ELCT Press Release

Date: October 31, 2005
Press release No. 001/10/2005

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Rev. Dr. H. Daniel Friberg
(6 Sep 1908 - 22 Oct 2005)

Founding principal of Makumira, Daniel Friberg, dies at age 97

Rev. Dr. H. Daniel Friberg, age 97, died on October 22, 2005. Dr. Friberg was the founding principal of what is today Makumira University College (MUCO).

MUCO was originally established as the Lutheran Seminary at Lwandai in 1947, shortly after the arrival of Dr. Friberg and his wife Ruth. During that first year, until the arrival of Rev. Herbert Uhlin, Dr. Friberg taught all of the seminary courses which included Doctrine, Church History, New Testament and Greek. The first class of 50 students graduated in 1949.

The Lwandai seminary became Lutheran Theological College Makumira when it moved to its present location in 1954. Dr. Friberg led and/or taught at Makumira for 21 years (1947-1968). In 1994, Makumira became Makumira University College (MUCO), the oldest of four campuses which make up the ELCT's national Tumaini (Hope) University, founded in 1994.

Today, MUCO has three faculties. The oldest is the Faculty of Theology, which is the ELCT's primary theological seminary and which dates back to its founding by Dr. Friberg at Lwandai in 1947. The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences opened two years ago, and the Faculty of Law will open in November of this year. Further details may be found on the MUCO website (http://www.makumira.ac.tz).

Following is the obituary written by Joseph and Peter Friberg, sons of Daniel Friberg


Rev. Dr. H. Daniel Friberg, age 97, of Minneapolis, died peacefully at his home on October 22, 2005

Daniel was born September 6, 1908 in Henan, China, the son of Carl Peter M.D. and Nelly (Wennerstrom), Augustana Lutheran missionaries. He graduated magna cum laude from Gustavus Adolphus, studied at Luther and Augustana seminaries, was ordained into the Lutheran ministry, and served Swedlanda parish near Hector MN for two years. He was a missionary in China from 1935-1941. During WWII he studied a year at Harvard University, then served a church in Chicago while earning a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Chicago.

From 1945-1978, he was in missions in Tanzania, where he met and married Ruth Holmer, a missionary nurse. He founded the Lutheran Theological College, was its first principal, and a professor for many years. He edited publications, hosted a weekly radio program in Swahili beamed across East Africa, worked in evangelism and parish ministry. After retirement, he was visitation pastor for Trinity Lutheran of Minnehaha Falls until age 85.

Daniel's great passions in life were preaching and writing. When leading worship on Sundays, he prepared a different sermon for each service. Once, as Dan began his message at an evangelism rally in Tanzania, a colleague confided to Ruth his hope that the text was not on the entire Psalm 119. Whether preparing sermons, lectures, articles, letters or radio addresses, Dan worked constantly at his typewriter, using just two fingers. Other interests included: long walks in nature, carpentry, maintaining his faithful motorcycle, enjoying music, conversing with colleagues, and embracing foreign cultures and languages- in which he was fluent in four, and literate in four more. In all this his hallmark was to combine entertainment with activity which was more justifiably productive.

By nature and profession Dan interacted deeply with other people. At all stages of his life he was nourished by strong Christian fellowship: the China missionary family, the college and seminary communities, the Tanzania missionary family and finally the Trinity Lutheran of Minnehaha Falls congregation in Minneapolis. He built equally strong relationships with the Chinese and Tanzanian Christians. Finally, he was eager to converse with everyone he met- in whatever continent or town- and share with them not just small talk but also his challenge to believe in Jesus.

Daniel is preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Margaret Friberg: and 5 other siblings who died as infants or toddlers in China. He is survived by beloved wife of 58 years Ruth; brother J. Bertil Friberg M.D.; sons Joseph, Peter, Steve, and John; daughters Mary Pullen and Margaret Gibson; and grandchildren Joshua, Daniel, Deborah, Catherine, Jonathan, Julianne, Benjamin, Sarah, Nyika, Zaka, Shalai, Andrew; and many relatives and friends. Daniel strongly believed that God deeply wanted to reconcile the world to Himself and accomplished this through the sacrificial life and death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. He devoted his life to sharing this good news.

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For more information contact:

Elizabeth Lobulu
Communication Desk Officer, ELCT
E-mail: ELobulu@elct.or.tz