March 10, 1932 ~ July 1, 2019

Born in: Greeley, Colorado
Resided in: Centennial, Colorado

Ted Fritschel, 87, died at his home in Centennial, Colorado on July 1, 2019.

Ted was born to Dr. Erwin and Irma (Hast) Fritschel in Greeley, Colorado, the middle of three sons. Throughout his school years, Ted was a successful student and athlete, and he graduated from Greeley High School in 1950. His next four years were at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, where his athletic achievements were recognized by his induction into the Wartburg Hall of Fame and his selection as the first-team quarterback in the All-Iowa Conference awards.

He found his life partner, Nancy Graese, while in high school, and they were married on June 19, 1955. The two then moved to Dubuque, Iowa, where Ted studied at Wartburg Seminary with the goal of entering the ministry. Upon his graduation from seminary, his passion for Biblical studies led him to Germany to pursue a doctorate under Leonard Goppelt, the noted New Testament theologian at the University of Hamburg.

With his degree in hand, Ted and Nan accepted a call to a church in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. He was approached during their three years in Shawnee Mission to consider a position as a Lutheran campus pastor. The Lutheran Student ministry position at the University of Hawaii was their next destination. This position involved a great deal of multicultural work, which Ted found stimulating. It was in Hawaii that he became involved with the Democratic Party, and he was a delegate to the 1976 Democratic national convention.

Ted and Nan remained in Honolulu for 18 years before he accepted a call to assume the Lutheran Campus Pastor role at the University of Iowa. He and Nan spent the last 12 years of their professional life in Iowa City before retiring to Centennial, Colorado, where he took great pleasure in volunteering with the Democratic Party. He ran for the Colorado Senate in 1998 and the Party named him Colorado Volunteer of the Year in 2017.

He and Nan were longtime members of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Denver. He was preceded in death by his wife, Nan, and his brother, Fritz, and is survived by one brother, James, of Pittsboro, NC, and by many nieces and nephews.

There are no immediate plans for a memorial service. Memorial gifts may be guided to his passions, Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, and the Democratic Party.

Memories Timeline


  1. Ted and Nan were great friends and neighbors and political friends. We will miss his wonderful, warm, caring friendship.

  2. Ted’s father, Dr. Erwin Fritschel, started Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Greeley, Co. in 1927 and is still going strong. I will pass along this news of Ted’s passing to the congregation as Ted was born in Greeley.

  3. Ted was a tireless worker, and a kind man. I was pleased to hang out with him during Obama’s acceptance speech, and then we rode Light Rail together back to our stops. He will be missed.

  4. A close friend and treasured colleague in campus ministry over many years. Thanks to God for his life and ministry, and for the memories.

  5. From 1977- 1983 I had the pleasure of working with Ted while serving as the Western Regional Director for National Lutheran Campus Ministry. He introduced me to Hawaii during his years of pioneering a faithful and progressive Campus Ministry. Along with Nan, a gifted artist, the Fritschels were gracious hosts to not only visitors from the mainland but to the International Student Community. He truly led the way and was the conscience of the national campus ministry staff in reaching out and caring for students from beyond the borders of the U.S.

  6. While grieving the death of a valued and funny friend for many years, I join his family and places of ministry in giving thanks for his many years. His brother was a friend in ministry in the Northeast. Of the many fond memories I have of him and Nan was Joan and my lending them our NYC/Columbia U. apartment when he was a delegate to the National Dem. Convention (summer 1976). He was always a refreshing minister to us all!
    Al Ahlstrom in Marlborough, MA

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