Nelvin Vos July 11, 1932 - March 19, 2024

Nelvin Vos, 91, of Maxatawny died on March 19 at home. He was the husband of Beverly (Drew) Vos. They celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary this past August 15th. Born in rural Minnesota, he was the son of Charley Vos and Jeanette (Den Ouden) Vos. He was on the faculty of Muhlenberg College from 1965-2000 and served as Professor of English, English department head, Vice President, and Dean of the College. He lectured at a dozen institutions and was a Visiting Professor at Texas Tech University and the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. He was a graduate of Calvin College and earned his M.A. and PhD from the University of Chicago. Author of a dozen books on drama and the ministry of the laity, he was elected a Fellow of the Society of Values in Higher Education.  His major professional interest in his teaching and scholarship was the relationship of religion and the arts. Nelvin had a deep sense of his calling as a teacher and writer.

He was elected a Fellow of the Society for the Arts, Religion and Contemporary Culture where he served as president and later as Executive Director. Nelvin was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Allentown, where he served on the Vestry and as a teacher as well as assisting in worship.  He was also involved in the Arts at St. John’s.

Nelvin held many leadership positions in synodical and national organization boards of the Lutheran Church in America, on its Executive Council, chair of the Division for Ministry and chair of several studies on the ministry of the laity. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia for several terms. Nelvin was also elected many times as a delegate to the national assemblies of the Lutheran Church. He served on the Board of Trustees of the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network beginning in 1989, as chair from 1996-2000, and more recently as Trustee Emeritus. He was the founding convener of the Disability Friendly Community of the Lehigh Valley. He loved flowers, both growing and arranging them, perhaps motivated by his Dutch blood. Nelvin and his wife and family traveled extensively. He enjoyed the theater and escorted students and other groups to various theaters, here and abroad. Reading and jigsaw puzzles occupied his leisure time.

Survivors include his wife, Beverly, and his three children. Christine Anne Namba, and husband, Tetsuya, Osaka, Japan; Alicia Joan Vos Moore and husband Glen, Fairfield Township, OH and David Drew Vos and fiancée Tracy Ream, Kempton, and five grandchildren: Andrew and husband Nick Feller, Alexander Moore, Michael and Olivia Vos, and Tatiana Namba.

Services: A Memorial Service to celebrate Nelvin’s life has been set for Saturday July 13th 10:00 AM at the Muhlenberg College Chapel. There will be refreshments available after the service at the Miller Forum housed in the nearby Moyer Hall. Arrangements by Stephens Funeral Home, Inc., Allentown.

Contributions in lieu of flowers- St John’s Lutheran Church, 37 S. 5th St. Allentown or Muhlenberg College Scholarship Fund.


Please feel free to publicly share any memories, photos or videos below.

Private Message The Family

Send a private message to the family...

Private Message Form