Rev. Steven James Essenburg, 67, longtime Pastor of Charity Lutheran Church of Detroit, was called to God’s heavenly kingdom early Thursday morning surrounded by his loving family.
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Pastor Steve was born on March 21, 1952 in Holland, Michigan, son of the late Erwin and Betty (DeVries) Essenburg. He was united to his beloved wife, Anita, on June 12, 1973. Their union was blessed with two wonderful sons, John and Eric, whom he loved and cherished. Steve worked as a salesman for W. H. Porter in Holland, Michigan before volunteering for the Army where he served for eight years achieving the rank of Captain. During his stint as an Armor officer, he was honored to be part of the first joint training exercises with the Japanese since WWII, in Hokaido, Japan. After leaving the military, he entered the automotive industry in Michigan as an Account Manager for United Technologies, PTG, and Dayco for nearly 20 years. At this time, he spent his free time serving his community, expanding his love to others in so many ways. He was one of the pioneers of the Macomb County Rotating Emergency Shelter Team, serving as its first President for several years. He conducted Sunday morning Bible Study at Trinity Lutheran Church, Clinton Twp. for many years where he also served as Director of the Board of Elders and was very involved in the church community.
He established Lutheran City Ministries and served as Executive Director from 1996-2000. Following a lifetime passion, Pastor Steve graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary and became an ordained Missouri Lutheran Minister, in 2000. He served as a Pastor at Nazareth Lutheran Church and Charity Lutheran Church, Detroit. Recently, he served as Missionary at Large for the City of Detroit for the Michigan District Lutheran Church Missouri Synod based out of Charity Lutheran Church. He worked with the city of Detroit on the Mayor’s Crime Council, working with neighborhood groups, and the police department, to improve the safety of the community. He served as Executive Director of Charity, Inc, established for the purpose of purchasing homes in the neighborhood around Charity, rehabilitating the houses, and providing affordable homes for families. In recent years, he served on the board of Habitat for Humanity.
Pastor Steve had a heart of gold and it was through his faith in our Lord Savior, Jesus Christ who gave him the courage and the excitement of commitment in helping others. He loved his family, adored his grandchildren and treasured every moment shared in their company. He was a very intelligent man who loved reading a book a day!
Although we grieve his passing, we know that Steve has left us for a better life free from all pain and care and has won victory with his Lord and Savior. We are all eternally thankful for our Reverend Steven James Essenburg who taught us to be more loving and genuine people by the life he led. His light will continue to shine in the hearts of those whom he has left behind.
Pastor Steve is the loving and devoted husband of Anita; dearest father of John and Eric (Karen); dear father-in-law of Colleen Knight; cherished grandfather of Ella, Thomas, Steven, Joseph and the late Alec; and beloved brother of Ronald (Judy), Erwin (Dawn) and Christine (Thomas) Hulst.
Visitation will be held at Faulmann & Walsh Golden Rule Funeral Home, 32814 Utica Road, Fraser, Thursday, January 30, 2020 from 1pm - 8pm. A funeral will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church of Clinton Township on Friday at 11am with additional visitation starting at 10am. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be addressed to the Charity INC or Macomb County Habitat for Humanity, 34950 Little Mack Ave, Clinton Twp, MI 48035, will be greatly appreciated.