Pastor Lopahs of St. Paul's Lutheran Church retiring after 28 years of service

Sean Ellertson
Pastor Martin Lopahs

After 45 years of serving in the Wisconsin Synod, including 28 years at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Pastor Martin Lopahs is retiring at the end of June.

Lopahs was born and raised in Cicero, Illinois, and graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 1975.

Lopahs served St John’s Lutheran Church in Hancock from 1975 – 1984, Redeemer Lutheran Church in Florissant, Missouri from 1984-1992, and has served at St Paul’s since 1992.

In their time in St. James, the community has come to know the Lopahs'. Pastor Lopahs' wife, Mary, worked at First National Bank for a number of years. Their eldest daughter, Debby, graduated from St James Senior High School and now lives in


Their son Andy also graduated from St. James and went on to become a meteorologist on KEYC.TV. Daughter Nancy graduated from Luther Prep School in Watertown, WI, and from Martin Luther College in New Ulm. Daughter Patty graduated from Minnesota Valley Lutheran and now lives and works in Brookings, SD.

Lopahs' last services will be this Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. and this Sunday at 9:00 a.m.

"There will be emotions of joy and thanks to God for enabling us to serve 28 years here in a wonderful church and community," said Lopahs. "There might be some sadness too, but mostly tearful joy."

Pastor Jim Renz, a member of St Paul’s, has been asked to serve as Vacancy Pastor of the congregation until St. Paul's finds a new pastor.

In their retirement, the Lopahs' plan to take good care of each other and their home, spend time with their family and learn new hobbies.