Rev Dr Rolph Mayer, a founding lecturer and longtime principal of the LCA’s Lutheran Teachers College (LTC), has died, aged 90.
Dr Mayer was a lecturer at LTC when it was based in Highgate in Adelaide’s inner south from 1968 and was principal of the LCA’s teacher training school from 1970 until 1987. He continued to teach at LTC when it moved to the campus of Luther Seminary in North Adelaide in 1990. He retired from full-time teaching at the end of 1995.
Dr Mayer was also a founding committee member of Lutheran Student Fellowship in South Australia in the 1950s.
Ordained as a Lutheran pastor in 1951, he served the people of the Lower Murray Home Mission in South Australia until 1954. He was a teacher and chaplain from 1955 until 1967 at Immanuel College in suburban Adelaide, firstly at Walkerville then at Novar Gardens.
After his retirement, he worked in vacant parishes across Australia and New Zealand, spent a term lecturing at the Lutheran seminary in Lae, Papua New Guinea, and six months in a parish in Cardiff, Wales. In 2009, he was granted an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by Australian Lutheran College, which was formed from the merger of the LCA’s three theological training institutions – LTC, Luther Seminary and Lay Training Centre. He wrote The Lion, the Bear and the Mulberry Tree and other stories, a children’s book which illustrates key biblical teachings through stories, which was first published in 2015.
Dr Mayer and his wife Margaret, also a teacher, were honoured in May 2018 at the launch of a book that tells their story. A Singular and Outrageous Blessing: The Story of Rolph and Margaret Mayer was the work of author Andy Thurlow, who said he had written the book to thank a couple who mentored him as he entered tertiary study and his chosen profession of teaching.
Rolph was born on 13 November 1929 in Toowoomba Queensland to German migrants Jakob and Christina Mayer. During World War II, members of Rolph’s family were interned, so he was sent to Adelaide to Immanuel College to study, to avoid anti-German harassment. He was a student there from 1943 to 1946, before studying at Immanuel Seminary from 1947 to 1950. He married Margaret (nee Hentschke) in 1954 and they had three children.
Dr Mayer, who died in Adelaide on 31 August, is survived by his wife, Margaret, and daughters Susan and Anne and their families. His son, Peter, predeceased him.