Remembering Robert D. Lindner, Sr.
By Northern Seminary
Northern Seminary mourns the loss of emeritus trustee Robert D. Lindner, Sr., who died February 16, 2022 at age 101. A veteran of the Pacific campaign during World War II, Mr. Lindner left a legacy of training pastoral leaders through Northern Seminary.
Dr. Ted Rodgers, former Vice President of Advancement and current Northern trustee said, “Northern was deeply impacted by their leadership and generosity. Bob was passionate about Northern’s mission to raise up pastoral leaders to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a needy and hurting world.”
As a trustee, Mr. Lindner set the strategic direction of the seminary. Former Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Karen Walker Freeburg said, “Bob valued vision and folks with the passion and skill to effectively fulfill their part in God’s work. I loved how he held our feet to the fire – acknowledging and rewarding a job well done.” He served on the finance committee and provided wisdom to five Presidents and their staffs.
Dr. Ian Chapman, President of Northern from 1988-2001 said, “When he spoke he was eloquent, passionate and challenging. Clearly, he was rooted and grounded in a biblical faith that never wavered.” He had a heart for the operations of the seminary as well as the people who managed the operation. When Mr. Lindner felt the faculty were not being sufficiently compensated through the budget, he personally gave to ensure the faculty received a raise.
He and his late wife Betty, who predeceased him in 2013, provided significant financial support for Northern’s Lombard Campus operations and facilities. A former conference center and residence hall were named in their honor, and the Lindner family established an endowed chair of evangelical theology in Betty’s honor. Mr. and Mrs. Lindner also provided financial support to establish the Moscow Theological Seminary.
The Lindners enjoyed hosting Northern friends at their home in Ohio. Former President from 2008-2016 Dr. Alistair Brown said, “Bob was a favorite to visit – a kind, generous, gracious, thoughtful man. Keen to leave a legacy for the mission of the church, and by investing in the next generation of pastors he certainly did.”
Dr. David Fitch, the Betty R. Lindner chair of evangelical theology, agreed. When visiting the Lindners: “Mr. Lindner always had questions. He was always direct, yet willing to hear different opinions, and discuss. He was a very generous man. Bob cared about people. Bob cared greatly about the future of the church in United States. He bore a great commitment to the education of the church’s leaders for the mission of Christ in the world.”
The Lindners were assisted by Phyllis McCoy, corporate secretary at United Dairy Farmers and an integral part of their partnership with Northern Seminary. Today the Lindner family’s legacy continues. Current President Bill Shiell noted that their gift to the Lombard Campus was like a modern-day parable of the talents. “Northern has now utilized their investment to sustain operations, provide scholarships, and expand Northern’s mission.”
But the greatest testimony will be the many lives who have come to know Jesus as Savior because of the Lindners. As Dr. Charles Moore, President of Northern from 2001-2006 said, “Today, there are hundreds of former students around the globe who are serving the cause of Christ because him. His down-to-earth demeanor, caring and compassionate spirit and giving and serving heart made him a true friend of Northern.”
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