The Reverend Dr. William J. Metzger died on Jan. 30, 2010, in Denton, Texas. He was 73 years old.
Rev. Metzger was born on December 23, 1936, in Mitchell, South Dakota, to William J. and Tillie Metzger. He graduated from South Dakota State University in 1958 with a degree in Journalism. After a career as reporter and editor with newspapers in Iowa, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, he joined United Migrant Opportunity Services. There he worked to improve conditions for migrant workers and taught English as a Second Language and Adult Basic Education. He was a co-founder and partner of Organization Training Associates, Inc. in Milwaukee, which designed adult education programs for individuals and organizations. Among these were programs on organizational development and conflict management offered to area businesses, government organizations, and churches in Milwaukee, Chicago, and Minneapolis. During those years, he served as a member of the Greater Milwaukee Conference on Religion and Urban Affairs and on the Waukesha Board of Education. Additionally, he became increasingly involved in the leadership of the Unitarian Church West in Brookfield, Wisconsin, eventually determining to become a UU minister.
In 1979, Rev. Metzger earned a Master of Divinity from the University of Chicago and a Doctor of Ministry from Meadville Lombard Theological School. He was ordained in 1978 at the Unitarian Church West in Brookfield, WI, before being called to the UU Church in Elgin, IL, where he served for 7 years. He joined the staff of the Theosophical Society in America and served as editor of The American Theosophist, their monthly journal, and founding editor of the society’s magazine, Quest – a quarterly journal of philosophy, religion, science, and the arts.
After 10 years with the Society, Rev. Metzger joined the professional interim ministry program for the Unitarian Universalist Association and served the following congregations: First Unitarian Universalist Society, Marietta, GA; First Universalist Church, Rochester, NY; Unitarian Universalist Church, Huntsville, AL; Third Unitarian Church, Chicago, IL; Countryside Church UU, Palatine, IL; The First UU Church of Nashville, TN; and First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, PA. In 2007, he served as co-minister with his wife, Rev. Diana Heath, at the Denton, Texas UU Fellowship, where he served until his retirement in April 2009.
Rev. Metzger leaves his wife, Rev. Diana Heath; his son, David Metzger of Elgin, Illinois, daughter-in-law, Jessica, and grandson Nick; his daughter, Christine Dziawura of Phoenix, Arizona, son-in-law Mark, and grandsons Connor and Cole; and sister, Dorothy Johnson of Minnesota. He was preceded in death by his spouse of 37 years, Sarah Castle, and his sister, Donna.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Living Tradition Fund which provides scholarships for seminary students. You may send contributions to UUA Living Tradition Fund, 25 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108.
A memorial service was held at the Denton UU Fellowship, Denton, Texas, Rev. Davidson Loehr officiating, with Rev. Dennis Hamilton, on behalf of Southwest UUMA colleagues. A second memorial service took place at the UU Church of Elgin, Illinois, Rev. Dan Brosier officiating.
Please send notes of condolence to Rev. Diana Heath, 1111 Cordell Street, Denton, Texas 76201.