Obituary: Roger Quam

Roger Leroy Quam

SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA—Roger Leroy Quam, one of the mission founders of the Evangelical Covenant Church of South Sudan and Ethiopia, died Friday, October 1, at Avera McKennan Hospital surrounded by his family. He was 81.

Roger was born on September 27, 1940, in Hawley, Minnesota, to Jenny Louise (Larson) Quam and Andrew Quam.

Roger graduated from the University of Minnesota with bachelor’s degrees in business administration and electrical engineering. He worked in the space program for Honeywell and started his own business, Quality House, in his garage. He ran Quality House, where he employed many refugees and young people, for 15 years.

Roger worked closely with the Lutheran Social Services refugee resettlement program, helping to organize and settle refugees from many countries. He also served as a caseworker for seven years at the Union Gospel Mission.

Along with his friend Alan Holte, Roger helped establish the Evangelical Covenant Church of South Sudan and Ethiopia (ECCSSE). What began as a relationship with 12 South Sudanese pastors grew into many congregations in South Sudan and Ethiopia, as well as many church plants in North America that connected in mission and ministry to the churches in Africa.

Rev. Mathew Jock Moses, president of the ECCSSE, remembers how Roger “worked tirelessly and used to drive South Sudanese Christians to church every Sunday while communicating with them through gestures and sign languages. That is where his nickname ‘Lep bap’ was derived from: the term means ‘open the door’ in the Nuer language.”

Those doors remain open today. Curt Peterson, interim executive minister of Serve Globally, says through the continued work of the ECCSSE, “widows receive daily material needs, students receive education, medical care, and disaster relief are provided, and the entire community receives the Word of God.”

Roger was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Kenny (at age 16) and Lawrence, and sisters Eileen Walerius, Dorothy Hovelsrud, and Carol Nelson.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Martha, sister Patricia Hough, brother David (Carol), daughters Cindi Richards (Mark) and Beth Quam (Keith Adams), sons Dan and Charles (Anna), two grandchildren, and multiple nieces and nephews, in addition to many refugee and church families.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Union Gospel Mission in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Peace be to his memory.

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1 Comment

  1. Roger, Was a true one-of-a-kind mission friend. I am grateful to have known him and his compassion especially toward the refugee, his commitment to praying for missionaries, and his ability to enjoy life to the full! Peace be to the memory of Roger.

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