Remembering Dr. Ralph Powell

Remembering Dr. Ralph Powell

August 7, 2012

Dr. Ralph Powell, former professor and dear friend of Sioux Falls Seminary, passed away Tuesday morning, Aug. 7, at 5:30 a.m. He was "Distinguished Professor of Theology Emeritus" and touched the lives of many.

Our deep condolences go out to his wife, Ardice (Ziolkowski), and the whole family. A celebration of life service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, August 13, at Trinity Baptist Church.

"One of the great privileges of my life is to have been a student of Ralph Powell. Many fellow students will recall his advice to aspiring pastors and church leaders to be 'wise as serpents and harmless of doves' (Matt 10:16)," said Dr. Randy Tschetter, Director of Church Relations and Alumni at Sioux Falls Seminary. "When dealing with a challenging biblical text or theological concept, Dr. Powell would remind us of Jesus' words of instruction to his disciples as Jesus sent them out to 'try their wings' in the ministry of teaching and healing (something like student-pastors)."

In his 96 years of life, he received degrees from institutions such as Loyola University and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary and served as a youth worker, director of music, radio musician, pastor, director of field education, professor, husband, and father.

Ralph joined the faculty of Sioux Falls Seminary, then known as North American Baptist Seminary, in 1950. He taught as Professor of Theology and Philosophy of Religion and also served as Dean, Director of Field Education, and Director of Doctoral Studies before he retired in 1981.

As Ralph once said about his love of theology, "Theology helps us know who we are, why we are here, and where we are going--and it helps us do something about it for Christ's sake."

We, at Sioux Falls Seminary, are honored to have served alongside Dr. Powell, a good and faithful servant of God.

To share your memories of Dr. Powell, please visit our Facebook page at

Ralph Powell Obituary

In honor to pay respect to Dr. Powell for his years of service to the seminary and to allow employees to attend the service, SFS will be closed on Monday, August 13, until 1:00 p.m.