March 13, 2016
We give thanks for the life and service of Dr. David J. Draewell, former Sioux Falls Seminary president, who died Sunday morning, March 13, 2016. We thank God for you, Dr. Draewell, and for the impact you made in our lives and in the lives of our students and alumni. The entire seminary community offers our condolences and prayers to Betty, Tim and Julie, and the entire Draewell family.
Draewell, who was born on April 22, 1929, served as Sioux Falls Seminary’s ninth president from 1970-1981. He was officially installed into office on Friday, November 19, 1971, along with Dr. Gerald Borchert as dean. He joined the seminary from the North American Baptist Conference headquarters, where he had served as secretary of stewardship and higher education.
Under his leadership, the seminary focused on advancing its mission, and the seminary expanded on multiple fronts. Increased enrollment, degree program development, accreditation with the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, construction of student apartment buildings, and addition of administrative and staff positions are among the changes that took place during Draewell’s eleven years in office.
In a special chapel service during the seminary’s 2008 sesquicentennial celebration, Draewell described his presidency as a time of growth: growth in the size of the student body, growth of programs, growth in faculty, and growth in physical footprint.
Draewell was an ordained minister, graphic arts collector, oriental gardener, devoted husband, and father. He was described as being a vibrant individual, revealing his enthusiasm for youth, his family, and life. In addition to his work with the North American Baptist Conference office, he also served churches in Michigan and Ohio.
In retirement, David and wife Betty lived in Bradenton, FL. They remained committed to the mission of Sioux Falls Seminary and showed their support in many ways, often returning to Sioux Falls to give the gift of service. In 2014, they relocated from Bradenton to Sioux Falls to be closer to their son, Tim, and his family.
Plans for cremation and a private service are pending.
(Dr. Draewell is pictured above with his wife, Betty, at the seminary’s former Worship and Leadership Centre after the two spent a week beautifying the campus.)