September 21, 1926 - November 10, 2014


A Memorial Service will be held at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, November 19 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St. Cloud, MN, for Luther L. Dehnel, age 88, of St. Cloud, who died on November 10, 2014 at the VA Medical Center in St. Cloud. The Reverend Dee Pederson will officiate. Burial will be at 2:00 PM at St. John’s Lutheran Church Cemetery in Annandale. Visitation will be from 10:00-11:00 AM on Wednesday at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. Arrangements are with the Daniel Funeral Home, St. Cloud.

Luther was born in Minneapolis, MN, on September 21, 1926 to Paul F. and Ruby (Smith) Dehnel. He married Karen Julianne “Julie” Aronson on March 7, 1963, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Annandale.

Luther received his degrees in medicine and psychiatry from the University of Minnesota and completed his residency at the University of Minnesota VA Hospital in Minneapolis. In 1963-1977, he worked at the VA Hospital in St. Cloud and led a research and teaching position in psychopharmacology.

In 1974, Dr. Dehnel completed training in aerospace flight medicine at Brooks Air Force Base, TX. In June 1977, he went full time active duty overseas. His active duty tour included assignments as Chief of Staff Hospital Services, Psychiatrist and Flight Surgeon at Yokota Air Base, Japan, and Regional Hospital Commander and Director of Medical Services at Incerlik Air Base in Turkey. He returned to the US in 1982 and worked at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX, for three years. He transferred to Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, NE, and retired from the military in June 1988.

In 1977, Dr. Dehnel received the Commendation Medal for his efforts in the US Marine Corps fire at Mt. Fuji, Japan. In 1982, he received the Meritorious Service Medal from the Commander-in-Chief in Europe, while serving in Turkey, for his medical support to NATO.

After retiring from the Air Force, Luther was staff psychiatrist in Hastings, NE. He returned to Minnesota in December 1990 and worked at Willmar Regional Treatment Center until January 1997. He also served on the Mental Health Staff at Rice Hospital in Willmar, MN.

In December 1997, he and Julie returned to St. Cloud where they were members of Bethlehem Lutheran Church. Luther enjoyed singing in the choir for many years, serving on the church council and participating in the worship service. As Luther’s health declined and he could no longer be in the choir, Luther and Julie often hosted choir pot-luck suppers at their house, where all had a great time eating, talking, laughing, and of course, lots of singing. Luther loved what he called “eating those singing recipes”. It was a joy for him to feel connected and included with fellow singers, friends and neighbors in a happy time of fellowship.

Dr. Dehnel was a past member of the University of Minnesota Chorus; Air Force choral group, the “Bluenotes”; Nebraska Choral Arts Society; American Legion; University of Minnesota Medical Association; Minnesota Center Chorale; St. Cloud Rotary Club; Retired Military Officers Association; He was a life member of the American Psychiatric Society.

He was married to Charlotte Chelstrom; they later divorced. They had three children who survive him: Pamela Marie Deerwood, Dr. Peter (Nancy) Dehnel, and their children Amy, John, and Ann; Rebecca (Don) Newberg, and their child Rachel Markeson.

Luther is also survived by his wife Julie; son Kirby John Dehnel, Tyler, TX; daughter Lisa Marie Qualls, Omaha, NE, and her children Brittney and Delanie.

He was peceded in death by his parents, brothers and sisters Fred, Paul, Albert, George, Marie Kuske, and Augusta Blount.

As Luther’s medical needs increased he entered the St. Cloud VA Hospice program. My deep gratitude to all of the staff of the VA Medical Center for their compassionate care. Memorials are preferred to: Bethlehem Lutheran Church music program or liturgical arts, Tri-County Humane Society, St. John’s Lutheran Perpetual Care Cemetery Fund, Minnesota Center Chorale, or St. Cloud Chamber Music Society.