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In Memory . . . Paul H. Bicknell (1923-2008)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group inform you of the death of the Reverend Paul H. Bicknell.  He died on May 31, 2008 at the Life Care Center of Medina, OH, from complications of a heart attack.  He was 84.

Rev. Bicknell was born on September 5, 1923 in Potsdam, NY to Herbert and Lula Bicknell.  He graduated from Canton Theological School of St. Lawrence University in 1949.  He was ordained by the Northern New York Conference of the Methodist Church and served that denomination for several years before affiliating with the Universalist Church of America.  He was granted full fellowship with the Universalist Church on November 15, 1958.

Rev. Bicknell was called by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Elgin, IL in 1957 and served there until 1972.  The history of the Elgin church says that during Rev. Bicknell’s term as minister, the church "began a decade of activism and community involvement... the local Mental Health Clinic was born in our church. The Community Concern for Alcoholism had its initial meetings in our building... The church and its members were active leaders of social change in such issues as women's rights, support of abortion reform, open housing, civil rights and the American Indian rights movement. The church facilities were loaned for peace groups and draft counseling during the Vietnam War.”

Following his time in Elgin, Rev. Bicknell held several Community Ministry positions, working with older adults.  He then served a number of congregations as Interim Minister, including First Unitarian Church of Hobart, IN; Community Unitarian of White Plains, NY; All Souls Unitarian Church of Kansas City, MO; the Unitarian Society of New Haven, CT; West Shore UU Church of Rocky River, OH; Jefferson Unitarian Church of Golden, CO; the Universalist Church of West Hartford, CT; and the Unitarian Fellowship of London, Ontario.

Rev. Bicknell is survived by his sons, Richard (Carmen) and Brian, by his daughter, Deborah Leader, and by seven devoted nieces and nephews.  He also leaves his long time friend, Mary Anne Kehoe Ford of Manchester, IA.  

A memorial service for Rev. Bicknell was held at West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church, 20401 Hilliard Blvd., Rocky River, Ohio on June 9, 2008.  The service was led by Rev. Midge Skwire, assisted by Revs. Wayne Arnason and Kathleen Rolenz.

Please send messages of condolence to Mary Anne Kehoe Ford, 170 Prospect St. Manchester, IA 52057.

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