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

gayandciha@gayandciha.com
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.


Services


Condolence & Memory Journal

Good by my dear cousin. How I miss your smile and your giggle. May God watch over your family

Karla Walker Welsh

Posted by Karla Welsh - Sparks, OK   November 11, 2016

Candle

Dear Dotzel Family;

I am so saddened and heartbroken to learn just now of the passing of Rev. Bob. I was overseas during his illness and passing . I worked with Rev. Dotzel on the Board of the Consultation of Religious Communities(CRC) and on other local efforts for several years. He was an inspiration and a rare spirit.
He will be greatly missed. I am so very sorry for your loss and for all of us who had the pleasure of working with and learning from him. Please accept my deepest sympathy and condolences.

Sincerely,
Shams Ghoneim

Posted by Shams Ghoneim - Iowa City, IA - Coworker   April 27, 2016

Bob performed my marriage ceremony at Faith Lutheran in October 1984 and Stephanie played violin. He also baptized our first born. I will always remember his humor, sunny disposition and the way he led our congregation well, he left a lasting legacy at Faith Lutheran. To Stephanie and the girls I am so sorry for your loss. May Gods peace be with you and may he comfort you. Thank you for touching our hearts and lives Pastor Dotzel.

Posted by Alicia Pearson Martindale - Sioux City, IA - Friend   February 15, 2016

Pastor Dotzel performed my marriage ceremony at Faith Lutheran in October 1984 and Stephanie played violin. He also baptized our first born. I will always remember his humor, sunny disposition and the way he led our congregation well, he left a lasting legacy at Faith Lutheran. Thank you for touching our hearts Pastor Dotzel.

Posted by Alicia Pearson Martindale - Sioux City, IA - Friend   February 15, 2016

Dr. Dotzel was truly a man of God. I was fortunate enough to be in one of his World Religion classes at Kirkwood. That was six years ago but since taking his class I have frequently recalled his words and teachings on the subject of religion and the issue of spirituality and the meaning of faith. I was struggling with my faith then. Dr. Robert encouraged me ( and all his students) to embrace the doubt and to question our faith as it was part of our human experience and would provide opportunity for each of us to learn and to strengthen our faith through new perspective and provide affirmation of who and what God is in our lives. Dr. Robert taught us to learn from those of different faiths. Without his wisdom I may not have had the respect and consideration for the preciousness of those faiths.

Thank you, Dr. Dotzel! I am blessed to have known you. I wish I could tell you how important those teachings were to me and how they've helped me in my walk of faith. My heart prays for comfort and peace for his family. I know how important they were to Dr. Robert. In our faith God can and will do great things to strengthen us!

Posted by Adam Doscher - Iowa City, IA - Student   February 14, 2016

Hi Stephanie, you have my prayers this day for strength. May you and your daughters be uplifted by the presence of all those attending Bob's celebration of life service, and by those of us attending in Spirit. I pray you will be comforted with the real presence of Jesus the living Christ, and by the knowledge that Bob has found eternal peace in the arms of Christ.

Serving as Associate Pastors at St. John's made for a remarkable first call. I will forever remain grateful for his ministry partnership during those years. Rest in God's eternal peace, my friend.

Pastor Mary Nesmith

Posted by Mary - Boynton Beach, FL - Coworker   February 12, 2016

Rob will be missed in so many ways by all the people who knew him. He was a magnificent, gentle, caring human being whose wisdom and intellect set him apart as a gifted spiritual leader and person. We will always remember him for being a guiding light who set the example of how a good life can be led. Our sincere condolences go out to Stephanie and all of Rob's family, friends, and colleagues.

Posted by Michael and Diane Sondergard - Iowa City, IA   February 12, 2016

I have such fond memories of Pastor Bob from his time at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids, IA. From the youth group and bell choir activities and trips to the everyday church activities. I remember taking violin lessons from Stephanie and even babysitting their girls on a few occasions. My sincerest condolences during this time and thoughts and prayers for his family.

Posted by Beth (Franzman) Sigmund - Cedar Rapids, IA - Friend   February 12, 2016

Candle

Posted by Lucy - Iowa city, IA   February 11, 2016

Cathy and I would like to extend our condolences to Robert's family. We are their neighbor, and always enjoyed chatting with Bob when working outside. He was an excellent neighbor, always friendly and interesting to talk to.
Gary Kellogg

Posted by Gary Kellogg - Iowa City, IA - Neighbor   February 11, 2016

I worked with Rob's eldest daughter, Krista, in college. Through her I met Rob and Stephanie. They welcomed me into their home with open arms. I loved going over for a family dinner as it was one of the things I missed the most after moving away from my hometown. Rob was funny and sweet with an enviable lust for life. One of my favorite memories was coming over for"squwatch dogs," a hot dog dish that Krista had encountered in her adventures on the east coast. It wasn't a fancy or even very good dish, but we had a ton of fun that evening.

Posted by Allison H Donnaell - Iowa city, IA   February 11, 2016

Stephanie,

Karen and I extend our deepest sympathies to you and your family. Rob was a great colleague to work with; always with a smile, passionate about ministry, so supportive of me and my moving towards ordination. As I move into ordained ministry and think about the joy that can be found in this calling, it will be his smile I see in my head and his laughter that I hear. I am so grateful for having had a chance to know him and work alongside him. Karen and I will continue to keep all of you in our prayers in the weeks and months ahead.

God's Blessings,

Brian and Karen Middleswarth

Posted by Brian Middleswarth - Iowa City, IA - Coworker   February 11, 2016

Rob was one of the best persons I have met on this earth. In an era when no podcasts were in existence, I would attend multiple services to listen to his sermons again and again. I don't recall a time that he ever used notes and every sermon felt as if he were talking directly to you. A great pastor. When he followed his calling to IC, there was a real void in our spiritual life. It truly seems like yesterday that he baptized our youngest son, Eric on Christmas Eve, 21 years ago.
To Rob's family, we are sorry for your loss. Blessings, Joe, Sharon, Tyler, Adam and Eric.

Posted by Joe and Sharon Bertroche - Cedar Rapids, IA - Friend   February 11, 2016

Remembering him fondly here at St. John's Des Moines.

Posted by evelyn davis - Des Moines, IA   February 10, 2016

Rob was a long time cherished colleague in the Lutheran Ministry. I am sad to read of his death. There are few better than he. As pastor, chaplain, leader mentor and friend he touched and influenced many lives, including mine. May he rest in peace!

Posted by Terry Slinde - Clive, IA   February 10, 2016

Dear Stephanie and family,
I was so saddened to hear of the death of your dear husband and father from my sister Karen and my Mom Diane Ekstam. Pastor Rob was so courageous in the way that he handled his journey with this advanced illness. I will always remember his love and support of my Dad during his illness as well as the support that he gave to me and my family. I will continue to pray for healing, comfort, and strength at this most difficult time and in the days to come.

With all my love,
Mary Helen Ekstam

Posted by Mary Helen Ekstam - Naperville, IL - Friend   February 10, 2016

I took a class with Rob while attending Kirkwood. He was such a great instructor as well as a great person. May you rest with God Rob! Thanks for all your work!

Posted by CR    February 10, 2016

I remember Bob and Stephanie from St. John's in Des Moines. I was in Cathedral Choir with Stephanie and my children were young at the time. It was always a pleasure to hear Bob speak at services; he was always so happy. It was sad when they left, however, I am sure they were fulfilled with their ministry in Iowa City. I hope that Stephanie and their family will find strength and peace in Bob's love and memory.

Posted by Sue Bartik (formerly Whitehead) - Urbandale, IA - Acquaintance   February 10, 2016

Stephanie,

I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Please know that you and your family are, and shall remain, in my prayers.

Posted by Myron McReynolds - Coworker   February 10, 2016

Stephanie, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Rob. My thoughts are with you and your daughters. Sincerely, Pam

Posted by Pam Ehly - Iowa City, IA - Friend   February 10, 2016

I am so sorry to read of Rob's passing--it was only 2 months ago we were enjoying the Norwegian dinner together at Christ the King church. You two are special people!!

Posted by Helen Ringgenberg - Iowa City, IA - Friend   February 10, 2016

Pastor Rob was my campus pastor and my friend. He generously gave me a home for 2 years in the Lutheran Campus Ministry (Christus House) during a tough time in my life. He had a joyous, genuine presence, and his laughter echoed throughout Christus House. Pastor Rob taught me by example how to believe and live boldly in God's grace.

In an email exchange from May 2014, Pastor Rob shared with me his sincere excitement for his ever-changing, growing calling:
"I am excited about the call to Gloria Dei. Over the years I have come to love this congregation and its wonderful people. The best part is that I don't have to leave Iowa City or really say good-bye to my LCM friends, because I will still be involved from my office across the parking lot. The Campus Council is meeting to consider what LCM can afford for staffing in the future. It may be that we will continue the staff sharing arrangement with Gloria Dei, with me as Senior Pastor and a new person at LCM. I have high hopes for the future of both ministries!"

He shared the love of God with each of us, and we loved him dearly.
Saying goodbye is hard for us, too, so I'll cherish the memories that I shared with him.
Rest in Peace, Pastor Rob

Posted by Roger Davis - East Lansing, MI - Friend   February 10, 2016

Kirkwood Community College in Iowa City sends our deepest sympathies. Rob was a great instructor who regularly filled his classes here. He was well respected and popular with students.

Posted by Dr. Ann Valentine - Iowa City, IA - Coworker   February 10, 2016

I knew 'Bob' when I was a 4 year old member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Salina, KS. He and Pastor Gustafson used to visit with the Four Wonders Preschool class on a weekly basis. As my parents served as the janitors at Immanuel at the time, my brother and I were often at the church during 'off' hours, and Bob was always up for a game of tag or tossing a ball with us in the courtyard at the church. I also remember when he married Stephanie (Block), and I have a wonderful picture of us on his last day in Jeanine's office. He was always so full of happiness and ready for an adventure. My sincerest condolences. Ruth Ann Grittman

Posted by Ruth Ann Zimmer - Hays, KS - Friend   February 10, 2016

I became a Lutheran because of Pastor Rob and his amazing gift for ministry. I was also blessed to play music with his wife and daughter. He will forever be a role model to me for a true Christian and a wonderful human being. I know he is smiling down from heaven as we remember all of his gifts to the world.

Posted by Liz King Ziemann - Vernon Hills, IL - Friend   February 09, 2016

I am sorry Mrs. Dotzel for your lost... NWJH orchestra

Posted by Bukiwa A - Iowa City, IA - Student   February 09, 2016

My memories of pastor Rob come from st johns:Lutheran in des Moines is. He always had the best personality and a very good pastor. My. Condo land ances to Stephnie and family

Posted by barb espelund balster - des moines, IA - Friend   February 09, 2016

Leave a condolence or a memory.

Posted by barbespelund balster - des moines, IA - Friend   February 09, 2016

Stephanie and Family I'm so sorry for your loss. I came to know Pastor Rob when he was working at campus ministries and when he became pastor at Gloria Dei Lutheran church. It was a privilege to know Pastor Rob as Friend and c-worker. Rob you will be missed.

Sincerely,
Richard Madden

Posted by Richard Madden - Iowa city, IA - Friend   February 09, 2016

Stephanie and family,
Oh how much I loved and respected Rob. Ron and I are deeply saddened by his passing. Our hearts go out to all of you. You have been on a journey with your husband and father, and I pray for peace for all of you.
He touched so many lives, and truly lived a life of service and faithfulness to his faith. That warm smile, his sense of humor, what a great man he was and is!
Rob and I worked together at LCM, and he was always a joy to be around, and Ron and I were always touched and inspired by his sermons when we attended services at Lutheran Campus Ministry.
Bless you all.
Sharon and Ron Hanson

Posted by Sharon Hanson - Coralville, IA - Friend   February 09, 2016

Paul and I send our sincere condolences at this sad time. You are in our thoughts.

Posted by Valerie McNally - Iowa City, IA - Friend   February 09, 2016

Rob (at the time, Bob to me) and I met when he was a sophomore and I, a freshman at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas. We enjoyed each other's company a great deal; especially him teaching me German sayings and me rephrasing them with a hillbilly accent. I was from Missouri.

Bob typified being like Christ. He was such a wonderful, gentle soul. I had lost contact with him when he transferred to another college but his spirit has remained with me to this day.

Gobs of blessings to Bob's family. My thoughts are with you as you prepare to lay him to rest.

Posted by Jon Zehnder - Lindsborg, KS - Friend   February 09, 2016

I just really felt moved to want to say something. Unfortunately, unlike a lot of people that will pass this by and mention knowing him in some way, I did not have the honor or privilege of knowing Reverend Dotzel before he went home to be with our Lord. I do know the Zierath family by means of my girlfriend, Jenny Zierath, and I know how high she spoke of him and how fond of him the whole family has been. I know from just those 2 facts that this was a man I would have loved to get to know and listen to. I know that, from what I have heard, Reverend Dotzel was a true man of God, and he loved everyone inside and outside of the church. And just from these little pieces of knowledge Jenny has shared with me about him, I cannot wait to meet him when God calls me home. I want to send my condolences to the Dotzel family and let them know I will be praying for them daily. Much love and prayers!
"Be strong and take courage; do not fear nor be dismayed! For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go!", Joshua 1:9

Posted by Joey Gilbert - New York City, NY   February 09, 2016

Prayers and blessing to Rob's loving family.

Posted by Cathy Divine-Koch - ames, IA - Friend   February 08, 2016

Rob was an important figure in my life especially during the time of Karl's illness and passing. I'm so sad to hear of his passing. Prayers and God's peace to his living family.

Posted by Cathy Divine-Koch - ames, IA - Friend   February 08, 2016

Pastor Rob was a wonderful mentor and pastor, and it was a privilege to get to know him both as the Lutheran Campus Minister and as Pastor at Gloria Dei in Iowa City. He was always kind and generous, welcoming, and supportive, and I greatly appreciated his presence and leadership. I am so sorry to hear of his illness and passing. He was a blessing to so many, including myself.

Posted by Jonathon Struve - Decorah, IA   February 08, 2016

Rob and I were campus pastors at the same time (he in Iowa city and I in Fargo, North Dakota) and saw each other at various campus ministry events in the late '90's.
When George Forell, my Ph.D. advisor at Iowa died in 2011, his funeral was at Gloria Dei in Iowa City. I was asked to preach (quite an honor, I must say) and showed up without any dress shoes. Rob lent me a pair of his. Afterwards, I thanked him and off-handedly said something about how comfortable they were. He responded immediately, "I'm glad you like them they're yours. Take them with you." I did. And gratefully wore them for years.

Peace of Christ be with you all,
Bill

Posted by Bill Russell - Minneapolis, MN - Friend   February 08, 2016

When my daughter left Texas for Iowa to attend college, I prayed fervently for angels to watch over her. My prayers were answered the day she walked into the youth ministry and met Robert Dotzel. He and his family nurtured her, guided her, and a few times, kept her in their home when I could not come from Texas or have the money to bring her home. The Dotzels were and still are amazing examples of Christ on Earth. I am so terribly saddened by his death. But I know angels in heaven are rejoicing.

Posted by Marcia Smith - Fairfield Bay, AR - Friend   February 08, 2016

I am so sorry to hear that Pastor Rob has passed away. Stephanie, you will remember being in Junction City, Kansas in 1983 and how much you and Rob's friendship meant to me! I was so honored when he came to my 25th Anniversary of ordination in Salina, Kansas in 2006! God bless him and you and your family. You will be in my thoughts and prayers!

Posted by Rev, Robert Schneider - Largo, FL - Family   February 08, 2016

Rob has ministered so faithfully, so wisely and so well. In him people have seen Christ Jesus. I will miss him very much.

Posted by Norma Cook Everist - Dubuque, IA - Teacher   February 08, 2016

Dear Stephanie and family,

I am so sorry to hear about Pastor Rob's passing. I have very fond memories of attending Lutheran Campus Ministries at U of I back in the early 2000s, and enjoying Pastor Rob's energizing, positive, joyful sermons. I appreciated how welcoming he was to my college chamber group, the Ariel String Quartet (with Liz King-Ziemann, Bjorg Larson, Carrie Beaderstadt). He let us play hymns and preludes at church very often.

My thoughts and prayers are with you all in this time of tremendous loss and sadness.

Love,
Marji Gere

Posted by Marjorie Gere - Somerville, MA - Friend   February 08, 2016

I'm so sorry for your loss, Stephanie. Please know that people of St. Andrew Lutheran Church are praying for you and your family. Let us know if you need anything.

Peace and blessings.
from the people of St. Andrew

Posted by Rev. Zachary Johnson - Cedar Rapids, IA - Coworker   February 08, 2016


Family Album

Pastor Rob and U of Iowa Lutheran Campus Ministry students in May 2009. Pastor Rob led a goodbye service together before we each moved on to new adventures. Thank you for sharing the grace, peace, and love of God with us, Pastor Rob.

Family Album