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In Memory . . . Donald Warren Male (1926-2008)

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 Donald Warren Male.  He died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease on August 14, 2008 at Boulevard Terrace Nursing Home in Murfreesboro, TN.  He was 86.

Mr. Male was born on April 12, 1922 in Niskayuna, NY, to Charles Thomas and Mildred Schairer Male.  He attended Union College in Schenectady, NY, graduating in 1943 with a BS in chemistry.  He was recruited by NACA (now NASA) in Cleveland, OH, to help design airplanes. He tried to join the U.S. Air Corp, but was blocked by The War Manpower Act because his work was considered vital to the war effort. He attended night classes at Case Western Reserve and received an MS in physics in 1950.

In 1952 he was recruited by the Department of Defense and worked in an advisory capacity at the Pentagon.  Mr. Male moved to Manchester, TN, in 1954 to work for the U.S. Air Force as a Long Range Planner at AEDC (now Arnold Center). He was a consultant to several corporations on space research, and he presented papers at conferences in various U.S. cities and London, England.  The U.S. Air Force selected him as a fellow to the Sloane School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received an MBA in 1958.

During his scientific career, Mr. Male met Orville Wright who attended a presentation Mr. Male made; he also met Senator John F. Kennedy, Dr. Theodore von Karman, astronaut Neil Armstrong, and Dr. Norman Weiner, father of cybernetics.

After taking early retirement, Mr. Male enrolled in Vanderbilt University Divinity School, and in 1976 he received a D. Min.  He was ordained and installed as minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tullahoma, TN, in December 1973.  He served that congregation for 25 years and was honored as minister emeritus upon retirement.

He was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) in 1977 and served in this position for ten years, the last two years as Secretary of the Board.

His hobbies included canoeing and astronomy. He taught canoeing at a boys’ camp in Vermont; he founded and was president of the Middle Tennessee Astronomical Society and led workshops across the Southeast.

His friend and UUA executive vice president Kay Montgomery said "Don was a devoted Unitarian Universalist, involved locally, with his district, with the Southeast Summer Institute, and at the continental level, serving on the UUA Board of Trustees for ten years.  He was a beloved figure in all those venues, a charming raconteur, and was doggedly determined that small congregations be given support by the Association.  I knew him for decades, beginning with district work in the southeast, where he was omnipresent!”

Survivors include his wife, Sue Anderson Male, of Murfreesboro, TN; his three daughters, Sherry Male (Terry Komp) of Nashville, TN, Peggy (Jay) Lenny of Tampa, FL, Connie McCormick of McMinnville, TN; his two step-children, Jennifer Nourse of Richmond, VA, Carl E.P. Williams of Moore, SC: his sister Janette Burger and brother Kenneth J. Male of Niskayuna, NY.  He also leaves three grandchildren and four step-grandchildren.  Rev. Male was predeceased by his parents and three brothers, Charles T. Male, Jr., William J. Male and Theodore Male.

A memorial service will be held Nov. 29, 2008 at 2:00 pm at the Tullahoma UU Church, 3536 New Manchester Hwy 55, Tullahoma, TN.  Rev. Dan Rosemergy will officiate. Donations may be made in Rev. Male’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association, Caris Healthcare (hospice), 805 S. Church St., Ste 1, Murfreesboro, TN 37130 or to the Tullahoma UU Church, Box 331, Tullahoma, TN 37388.  Please send messages of condolence to Sue Anderson Male, 1420 Mohawk Trail, Murfreesboro, TN 37129-6506.

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