The Rev. Dr. Robert “Bob” Harold MacPherson died on January 20, 2018 at the age of 92.
Bob was born on February 9, 1925 in Boston, MA to Harold S. MacPherson and Doris Hicks MacPherson. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from Massachusetts’s Tufts University in 1947, then earned his Bachelor of Sacred Theology from Tufts’s Crane Theological Seminary in 1948. Bob then married his beloved wife Ann Marie Haggerty MacPherson in 1949. And in 1965 and 1968 (respectively) he earned a Master’s degree and then a PhD from New York’s Syracuse University, where he specialized in speech pathology.
Rev. Dr. MacPherson was ordained on June 27, 1948 by Massachusetts’s West Somerville Universalist Church; in that same period, he entered fellowship as a Unitarian minister. Rev. Dr. MacPherson was first called to serve the First Universalist Church of Auburn, ME from 1954 to 1962. He was then called to the First Universalist Church of North Attleboro, MA for two years; then in 1963 he was called to the First Universalist Society of Central Square, NY, where he served until 1966. Rev. Dr. MacPherson then had a long career as a medical professional, though he always remained in Associate Fellowship with the UUA. He was Chief of Audiology and Speech Pathology Service at the VA Medical Center in Center-Asheville, NC from 1970 until his retirement in 1993.
While working in medicine, Rev. Dr. MacPherson would occasionally preach and conduct special services at UU churches, including at Clemson, SC; Oak Ridge, TN; St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, and Tampa, FL; and Greensboro, Hendersonville, and Asheville, NC. At Asheville Bob was also active for a time on the church’s Social Responsibility Committee. He also served on the Continental Advisory Committee for the UUA’s Church of the Larger Fellowship. And Bob would regularly attend events of the UUA’s Thomas Jefferson District (now part of the Southern Region), as well as the Southeast UU Summer and Winter Institutes.
In his spare time, Bob was a member of Western Carolinians for Criminal Justice, Planned Parenthood, and Pisgah Legal Services. He was active in the Asheville Community Theater, including as an actor and a singer—noted for his ease in projecting his voice to the very back of the room. He was also heavily involved with Asheville Chamber Music, which would often perform at the UU Congregation of Asheville. Bob also enjoyed gardening, fishing, singing, toy-mending, and travelling the world with his wife Ann: The pair visited such places as Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Russia, Germany, Austria, and the Galapagos Islands. And Bob treasured time spent with his family.
He is survived by his son Ralph MacPherson, five grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and his brother David MacPherson. He was predeceased by his wife Ann Marie Haggerty MacPherson and his son Robert Owen MacPherson.
A memorial service was held on January 29, 2018 at the UU Congregation of Asheville, 1 Edwin Pl, Asheville, NC 28801. Notes of condolence may be sent to Ralph MacPherson at 99 Garren Creek Rd, Fairview, NC 28730.