Pastor Daniel R. Wilch

March 19, 1957 ‒ March 09, 2020

Marion, Ohio
Formerly of Arlington, Ohio

Pastor Daniel R. Wilch, age 62, of Marion, went to be with his Lord and Savior on Monday afternoon, March 9, 2020, at The Ohio State University Medical Center surrounded by his loving family. He had been diagnosed just days prior to his passing with an aggressive form of untreatable cancer.

On March 19, 1957, Dan was born in Bluffton, Ohio, one of four sons of the late Harry R. and Lida E. (Traucht) Wilch.  He was raised in Arlington, Ohio, and graduated from Arlington High School in the class of 1975, where he excelled in track and as a fullback on the football field. He also was an Eagle Scout with Arlington Troop 318, and grew up in the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Jenera, where his mentor and dear friend Pastor Paul W. Frey took Dan under his wing.

Furthering his education and football career, Dan attended Ohio Northern University, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1979.  Feeling the nudge of God to go into the ministry, he next attended Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University, where he earned his Master of Divinity degree and spent his summers working as a counselor at Lutheran Memorial Camp.

Throughout the process of becoming ordained, Dan had some memorable internship experiences in North Dakota and Cincinnati before interning at Faith Lutheran Church in Mount Vernon. It was here the pastor asked him to visit Nancy Kaelber, a recent visitor to the church.  Following this visit Dan and Nancy began dating and quickly knew they were meant for one another. They were married on August 3, 1985, and have shared thirty four years of marriage, lovingly raising three children: Amanda, Abigail, and Matthew.

After his internship at Faith Lutheran Church, Dan was called to his first and lifelong call as pastor at  Timothy Lutheran Church in Marion. He was ordained at his home church in Jenera on March 3, 1985, and was installed as minister at Timothy Lutheran on March 10, 1985.  For just one day shy of thirty-five years, Dan gave his whole heart and soul to his church and community. He helped develop many programs at the church, implementing a community Vacation Bible School with Nancy in 1986, a Good Friday Day Camp program the following decade, and where he ran their Pumpkin Patch for over twenty years to help raise funds for others. When his oldest daughter met and married Marc Dave Bien Aime of Haiti, he became even more committed to raising funds in order to help his son-in-law’s impoverished family in Haiti.  He also opened the church to and helped mentor Boy Scout Troop 46 with Josh Nagel.

A completely selfless, humble,  and loving man, Dan cared for his mother for several years while she was in failing health.  Through this process, he learned to be a caretaker, which then led him to volunteer with Joyce’s Angels for over five years, specializing in helping men suffering from Dementia.

Dan truly lived a life of devotion to his family, his faith, and his church.  Every day, he “talked the talk and walked the walk” of his Christian values. His heart bled for those less  fortunate, and he always tried to help those in need however he could. He also had a passion for youth, and would drive his van all over Marion to pick up kids who otherwise would have been unable to attend church services and activities.

Giving his all to his family, Dan overflowed with love for his wife and children.  He tried to never miss anything his children were involved in, and especially loved watching his baby boy play baseball.

Left to cherish his memory are his beloved wife, Nancy Wilch of Marion; three children: Amanda (Marc Dave) Bien Aime, Abigail (Aaron) Weisberg, and Matthew (Leah DeVore) Wilch; three brothers: Jesse (Judy) Davis, David (Donna) Wilch, and Ron (Karen) Wilch; four nephews and two nieces; mother-in-law, Esther Kaelber; and sister-in-law, Margie (Tom) Black.

His family will greet friends from 4 – 8 pm on Friday, March 13, 2020, at his church, Timothy Lutheran Church, 3004 Marion Mt. Gilead Rd., Marion.  Services honoring his life and celebrating his faith will also be held there at 11 am on Saturday, with Pastor Sarah Schaaf and Bishop Daniel Beaudoin co-officiating.  Burial will follow in Waldo Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to Timothy Lutheran Church with a note in the memo line for funds to be used for either the church or for the Bien Aime family in Haiti.

Snyder Funeral Homes, Denzer Chapel, are honored to serve Pastor Dan’s family and church, and your condolences may be expressed to them by visiting

  • Nancy and family, no words can even come close to how heartbroken are family is for you and your family. We love all of you very much and will stand with you thru all of this. Dan was a very special man, husband, father, and pastor. Love you Dan. R. I. P. The one person that never judged anyone. He could not even hurt a bug or a mouse. I saw him put stink bugs outside so they could fly back in.I saw him open the doors for a mouse one day to send him to safety. Dan, you are amazing. Love to you. Marilyn and family.

  • Thank you. Thank you for your light, your love, your prayers, for pushing me to be a better Christian, for always thinking of me and my family, for every little text, for every kind word and deed, and for so so much more. Pastor Dan you will always be in my heart.
    My prayers, love and my condolences to Nancy, Abby, Amanda, and Mathew find peace in the knowledge of how much he loved you all. And that the congregation love you and are here for anything you may need.

  • I have no words to express the sorrow I feel for Pastor Dan’s family and for our family at Timothy Lutheran. I will profoundly miss the man who taught me grace alone, faith alone, and most importantly, Christ alone. Dan’s witness for Christ has been a light in a very dark world for many people. Yet even now Dan would point us to Jesus. He is not only getting to shout “He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!, ” but he is shouting it in the very presence of the living Christ. This is the comfort and peace Dan shared with so many during his walk on earth. I pray that we will remember Dan’s example and pass it along. Cling to Jesus. Preach the Word. Thank God for our beloved Pastor, servant and friend. Thank God he is now in the shelter of the Most High God, where suffering is no more and tears are wiped away.

  • Dan was a year behind me in school. What a great guy, and such a gentleman. Even when he tackled an opponent on the football field he helped them up and asked if they were alright!! R.I.P., Dan!!

  • So sorry for the lost of such a wonderful brother. Your family has always had a special place in the Frey family hearts. We knew from early on that Dan would become an awesome & faithful pastor. He will be welcomed into heaven by my dad, waiting to play Rummy with him!!

  • Nancy, I am so very sorry for your loss. May your memories help keep him alive in your heart.
    January 28,1986 Pastor Dan was in my styling chair getting a haircut when the Challenger Spacecraft exploded. As the news outlet began to replay that horrific event, Pastor Dan took my hands and began to pray for the souls lost that day as well as their loved ones left behind… that day will forever be etched in my mind. Humble, unassuming, and constant is how I have always remembered him. My thoughts are with you.

  • Dear Nancy and family,

    Though saddened by the news, I am heartened to learn of a life well lived and filled with love. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

    Francine Butler, Delaware, Ohio

  • What a nice friend Dan Wilch was. His father and mine were good, good friends. Although he was 3 yrs older, he never missed a moment to talk to me. We will see him again.

  • Very sorry to hear of Dan’s passing. Dan was one of my best friends in high school, we were captains of the football team, played basketball and ran track together. He was the hardest working most dedicated person, also very humble and caring. You will be missed, until we meet again.

  • So sorry for your loss. May God bless you and your family. Dan was a men of men and an excellent example for all this on Earth.

  • Pastor Dan,
    I can’t begin to express what you meant to my girls and me while they were growing up in your wonderful church, TLC. Thank you so much for everything you did for not only Ambrosia, Ivy, and Cloie, but also everything you did for me. I may not attend church as much as I should but I have the utmost respect and love for you and Nancy. Thank you for accepting my girls and me into the TLC family. Godspeed on your new journey, I know your still going to be a faithful servent of God like you were on this sometimes unforgiving earth.

  • My heart goes out to you and your family. I pray that God will keep you uplifted and in His care during this difficult time.

  • So sad for the loss of such a caring loving man i will miss him very much. He touched so many lives he was always there when anyone needed him he will be deeply missed.

  • So sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you and your family during this difficult time. Dan was such a caring and gentle soul, he not only took great care of my father during his illness, but the family as well.
    I know he is at peace and resting in God’s arms .

  • Nita and I send our sincere sympathy to the family. May you be comforted during this time of loss.

  • To: The Family of Pastor Dan Wilch: We are members of St. Paul, Jenera, and remember his faithfulness and examples of Christian love and service. With sympathy, Mary & Stephen Cowan

  • Dan was the reason I stayed in the faith and was there for me at a time I wondered what I had even been born for. He helped launch me.

  • Dan Wilch Family:
    We fondly remember Dan from St. Paul Lutheran Church and from the football field at Arlington. What a great guy!

  • Dear Nancy and Family,
    I was saddened to learn of Dan’s sudden passing from Mike Easley this morning, but grateful for Mike’s call. I remember well the Dan who is praised in all the greetings sent to you and his family.
    Dan was a blessing to youth and all ages during his internship year at Faith Lutheran in Mt. Vernon and to me personally as his supervising pastor.
    I remember well sending him on an “evangelism call” to visit you.
    Ruthann and I pray that God’s grace and comfort, strengthen and keep you safe and blessed as your husband is now.
    Pastor Roy E. Godfrey, Retired

  • Nancy, and family,

    Our families were sorry to hear of your husbands passing and are thinking of you , your children and your mother and sister during this difficult time. May your memories and his service to the church bring you comfort during this difficult time . The families of Harry and Grace Radel ( cousins)
    Marilyn and Bob
    Karen and Tom
    Howard and Marlene
    Loren and Tina

  • Much love to you who remain. We are forever grateful for this man and the love for Christ he shared with us all. 💕

  • Although I was 3 yrs behind Dan in school, he was always kind to me and everyone he met. A true gentleman and man of God. Wishing comfort and blessings to his family.

  • Time and distance might bring to a close the formality of a friendship. Regretfully, I acknowledge this. Still, I have not had a month go by in these past many years that I have not thought and chuckled about the goodness of pastoral play with my friend, Dan, and the cherished times routinely tossing a Nerf football back & forth and all around the local Big Lots store. I learned a lot from my friend. Dan will rest in peace because he most certainly is a good and faithful servant of our benevolent God. We are all blessed to have been loved by such a man.

  • To Pastor Dan’s family,

    Sorry to learn of Pastor Dan’s untimely passing. We had the opportunity to see Dan grow into an outstanding young man through the years at Arlington then Ohio Northern and seminary. We all at St. Paul’s Jenera were very proud of him especially on the day of his ordination into the ministry. We had the opportunity to attend his church service’s on several occasions through the years. May the Lord Grant you all his peace and comfort at this difficult time.
    Paul & Sharon

  • “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

    Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University offers thanks to God for the life and faithful ministry of Pastor Wilch. .

    “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

    Kit Kleinhans, Dean

  • To Pastor Dan’s family,

    Dan was a good friend at AHS, roommate at ONU, and Best Man in my wedding. He was a model of constant faith, dedication, sportsmanship, Brotherhood, and had a quiet, dry humor and wit. His passing is a loss for humanity.