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In Memory of... Andrew G. Rosenberger (1918-2013)

Posted By Administration, Friday, July 12, 2013

The Rev. Andrew George Rosenberger died on May 31, 2013 at the age of 94.

Rev. Rosenberger was born in Oak Park, IL on August 21, 1918 to Emily Williams and Andrew Fretz Rosenberger. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College in 1941. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from Harvard Divinity School in 1944.

Rev. Rosenberger was ordained at the First Congregational Unitarian Church of Northborough, MA on June 25, 1944. He served the First Congregational Unitarian Church of Northborough, MA from 1944-1950. Later, he served the First Parish Church of Groton, MA from 1963-1979. He was honored with the titles of Minister Emeritus of the First Congregational Unitarian Church of Northborough (now the First Parish Northborough, Unitarian Universalist) in 1950; and of the First Parish in Groton in 1979. He officially retired from ministry in 1979.

An early advocate of healthy living, in 1961 Rev. Rosenberger published Eat Your Way to Better Health (Bobbs-Merrill, 1961), a healthy food and lifestyle manual. He continued to lecture across the country on health and nutrition.

In 1983, Rev. Rosenberger purchased Hillbrook Orchards, an apple orchard in Groton, MA. He became a committed conservationist. Rev. Rosenberger would often lead sunrise worship services among the apple blossoms from the top of the Orchard’s highest hill.

Rev. Rosenberger spent a lifetime actively involved in various civic causes. For over 50 years, Rev. Rosenberger served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Protestant Guild for the Blind, which served children at the Perkins School for the Blind as well as other visually handicapped and blind people. He was also President of the Wellesley, MA School Board; a founding member of the Unitarian Christian Fellowship in Groton, MA; and President of the Groton Council of Churches, also in Groton, MA.

On the subject of gratitude, Rev. Rosenberger once noted:

If I were to make a short list of my gratitude to others at this time, it would include: my mother and father whose faith, hope, love and benevolent spirit inspired me to enter the ministry; Harvard College and Harvard Divinity School which helped me to prepare for that sacred calling; my marriage to Willamena Parks whom I had courted for three years at Radcliffe before our wedding at Christ Church in Cambridge a week after graduation; and the intimate contacts with men and women and children in the churches I served in nearly every condition and circumstance, sharing their births and deaths, hopes and fears, joys and sorrows, successes and disappointments, as I tried in some small measure to help make their lives a little better and more meaningful… The longer I live, the more important it seems to me for all of us to be engaged in some form of human service. To find real satisfaction and true peace of mind, we have to recognize at least a few of the endless opportunities to fulfill our obligation to life by tangibly reaching out to the physically and mentally challenged – the often forgotten people who need our help so badly, more than ever, because of the systematic reduction in public funding for their care and support. When Billie and I look at our fifty five years of happily married life together with our four children and their spouses, our ten grandchildren, and our great grandchild, all of whom have filled our lives with abiding joy, we enter our golden years together with heartfelt thanks for all our blessings and with great expectations for the days ahead.

Rev. Rosenberger is survived by daughter, Wilhelmina Gustavson; sons, Eric Rosenberger, Karl Rosenberger, and Leif Rosenberger; ten grandchildren; and five great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife, Willamena "Billie” Rosenberger.

There was a memorial service June 8, 2013 at the First Parish Church in Groton, MA.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First Parish Church, 1 Powder House Rd., Groton, MA 01450.

Notes of condolence may be sent to Eric Rosenberger at 29 Auburn St, Concord, NH 03301; or via email at

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