Alfred G. Belles, ’31, ’34S, ’60H, a retired minister and former member of Wittenberg’s Board of Directors, died in El Paso, Texas, Feb. 6, 1999. He was 89.
President of the former Michigan Synod of the United Lutheran Church in America, Belles’ first congregations were St. Mark’s and Memorial Lutheran Churches in Louisville, Ky. This ministry ended with Pearl Harbor.
During World War II, Belles served as a chaplain with the U.S. Army. During his tour of duty, Belles traveled to Camp Crowder, Mo., and the Pribilof Islands of Alaska.
At his tour’s conclusion, Belles was called to Holy Communion Lutheran Church in Detroit.
Under his leadership from 1945 to 1963, the one-time storefront mission with 100 members increased to a thriving congregation of more than 900 worshipping in a building complex occupying an entire city block.
In addition, Belles had his church create a ministerial scholarship, which helped nearly 12 men and women go into full-time ministries. In 1963, the family moved to El Paso where Belles served as pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.
At the same time, he served as president of the board of the El Paso Rescue Mission. In this position, he elevated the social impact, economic stability and administrative professionalism of the agency.
Belles retired as pastor emeritus of St. Paul’s in 1988, and in his retirement, he collected ancient Biblical coins.
He is survived by his wife, J. Marie Schneider Belles, ’31, two sons, A. Gilbert Belles, ’62, and Robert M. Belles, ’57, ’60S, and a daughter-in-law, Barbara Hahn Belles, ’58. The family established the Belles Family Scholarship at Wittenberg last year.