Rollin S. Reasoner


Rollin Searles Reasoner of Cambridge, died on Feb. 9, 2021. He was 95 years old.

Rollin was born on April 21, 1925, to Shirley W. and Monna Belle Reasoner of New Brighton, MN. After attending grades 1-8 in New Brighton, Rollin graduated from Edison High School in Minneapolis in 1943. In July of that year, Rollie attended tent meetings in Minneapolis and accepted Christ as his Savior. He loved to express his faith in song, and soon after this decision, returned to the piano. He learned to play gospel songs and hymns, teaching himself how to transpose in order to play music in a key at which people could best sing. 

His military service was deferred in order to help his father on the farm, but he was called up in 1944. After basic training at Camp Walters, Texas, Rollin was sent overseas to Leyte Island, Philippines and attached to the Americal Division, 132nd Infantry, C Company. 

On March 26, the Americal Division invaded Cebu Island and Rollin served as first scout and then combat medic for his unit until August, 1945 when Japan surrendered. Rollin was transferred by ship to Yokohama, Japan where he spent a year with the Occupation Forces. During that year he attended G.I. Gospel Hour services every Saturday night and began to preach through an interpreter to people in Japan. 

During that year, Rollin felt called to do missionary work in Japan. From that time on, Rollin was focused on returning to Japan and joined with others to start a mission organization, now known as SEND International. Last year, SEND celebrated 75 years and currently has 500 missionaries all over the world. After he was discharged from the Army in August, 1946, Rollin attended Bethel College for two years and then graduated from Wheaton College in 1950.  

Rollin met Esther Waters at the Medicine Lake Bible Camp in 1947. Rollie saw a beautiful young lady in the choir and he fell in love. They were married on Aug. 13, 1949, and in 1951 with a baby daughter traveled to Japan to begin missionary work. The first task was to learn to speak and read the Japanese language. Rollin was known among missionaries and Japanese Christians not only for his preaching, but also for his mastery of the Japanese language. 

Rollin was elected to serve as SEND’s Field Director for Japan and served in that role for many years, preaching in newly planted churches on weekends. In the last 15 years in Japan, Rollin and Esther started a church in Tachikawa, a city center in western Tokyo. After 42 years in Japan, the Reasoners retired in Cambridge and began traveling to the Ukraine in order to encourage and mentor young missionaries who were entering the country after the breakup of the Soviet Union. For six months in 1993, Rollin (at age 68) and Esther lived in a dormitory in Kiev studying Russian with new missionaries. They made numerous trips to Ukraine for 13 years. Rollin also was interim pastor at Calvary Memorial Church in Navarre, MN from December, 1993 through August, 1997. Rollin and Esther joined First Baptist Church in Cambridge and Rollie was a leader in the Senior Sunday School class for many years.

Rollin was an involved parent who told Japanese friends, “My children are my hobby.” 

Rollin was preceded in death by Esther, his wife of over 70 years, and his sisters Margaret Nerheim and Marion Carlson.

Rollin is survived by daughter Sarah (Mark) Zosel of North Branch; sons Paul (Shari) Reasoner of Cambridge, Jonathan (Chieko) Reasoner of Tokyo, Mark (Wendy) Reasoner of Brownsburg, IN; 14 grandchildren; and five great grandchildren.  

A family-only remembrance and private burial in the Rice Lake Cemetery north of Braham will take place later this week. The family will hold a virtual Celebration of Life later and a link to the service will be made available on the Carlson-Lillemoen Funeral Home website. Condolences at Arrangements by Carlson-Lillemoen Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Cambridge.

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