of Topeka, Kansas, and by three nieces and a nephew. His brother Dennis predeceased him in 2015. Rob was beloved by many friends, colleagues, students, and parishioners. He touched lives everywhere he went.

A funeral service for Rob will be held on Friday, February 12, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church,123 E. Market St. in Iowa City, IA. A luncheon will be held at the church directly after the service. Visitation will be held at Gay and Ciha Funeral, 2720 Muscatine Avenue. Rob will be interred on Sunday, February 14th, 2016, at Zion Presbyterian Cemetery in Schapville, Illinois, where a commendation service will be held.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Gloria Dei Lutheran Church.