Cover photo for Rev. Dr. Morris G.C. Vaagenes's Obituary
Rev. Dr. Morris G.C. Vaagenes Profile Photo
1929 Morris 2023

Rev. Dr. Morris G.C. Vaagenes

September 30, 1929 — May 8, 2023


Age 93 of Shoreview; passed away May 8, 2023.

Preceded in death by parents; sons, Paul and Mark;
and sisters, Lois and Adelaide.

Survived by loving wife of 69 years, Bonnie; daughter, Lois Ziolkowski; son, Dr. Timothy (Rhonda) Vaagenes; grandchildren, Kaye (Derek) Finch, Tim Jr. (Sarah) Vaagenes, Andrew (Amanda) Ziolkowski, Joel Ziolkowski, and Sarah (Josh) Magnuson; eight great-grandchildren; brother, Carl (Ruth) Vaagenes; nieces, nephews and a host of friends.

Pastor Vaagenes was a visionary leader, gifted preacher, and inspired teacher. From the time he was a young child he knew he was going to be a pastor and his vision was to be a lifelong missionary to Madagascar. Pastor Vaagenes graduated from Westbrook High School, then went on to attend Augsburg College & Seminary, receiving his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Theology. He then went on to attend Luther Seminary, where he received his Master of Theology and Doctor of Ministry. After graduating from Seminary, he and his wife, Bonnie, lived in Paris for a year in preparation for their missionary work in Madagascar. While in Paris, their first child was born. In 1956, their second child was born in Madagascar, however, a year later due to his health they returned to the United States. Leaving Madagascar was a painful experience, but it was part of God’s greater plan for their lives. Instead of being a missionary to a little fishing village in Madagascar, the world became their mission field.

Upon returning from Madagascar, Pastor Vaagenes served two rural perishes: Christiania Lutheran Free Church, Farmington, MN and Trondheim Lutheran Free Church, in Lonsdale, MN. While serving at those churches third child was born.

In 1961 Pastor Vaagenes was called to serve at North Heights Lutheran Free Church in Roseville, MN. A year later, their fourth child was born. Pastor Vaagenes served as senior pastor until he retired in 1999. Following his retirement from NHLC, Pastor Vaagenes was interim pastor at five additional churches.

He was a true mentor, shepherd, and friend, investing his life for revival throughout the world. He was one of the leaders of the Lutheran charismatic renewal. In 1971, Pastor Vaagenes together with other pastors, founded the International Lutheran Renewal Center, which was located at North Heights and in 1972 they held the first Holy Spirit Conference. The largest conference was held in 1975 with over 25, 000 in attendance. Under his visionary leadership North Heights and the Lutheran renewal movement experienced tremendous growth and had a world-wide impact. Pastor Vaagenes’s ministry spanned across several denominations, and he was instrumental in founding numerous ministries.

Pastor Vaagenes’s great love was North Heights Lutheran Church and he was forever grateful for the many leaders that helped develop the deep spiritual roots that led to North Height’s spiritual growth and influence throughout the world. He went on to write the book, A Church on Fire, which includes the history of North Heights. He also authored Baptism: God’s Activity of Grace and was a regular contributing author for Connection Magazine.

Pastor Vaagenes’ love for the Lord and his family continued to grow throughout the years. He was blessed to have his entire family live near him and he enjoyed frequent family get togethers.

In his final days on earth he continued to give thanks in all circumstances and was blessed to be surrounded by his family.

He is now in heaven greeting people “GOOD MORNING” and saying, “This is the day the Lord hath made we WILL rejoice and be glad in it!”

Today we honor the Reverend Doctor Morris Vaagenes, Pastor Emeritus of North Heights Lutheran Church. Pastor Vaagenes was a visionary leader, gifted preacher, and inspired teacher. He has been a true mentor, shepherd, and friend, investing his life for the sake of the Holy Spirit’s renewal of the Lutheran church in the US and internationally.

Celebration of Life will be 3 PM Saturday, May 13 at NORTH HEIGHTS LUTHERAN CHURCH, 1700 W. Hwy 96., Arden Hills, MN. Visitation at the church on Saturday from 1-3 PM.

The service will be livestreamed at live.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Rev. Dr. Morris G.C. Vaagenes, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, May 13, 2023

1:00 - 3:00 pm (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Starts at 3:00 pm (Central time)


Click to watch

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree