OBITUARIES: Jaroslav (Jary) Jan Vajda

The American Organist, August 2008 | Go to article overview

OBITUARIES: Jaroslav (Jary) Jan Vajda


Jaroslav (Jary) Jan Vajda, 89 years old, May 10, 2008, at Laclede Groves Senior Living Community in Webster Groves, Mo., where he and his wife made their home. The Rev. Vajda, a retired Lutheran Church Missouri Synod pastor, author, and editor, wrote more than 200 hymn texts and translations that have been published in some 60 hymnals and printed collections on five continents. A 1944 graduate of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, he served several pastorates for Lutheran churches in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Missouri from 1945 to 1976. In 1963, he became the editor of This Day magazine and later served as book developer/editor for Concordia Publishing House in St. Louis. He served on the Synod's Commission on Worship (1960-78) and the Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship (1967-78), which prepared the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978). He retired in 1986.

Vajda received musical training in childhood and began translating classical Slovak poetry at age 18. His first hymn was written at age 49. His published works include two collections of hymn texts, numerous books, translations, and articles. Among his many distinctions were eight honorary doctorates from colleges and universities, the Wittenberg Award from the Luther Institute (1995), listings in two different "Who's Who" volumes, and being named a fellow of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. Carl Daw, the organization's executive director, referred to Vajda as ". …

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