The Rev. Edgar Child Peara died on February 22, 2014 at the age of 92. Edgar was born in Moline, Illinois on July 22, 1921, to A. Conrad Westling and Grace Child. His mother, Grace, remarried A.T. Peara and as an adult, Edgar assumed Peara as his last name. He graduated from The Principia College in 1947 with a Bachelor of Arts, and worked as a Registered Christian Science practitioner for eleven years. He left the Christian Science faith in 1958, and enrolled in seminary. He graduated Meadville Lombard Theological School in 1962 with a Bachelor of Divinity.
Ordained to the Universalist ministry in 1963, Rev. Peara was first called to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Springfield, VT, and the Universalist Church of Chester Depot, VT. He served the two linked congregations until 1967. He was next called to the Lake Shore Unitarian Society of Wilmette, IL, at which he served from 1967 to 1976. He went on to serve the New Trier Unitarian Society, of Wilmette, IL from 1977 to 1987, and the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Park Forest, IL, from 1987 to 1997. The Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Park Forest voted him Minister Emeritus in 1997.
Rev. Peara faithfully served the denomination and his community. He was President of both the New Hampshire/Vermont and the Central Midwest Districts; Social Action Consultant to the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee; and President of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association’s Chicago Area Liberal Ministers’ Group. He spent four years practicing as an abortion counselor for the Chicago Area Clergy Counseling Service for Problem Pregnancies and founded the North Shore Peace Initiative, in Illinois, and Veterans for Peace, in Oregon. Post-retirement, he worked for over forty-two different volunteer organizations in Eugene, OR, and volunteered until the age of ninety-one.
Prior to his call to ministry, Rev. Peara served the Combat Engineers Corps, from 1942 to 1946, as a lieutenant and company adjutant. In 2010, he was named a Knight of the French Legion of Honor.
Rev. Peara was interested in travel, art, movies, sports, and ballroom dancing. He was an avid traveler; in 2000, he spent several months in Auckland, New Zealand and served as Interim Minister at Auckland Unitarian Church. His son, Tim, remembers his father for valuing family, and collecting and telling jokes. He describes his father as a "kind and generous man,” who was ""very concerned about the community in which he lived.”
Rev. Peara is survived by sons, Chris Peara (Julie Mello), Jon Peara (Josie), Tim Peara (Carolyn), and Andy Peara (Alison); stepchildren, Portia Blackman (Dave), Allan Ball, Leah Pahlmeyer (Perry), and Sarah Taylor (Tim); ten grandchildren; two great grandchildren; two nieces; one nephew; and one cousin.
A Celebration of Life was held on May 17, 2014, at 2:00 p.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene, 1685 West 13th Avenue, Eugene, OR, 97402.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Rev. Peara to The Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene, Unity of the Valley, Nearby Nature, The Village School, Red Cross of Lane County, Community Alliance of Lane County, Friends of Buford Park, or Friends of Hendricks Park.