|St. Thomas Home||>>News & Events >>Archived News & Events >>October 2003|
Chicago (ELCA)-JB — The Rev. Paul M. Orso, bishop of the Maryland Synod of the former Lutheran Church in America (LCA) and former executive director of Lutheran Social Services (LSS), Washington, D.C., died Oct. 22 at his home in Gwynn Oak, Md. Orso, 84, had Parkinson's disease.
A memorial service is scheduled for Oct. 30 at Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, Severna Park, Md., where he and his wife Joan were members.
Orso was a retired pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), which was created in 1988 through a merger of the American Lutheran Church, Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches and LCA.
Ordained in 1944, Orso served as bishop of the LCA Maryland Synod from 1968 until he retired in 1983. Prior to that he was executive director and pastoral counselor for LSS from 1953 to 1968. He was a visiting professor at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, one of the eight ELCA seminaries; associate professor of psychology at Upsala College, East Orange, N.J., a former college of the ELCA; supply pastor at Evangelical Lutheran Church, Hartwick Seminary, Oneota, New York; assistant professor of psychology, Hartwick College; supply pastor at St. Mark Lutheran Church, Boston; and chaplain at the Marine Hospital, Baltimore. He served an internship at Luther Place Memorial Church, Washington, D.C.
Orso served eight congregations as interim pastor in the Washington, D.C., area and in recent years was a supply pastor to many congregations.
Orso was born in 1918 in Montoursville, Pa. He graduated in 1940 from Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, Pa., one of 28 ELCA colleges and universities. In 1944 he earned a bachelor of divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (LTSG), an ELCA seminary. In 1949 he earned a doctorate in pastoral counseling from Boston University, Boston. He studied at George Washington University, Washington, D.C.; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; and the Pastoral Care Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.
In 1968 Susquehanna University awarded Orso an outstanding achievement award, and in 1969 it awarded him an honorary doctor of divinity degree.
Orso served with many church organizations during his career and in retirement, including Tressler Lutheran Home for Children, board of directors, secretary and vice president; Lutheran Welfare Conference in America, president; LCA Board of Social Ministry; Division of Welfare, Standing Committee, Lutheran Council in the U.S.A.; Council for Lutheran Theological Education in the Northeast, member and chair; Bishop as Counselor, Conference of Synodical Bishops, chair; LTSG board member; counselor, Executive Committee for Special Ministries, ELCA; and Maryland Synod Examining Panel.
Professional and community organizations he served were Family Life Association, Washington, D.C., president; Institute of Pastoral Care; American Association of Pastoral Counselors, fellow; Psychologists Interested in the Advancement of Psychotherapy; American Protestant Hospital Association, College of Chaplains; American Psychological Association President's Committee for the Employment of Physically Handicapped; and American Cancer Society, Anne Arundel County, Md., board of directors.
Orso wrote for several publications including "The Lutheran," the magazine of the ELCA, "Lutheran Church Quarterly," "Lutheran Young Adults" and "Journal of Pastoral Care."
In addition to his wife Joan, Orso is survived by a son, Donald, and a daughter, Carolyn Bertelsmeyer, both from his first marriage. Orso and his first wife, Kathryn, were married 33 years before her death in 1979.
Orso will be cremated. Interment will be private.
A scholarship fund in Orso's name has been established for students at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. Funds will be used to support students entering church vocations.