Rev. Michael M. Eirich

    St. John's Lutheran Church in New Minden, IL, where Rev. Michael M. Eirich served for over 33 years, prepared a sesquicentennial publication in 1996. On pp. 116-122 is a history of Rev. Eirich's ministry in this congregation:

    "Pastor Eirich had been sick for only a few months during his many years at St. John's...However, by now his hearing was failing noticeably, and it was starting to cause problems, especially as he taught the children...Finally, the problem grew so bad that on February 5, 1899,...Pastor Eirich willingly resigned his office, lest harm and dissatisfaction in the Congregation grow. The Congregation accepted his resignation and also gladly granted his request that he be allowed to continue in office until October 1, when he would complete 50 years in the ministry.
    The Congregation also resolved to celebrate Pastor Eirich's golden jubilee with a special day on Sunday, September 3, 1899. In a fitting fashion St. John's showed their appreciation for his 33 1/2 years of faithful service. Pastor J.F. Koestering once more returned to preach, along with G. Bruegmann. Pastor Eirich's son
Richard also gave an address. A special meal was planned, for which each family was to bring enough food for itself and one or two other families. More than 2000 people attended the jubilee and Pastor Eirich was given the collection for the day. In those days before the Concordia Pension System, the Congregation also voted to support him with a pension of $200 per year, which lasted until his dying day.
    Indeed, for another decade he lived in the midst of the Congregation and assisted his successor in good harmony. His spirit and his voice were still stirring and fresh so that he was able from time to time to preach and assist with the Lord's Supper, and to perfomr other official acts. As old age took its toll on him and his wife more and more, they moved to St. Louis into the home of their son-in-law, Professor
George Mezger (formerly pastor at Olive Branch), in 1908. ...(What follows over the next 2-1/2 pages is his farewell sermon)
    On Sunday morning, August 7, 1910, it was announced that Pastor Eirich had suffered a stroke on August 3 and was not expected to survive. It was resolved to provide a burial plot for him at the side of the main entrance to what was then called "the new cemetery", which is north of the church. In an exception to the usual practice, a place for his spouse was to be reserved at his side. Immediately after the meeting, it was announced that Pastor Eirich had already died Saturday evening."

    An obituary for Rev. Michael M. Eirich appeared in the old German Lutheran journal, Der Lutheraner, Vol. 66 (1910), pp. 273-274. It is believed to have been prepared by his son-in-law, Prof. George Mezger.

    "On 6 August  Pastor emeritus Michael M. Eirich died in faith on his Lord. He was born on 8 April 1826 in Rossbach in Bavaria as the eldest of seven children. In 1837 his parents emigrated, and after a long and difficult journey arrived in Marysville, OH, where they settled and Pastor Eirich grew to young manhood. At an early age he entertained the thought of becoming a preacher of the gospel. In the autumn of 1846 he joined the household of Pastor A. Ernst and began to study diligently and to prepare for the Holy Ministry. In the year 1847 he entered our practical preacher seminary which at that time was still located in Fort Wayne, and in the year 1849 passed his examinations. From Fort Wayne he travelled then to St. Louis and from there to Pastor C. Strasen at Horse Prairie, IL. Here he received a call to the Lutheran congregation at Chester, IL, where Pastor S. Butterman had died of the cholera after hardly five weeks of efficacy in office. In Chester the deceased worked seventeen years with great blessings, until the year 1866. Then he took a call from the congregation at New Minden, IL, where he was pastor for 33 years, until the year 1899. In October of that year he was privelieged to celebrate his fifty-year jubilee in the ministry in the midst of his congregation and many fellow ministers and shortly thereafter resigned his pastorate largely because of his poor hearing. The last years of his life he spent in quiet retirement, for a time still in his congregation, who sincerely received their old pastor in these years as well, so that he should suffer no want, and partly with his children. On 3 August of this year he suffered a stroke, and on 6 August the Lord took His loyal servant into His heavenly home, in the rest of the saints, which the deceased had so often anticipated. He died in the home of his son-in-law in Lockwood, MO. He had reached the age of 84 years, 3 months, and 28 days. Unto his greatest age God kept him in mental and bodily vigor, in particular, he had an active interest for everything concerning God's Kingdom, and especially our Synod. Also in his last years he carried the affairs of our Synod, its work and battles, in his prayerful heart.
    In June (19th) 1850 the deceased married Miss
Anna Dascher in Marysville, OH, with whom he lived for over 60 years in a state of wedded bliss. God blessed their union with seven children, three sons and four daughters. The second oldest son, Adolf, preceded him into blessed eternity. He died of yellow fever in 1878 as a pastor in Algiers, LA. The two surviving sons serve our Synod, one as a pastor, the other as a teacher. (He was survived by Pastor Richard Eirich of Baltimore, MD; Professor Henry Eirich of Aurora, IL; Lillian, Mrs. Fred Frye in Lockwood, MO; Clara, Mrs. Prof. Weller in Seward, NE; Mary, Mrs. Prof. Streckfuss in Springfield, IL; and Elizabeth, Mrs. Prof. George Mezger in St. Louis, MO.)
    The body, at the wish of the deceased and his former congregation, was taken to New Minden, IL, and given a Christian burial there on 10 August. The funeral was conducted by the present minister of the congregation, Pastor E.F. Koestering. In addition, his friend of many years, Pastor emeritus O. Katthain, spoke at his bier. The service at the altar was led by Pastor E. Koch, and at the grave Pastor A. Groerich officiated. Pastors of neighboring congregations carried him to the grave. May his memory remain blessed among us!"