Reverend Doctor Roger Alden Kvam, 88 of Canton, Georgia returned to his Heavenly Father on Saturday, September 28, 2019 after a 7-year battle with cancer. Dr. Kvam was born on February 22, 1931 in Decorah, Iowa to the late Joseph A. Kvam and Myrtle Hebranson Kvam. Dr. Kvam was the fifth of seven children. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his siblings, Donald Torgenrud, Phyllis Hieftje and Joseph A. Kvam Jr. He is survived by siblings Gloria Ayshford, Frank Kvam and Pat Hoehn.
He leaves to cherish his memory the love of his life for 65 years, Deborah Jean Frierson Kvam, his three children: BJ Baskin (Larry), Roger Jr. (Robyn) and Eugene Kvam, eight grandchildren: Roger, Drew (Evin), William, and Daniel Baskin (Melissa); Lynnea Urbanowicz (Tim), Joshua (Jessica), Michael (Elise) and Zachary Kvam, five great grandchildren: Kendall Baskin, Brady and Jonathan Urbanowicz, Myah and Benaiah Kvam. His family was the apple of his eye, always loving and sharing his wisdom and joy for life. He was an anchor placed deeply in their hearts showing them how to love God and live wisely.
Roger was dubbed by the Akron Beacon Journal as “a preacher, teacher and man on the go.”
He graduated from Stewartville High School in Minnesota in 1949 and was awarded a trip around the world with Town Meeting of the Air visiting many countries, meeting current world leaders of that time as a youth ambassador This whetted a life-long appetite for world travel and international politics. Combining his two great interests of politics and religion he entered Wheaton College in 1950. Graduating in 1954 with highest honors having participated in student government, and leading the debate team to many awards, he went on to Princeton Theological Seminary, graduating in 1957 with the Preaching Prize, earning highest honors and multiple awards—abashed at having won so much at Princeton. Roger served as the Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Cranberry, New Jersey.
His second academic love was politics, so he continued his educational journey to Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government for a graduate degree in Political Science and American Government. Mentored by V.O. Key, Roger enjoyed teaching and relationships with students and faculty during those years at Harvard. Roger was a devoted Anglophile and life-long student of the life and work of Winston Churchill; a member of the Churchill Society. A lover of history and avid reader of politics, religion, and current affairs, he regularly shared with his family (even in the hospital) articles and insights he had gleaned from his readings.
Roger took a faculty position at the University of Akron teaching American Government and Politics, serving as an advisor to the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity and College Bowl team. During this time he also served two United Church of Christ congregations. Roger was later called to be the President of Mackinac College and assembled a wonderful faculty and staff who have remained life long friends. In the mid 70’s he returned to Harvard, then pursued a doctoral degree at Boston University. Roger accepted a call to the First Presbyterian Church of Quincy, Massachusetts and served for 18 years until his retirement in 1993. During the years in Quincy he was instrumental in beginning an ecumenical ministerial group and partnered with Father William McCarthy to open the first homeless shelter in the area—Father Bill’s Place. While in Boston, Roger was asked to join the Lord’s Day Alliance and served two terms as President.
Upon retirement, Roger was called as an interim pastor to several Presbyterian churches in the Greenville, South Carolina area where he retired to be close to his daughter and family. In 2000, Roger and Debby moved to Atlanta where they could be close to Roger Jr. and his young family. Roger served as an interim and stayed for 15 years ministering to the congregations of Menlo and Cloudland Presbyterian churches until his second retirement in 2017. During his career in ministry he served in many positions of leadership in various Presbyteries where he mentored many young men and women going into ministry.
Roger was indeed a preacher, teacher and man on the go inspiring, befriending and mentoring many along the way. He will be missed but his legacy and imprint have been left on the hearts of many. “Well done good and faithful servant.”
Visitation will be held at the Earle Rainwater Funeral Home, 10355 Commerce Street (Hwy. 27), Summerville, GA 30747 on Saturday, October 12 at 12:00-1:00 p.m.
A Service of Witness to the Resurrection and Thanksgiving will follow at the Cloudland Presbyterian Church, 65 Florida Avenue, Menlo, GA 30731 at 2:00 p.m. with the Reverends Sanders L. Willson, John M. Wood and Larry D. Baskin officiating. Interment will follow at the Cloudland Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Aplastic Anemia & Myelodysplastic Syndromes International Foundation (AAMDSIF) please designate PNH Research. AA&MDS International Foundation, 4330 East West Highway, Suite 230, Bethesda, MD 20814 or aamds.org/donate