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The E. Arnold Sitz Papers

Identifier: B008
The collection is made up of materials created by and collected by Rev. E. Arnold Sitz. The collection reflects the life of an active man involved in the life of his congregation, his district and his synod. Many items point to his role as the outspoken voice of a group of congregations far distant from the main body of the synod. Many also point to the role he played as a defender of sound biblical doctrine amidst the turmoil of the controversies of the 1950s and 1960s. The collection consists of the following series: Series 1: Apache Indian Mission documents Series 2: Various essays, letters and reports Series 3: Cases dealt with during pre-Arizona-California District years Series 4: Prote’stant Controversy documents Series 5: Grace Lutheran Church, Tucson, AZ documents Series 6: Correspondence Series 7: Arizona Mission District documents Series 8: Southeastern Wisconsin District documents Series 9: Correspondence and documents on the Synodical Conference fellowship controversy Series 10: Milwaukee Lutheran Teachers’ College documents Series 11: Miscellaneous documents Series 12: Photos and News clippings Series 13: Synod—Committees and Dealings Series 14: Sermons Series 15: Bible Translations documents


  • 1909 - 1981


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2 Box : 2 record boxes containing 112 file folders.

Biographical / Historical

Erdman Arnold Sitz was born on August 27, 1893, at New York Mills, Minnesota, the son of August J. Sitz and his wife Anna, nee Pankow. He was baptized on August 28, 1893. His father ran a hardware store and implement business in the little village. His mother was a Pankow from the Lebanon, WI area, one of the pioneering families of the WELS. After grade school, Sitz attended Northwestern Preparatory School and College in Watertown, WI. While there he became known by his friends as “Tois,” because of a now-unexplained incident in one of his Greek classes. He received his BA from there in June 1914. From there he attended and graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Wauwatosa, WI in June 1917. While there he studied under the “Wauwatosa Theologians”: J.P. Koehler, his future father-in-law, John Schaller and August Pieper. In June 1917, Sitz was assigned to the newly organized Martin Luther Ev. Lutheran Church in Oshkosh, WI. He was ordained and installed by Rev. Chr. Dowidat. He served briefly at Martin Luther until the fall of 1917, when he resigned due to health reasons. In December 1917, he arrived in Tucson, AZ. At that time he found employment with the Southern Pacific Co., working as a machinist helper in the local shops and then as a brakeman. Later in 1918, he worked as a cow hand on the Walter Williams Ranch in the White Mountains near Tucson. In March of 1919, the Wisconsin Synod Mission Board asked him to serve as a missionary on the Apache Reservation at Whiteriver, AZ, in relief of Pastor E. E. Guenther, who was suffering from influenza. Sitz served there six months while Guenther recovered and in the process learned Apache and became familiar with the reservation. The Mission Board asked him to stay and he served Carrizo Canyon, Whiteriver, Cibecue, East Fork and Canyon Creek. In the fall of 1923, Sitz accepted the call to serve as assistant pastor to Pastor William F. Beitz at Grace Ev. Lutheran Church in Tucson. In December 1924, Pastor Beitz accepted a call to a parish in Wisconsin. At that time, Sitz accepted the call as the pastor of Grace. He served there until April 1972, as their pastor. On February 6, 1925, Sitz married Miss Frieda Koehler of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, and daughter of Prof. J.P. Koehler of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. The couple was blessed with eight children—two sons: Arnold and Ronald and six daughters, Angeline, Marietta, Luce, Ileana, Dorothea, Charlotte and one daughter who passed away in childhood, Theoline. During the 1940s and 1950s, Sitz served as a major voice for the organization of the Wisconsin Synod congregations of the southwest. With the organization of the Arizona-California District in 1954, Sitz was elected as its first district president. He served in that position until 1966. As James Schaefer wrote in his 1989 obituary for Pastor Sitz, “His devotion to the district in which he had spent his entire ministry—save one year—was passionate and legendary.” During his ministry, Sitz served on the Wisconsin Synod’s Commission on Inter-Church Relations, Committee on Constitutional Matters and various other synodical committees. In 1961, during the 75th anniversary celebration of the founding of the University of Arizona, the university awarded him a gold medallion and cited him as an “Arizona Pioneer, devoted public servant, and Christian leader.” Sitz lived out his retirement years in Tucson, ever remaining closely attached to Grace in Tucson. In the early morning hours of July 15, 1989, E. Arnold Sitz passed away and joined his Savior in the eternal rest at the age of 95. He was the second oldest living alumnus of Northwestern College at the time of his death. As Schaefer wrote, “He lived through much of the WELS 20th century history and made some of it.” His funeral services were held July 23, 1989 at Grace, Tucson.

Repository Details

Part of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod Archives Repository