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Rev. Naomi Lynum Mahler died in faith in God and Christ Jesus on October 21, 2023, after an aggressive return of her cancer. Her daughters, Sofia and Grace Lynum, and husband, Todd Lynum, with the steadfast support of Hospice, were able to care for her at home until the end of her life.
Her funeral will be 2:00 pm, Friday, November 3, at Vinje Lutheran Church in Willmar and will be live-streamed on the church's YouTube page. Visitation will be from 4-7:00 pm, Thursday, November 2nd at Harvey Anderson Funeral Home in Willmar and continue one hour prior to the service at the church on Friday. Interment will be at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to the “Pastor Naomi Mahler Endowment Fund” at Green Lake Lutheran Ministries (gllm.org) to support the one of Naomi’s most cherished ministries.
Members of the West Central Singers will share music, and any former members of the Nordic, National Lutheran, or other choirs who will be in attendance are welcome to join them. Please contact Naomi Baker, music director of Calvary Lutheran, at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Naomi was born February 24, 1967, in Westwood, NJ to Henry James “Jim” and LaNell (Kappler) Mahler. Her family moved to Maywood, IL in 1969. In 1979, her family moved to Thousand Oaks, CA where Naomi graduated from high school in 1985.
Naomi received her bachelor’s degree in May 1989 from Luther College of Decorah, IA, graduating suma cum laude with a major in English. She was also a member of Luther’s Nordic Choir and was part of their June 1988 tour to Russia, Poland, and Hungary. Music was one of Naomi’s passions. Those who heard her sing were delighted by her captivating, spirit filled voice.
From 1989-1994, Naomi served as the Youth Director at Como Park Lutheran Church in St. Paul, MN. It was during that time she felt called to become an ELCA pastor and enrolled at the Luther Seminary in St. Paul. She graduated and was ordained in 1998. During her time in St. Paul, Naomi continued to share her musical talents as a member of the National Lutheran Choir in Minneapolis.
While at Luther Seminary, Naomi met her husband, Todd Lynum. They were married on December 27, 1997. After seminary, Naomi and Todd served in the ELCA Global Mission in Costa Rica. In 2001, they returned to the United States, and Naomi was called to be the pastor at the Spanish speaking church, Paz y Esperanza, in Willmar, MN from 2001-2010.
On May 18th, 2004, Naomi gave birth to her beautiful twin daughters, Grace and Sofia.
Naomi served as Director of the Link in Spicer, MN from 2010-2012, and from 2012-2015, she was the interim-executive director of the Green Lake Lutheran Ministries in Spicer.
In 2015, Naomi accepted the call as an associate pastor at Calvary Lutheran church in Willmar, and in November of 2022 she became a Synod Minister for the Southwestern Minnesota Synod of the ELCA.
Naomi was loved, respected, and treasured for her deep faith, warm friendship, abounding compassion, generous hospitality, ethical integrity, uncommon wisdom, hearty laughter, and playful sense of humor.
All her life, Naomi felt, lived, and shared God’s love, mercy, and grace for all. She worked passionately for cross-cultural and interracial understanding, as well as collaboration with other Christian denominations and religious faiths.
Naomi is survived by her husband, Todd; daughters, Sofia and Grace; her loving dogs, Chester and Lola; her mother, LaNell Mahler Koenig; sister, Rachel (Brett) Kraemer; brother, Matthew (Loren) Mahler; nephew, Andrew Kraemer; and nieces, Julia Kraemer and Hannah Mahler.
She is also survived by her mother-in-law, Rita Lynum; brother-in-law, Perry (Susan) Lynum; sisters-in-law, Kathy (Michael) Harris, and Lisa (Scott) Shaver; nieces. Abby (Alex) Katkov, Paige Harris, Megan (Jake) Batusich, and Mariah Lynum; and nephews, Matthew (Chichi) Shaver, David Lynum and Philip Harris; great nephew, Lucas Shaver; and great niece, Eloise Katkov.
Naomi was preceded in death by her father, Jim Mahler; father in-law, Wayne Lynum; LaNell’s second husband, Jerry Koenig; grandparents, Henry and Meta Mahler, and Alfred and Gertrude Kappler; and uncle, Harvey Kappler.
To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Rev. Naomi Mahler, please visit our Tree Store.
Green Lake Lutheran Ministries
9916 Lake Avenue South, Spicer MN 56288