O.M. Gullerud’s parents were natives of Norway who came to America and settled in Goodhue County, Minnesota. Sven Olaf Gullerud was born June 19, 1876, in Goodhue County, near Zumbrota Minnesota to Mekael and Karen Gullerud. Because his father’s name was Mekael, he began to use the “M” in his initials and did not use the “S” at all. And so, he became known as O.M. Gullerud. He was baptized by Rev. Muus, in Lands Kirke, near Zumbrota.
Once when a young boy, probably 8 or 9 years old, he went with his father to a church service held at the school house. He remembers quite distinctly that from this sermon it was for the first time made clear to him that we are saved by the vicarious work of Jesus Christ, not by our own deeds. He thought this was great and wonderful, which of course it is, way beyond expression. He often thought of this incident, as it is an example of how so many pastors preach in such a way that children do not get this Gospel message. A short time later he was confirmed and his family bought another farm closer to Zumbrota, in order that they might be closer to church.
From the time when he was a young boy he had it in mind that he should study for the ministry. His father was a very religious man and took an active part in church work. There was a time when his father intended to study for the ministry but as that did not materialize, he had prayed God that one of his sons should become a minister of the Gospel. O.M. Gullerud feels that it was because of this prayer of his father that he had the ministry in mind from early boyhood.
When O.M. was 16 years old, he went to Luther College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Only one year was afforded and so a year or two later he took a business course at Valders Business College in Decorah, Iowa. He thought that if he could not take the longer course at Luther College, he instead could take a comparatively short business course and he graduated from this business school. After graduating from Valders Business College, he obtained a position as a clerk in a grocery store in St. Paul, Minnesota, Larson Brothers and Skov. He stayed at this store for about one year. Then hard times set in and the firm had to reduce expenses and O.M. no longer worked there. O.M. Gullerud later said he thought it was providential that he no longer was a clerk at this store as he would have undoubtedly become a businessman; he would not have become a pastor, a preacher of the wonderful Gospel of salvation through Christ. He felt that there was no calling on earth as great as to preach the Gospel of Christ which is a power of God unto salvation for everyone that believeth. To be an instrument in the hands of God and to save blood bought souls from eternal damnation into the unspeakable glories of heaven was a great commission not to be ignored. So, for now, he stayed home on the farm for some years. His father was not well, and for that reason he and his brothers did most of the farming. But his father’s prayers were to be heard, and O.M. continued his studies. He had made some money, but not a great deal. He did not see a clear way to finish the long course at Luther College. But after having consulted with his parents and his pastor, he decided to take up the studies at Lutheran Normal School, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He finished the course in 1902. Before graduation he received a call from Cashton, Wisconsin, to teach at their school. Before he accepted the call he asked his father, who was still living at the time, for advice. He then said something about taking up the study of theology. This was the first time that he said anything to his son about becoming a pastor. At that time he knew nothing about his father’s prayers that one of his sons should
enter the ministry.
As it is said of the saints in Hebrews Chapter 11, verse 13: “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.” O.M’s father died before he saw his prayers heard, that one of his boys should become a pastor. But God did not forget. He heard his prayers. Yes, not only one of his sons but both grandsons became ministers of the Word. How many souls will be save through their preaching of the Gospel, eternity alone will reveal. After one year’s teaching at Cashton, Wisconsin, O.M. at last realized his hope of attending Luther Theological Seminary at St. Paul and he was graduated in 1906. Just previous to taking up his pastoral labors in the ministry, Rev. Gullerud was married, September 12, 1906 to Sarah Tyssen. Rev. Gullerud accepted a call to be the pastor of Zion Norwegian Lutheran Church of Tracy and Holand Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Minnesota. The couple had two sons and three daughters. In 1937 Pastor O.M. Gullerud was led by his Lord into the realms of eternal glory at the age of sixty one.
Arvid Gerhard Walter Gullerud was born on January 19, 1920, to Rev. O.M. and Sarah Gullerud. The family lived about a mile from the small village of Glendorado, Minnesota. In 1934 he was confirmed by his father at nearby Norseland Lutheran Church. Shortly after this his father passed away and the family moved to Brookings, South Dakota. Arvid attended Dr. Martin Luther High School in New Ulm, Minnesota. During his days in New Ulm he worked part-time on a farm. He enjoyed driving horses so much that he thought about becoming a farmer, but the Lord had other plans for him. Arvid decided to study theology at Northwestern College in Watertown, Wisconsin. After graduation he spent an additional three years at the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Thiensville, Wisconsin, where he earned a divinity degree.
On July 6, 1947, Pastor Gullerud was ordained into the holy ministry and installed as pastor at the dual parish of East and West Paint Creek Lutheran congregations (of the Norwegian Synod) at Waterville, Iowa. He also raised sheep on fifteen acres of pastureland, which was part of the congregation’s compensation for his pastoral work.
It was during this time that Pastor Gullerud was joined in holy matrimony with Eleanore Odegard, whom he’d known from childhood. They were married at Fairview Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, on September 15th, 1948. Their marriage would span sixty-seven years, and the Lord would bless their union with five daughters and one son.
In the fall of 1951, Pastor Gullerud accepted the call to serve Pinehurst Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He sold his sheep to finance the move.
In 1958, in faithfulness to the Word of God, Messiah Lutheran Church was organized, and would become a charter member of the Church of the Lutheran Confession.
During his time in Eau Claire, Pastor Gullerud was instrumental in the finding and purchase of the O.H. Ingram estate, soon to become the campus of Immanuel Lutheran High School, College and Seminary. He also served on Board of Regents for the new school.
Pastor Gullerud later served parishes in Houston, Corpus Christi, and Dallas Texas; Los Angeles, California; Portland, Oregon; Ketchikan, Alaska; and Jacksonville, Florida.
In retirement he served for many years as assistant pastor at Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Spokane Valley, Washington. During this time he enjoyed camping at Lake Diamond, woodworking in his shop, golfing and fishing. He kept abreast of synodical events even in retirement, and often served as delegate to CLC Conventions.
Pastor Gullerud was peacefully led by his Lord into the realms of eternal glory early Friday morning, December 18th, 2015, at the age of ninety-five.
The Invisible Sunday School is very grateful for the technical abilities of Brooke Hughes-Brauner in the creation of this website. We also want to recognize April Hughes-Brauner for her artistic contribution.