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In Memory . . . Jean Lois Witman Gilpatrick
 (1925-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Jean Witman Gilpatrick died on June 4, 2009 in Bethesda, Maryland.  She was 84. Rev. Gilpatrick was born on April 4, 1925, in East Orange, New Jersey, to Margaret Jeanetta Nietman and William Uhler Witman.  She graduated with a BA in Sociology from Connecticut College for Women in 1947.  After college she received a Danforth Graduate Fellowship for one year of interdenominational religious work at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.  In 1949, she traveled with her husband, Thomas Gilpatrick, to Denmark where they participated in a Danish program called Folkhighschool.

During the 1950’s and 60’s, while raising her children, Rev. Gilpatrick earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree from the University of Chicago.  She also held a variety of positions.  She was Assistant Minister for the Wesley Foundation in Chicago; directed the Interns in Industry program for the American Friends Service Committee in East Chicago, Indiana; and taught bible classes through the Universal Christian Association at Penn State University, among others.  In 1966, she traveled with her family to Hyderabad, India, where she conducted independent study in the philosophies and religions of India.  Upon her return, she was Assistant Professor at both the Virginia Seminary of Lynchburg, Virginia, and Central Virginia Community College teaching courses in Philosophy and Religion.

Early in the 1960’s Rev. Gilpatrick, with her husband and his colleague from Sweet Briar College, drafted a letter to the editor signed by about 70 faculty and staff members from three white Lynchburg area colleges supporting the rights of blacks to picket stores, lunch counters, and movie theaters.  Many black leaders later said this was the first evidence they had seen locally of group support for civil rights.  She continued her college teaching during the 1970’s; worked as an art therapist; and offered workshops in Death, Grief, & Loss, and Feminist Theology.  In 1977 she earned a Doctor of Ministry from Meadville Lombard Theological School. 

In 1981, Rev. Gilpatrick was ordained at the First Unitarian Church of Lynchburg, VA.  She was called to the First Unitarian Church of Alton, Illinois and served there from 1983 until 1985.  In 1987 she served as Interim minister to the UU Society of Northern Fairfield County in West Redding, Connecticut.  When she wasn’t serving these congregations, Rev. Gilpatrick was a visiting and consulting minister to various congregations.  She preached, taught adult education classes, chaired district committees, was an active member of the National Organization for Women and the UU Women’s Federation and served on the executive committee of Citizens to Save Civil and Religious Freedom.

Rev. Gilpatrick is survived by her daughters, Diana Gilpatrick of Potomac, MD, and Morgan Gilpatrick of Bowie MD; her grandchildren, Charlotte Andrea Albrecht, Thomas Brian Gilpatrick Dagget, and Samuel William Gilpatrick Dagget; her brother, William P. Witman of Locust, NJ; and many nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Jefferson Choral Society, P. O. Box 4623, Lynchburg, VA 24502, the Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave, Fl 17, Chicago, IL 60601, or the Unitarian Universalist Retired Ministers’ and Partners’ Association, c/o Nancy Doughty, 12055 S Woodwinds Circle # 13, Traverse City, MI 49684.

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In Memory . . . Forrest Church (1948-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Forrest Church, acclaimed author of more than two dozen books and longtime minister of the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City, died on September 24, 2009, following a three-year battle with esophageal cancer. He was sixty-one years old. Church is survived by his children, Frank, Nina, Jacob and Nathan, and by his wife, Carolyn Buck Luce.

"I join thousands of Unitarian Universalists and Americans in mourning the loss of Forrest Church,” said Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) President Peter Morales today. "We have lost a brilliant and articulate thinker, a champion of democratic values, and a compelling advocate for liberal religion. More importantly, we have lost a kind, thoughtful, and loving spirit. What courage and grace he showed in his final years. Even as we feel our loss, let us be grateful for his enduring legacy.”

The son of former U.S. Senator Frank Church (D-Idaho) and grandson of former Idaho Governor Chase A. Clark, Forrest Church earned his Ph.D. in early church history from Harvard University in 1978, and began his career at All Souls that same year. Selected from approximately twenty-five applicants for the position, Church was twenty-nine years old. He served All Souls from then until his death.

During Church’s tenure at the congregation, All Souls flourished. Over the past three decades, membership at All Souls has more than tripled. With over 1,400 members, All Souls is one of the largest congregations in the Unitarian Universalist Association today.

As All Souls grew, so too did Church’s prominence as a public voice for Unitarian Universalism and for social justice. He was a strong proponent of both religious and political liberalism. In 1985, he led All Souls Church in learning about AIDS and providing direct services to AIDS sufferers. New York reporter Bernice Kanner wrote that year, "The mobilization of All Souls was among the first religious responses to the disease.”

In 1986, Church told the Boston Globe, "…generally, politicians try to change society for the betterment of the individual. I like to change the individual for the betterment of society.” Through his work as a minister and a public intellectual, Church profoundly influenced both individuals and society.

Church reached a wide audience through the approximately two dozen books that he authored or edited in the course of his career. He published his first book, Father and Son: A Personal Biography of Senator Frank Church of Idaho, in 1985. His other prominent works include Our Chosen Faith: An Introduction to Unitarian Universalism (1989, co-authored with John Buehrens), The American Creed (2002), So Help Me God: The Founding Fathers and the First Great Battle over Church and State (2007), and Love and Death (2008). Church’s final book, The Cathedral of the World: A Universalist Theology, will be published by Beacon Press in November.

At the UUA’s 2008 General Assembly, Church received the Award for Distinguished Service to the Cause of Unitarian Universalism, the most prestigious award given by the UUA. "Let us never forget what a privilege it is to be part of this great movement and to pronounce its saving faith: one Light (Unitarianism) shining through many windows (Universalism),” Church remarked upon receiving the award. "Let us continue our quest together, with awe and humility, with saving openness and saving doubt, never forgetting to honor those who charted our way.”

New York Times reporter Cara Buckley talked with congregants at All Souls in the fall of 2008. "They spoke of Mr. Church’s gift with words, his ability to connect with others and his seemingly endless capacity for empathy and compassion,” she observes. "Unitarian Universalism is a theologically liberal religion, and to many, Mr. Church embodied the very best of the religion.” His friend, NBC newsman and former Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw said, "Forrest Church made all of our lives so much richer with his friendship, his faith and his optimism. He was a leading citizen in the world of all of God's children.”

Church spent his final years reflecting on the importance of living each day with love and gratitude. He writes in Love and Death, "The goal is to live in such a way that our lives will prove worth dying for…The one thing that can’t be taken from us, even by death, is the love we give away before we go.”

All Souls has posted a web page in tribute to Forrest Church; all are invited to view photos, post remembrances, and more. Those who wish to make a donation in Dr. Church's memory may do so by contributing to the Forrest Church Fund for the Advancement of Liberal Religion.  Galen Guengerich preached a sermon on Sunday, Sept. 27, in honor of Dr. Church:  Amen.  I love You. (pdf) The sermon is also available on YouTube:  Part 1 and Part 2.  

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In Memory . . . James Madison Barr III
 (1919-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Dr. James Madison Barr died on June 10, 2009 at his home in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He was 90. Rev. Barr was born on March 17, 1919 in Belhaven, North Carolina to James Madison Barr, Jr and Alice Way Barr. His family relocated to Virginia, where he attended Fork Union Military Academy, graduating in 1935. He continued his education at the University of Virginia, studying accounting and business before graduating with a law degree in 1947.

Following graduation, Rev. Barr taught at the School of Economics and Commerce at the University of Virginia. He also worked as an attorney, an accountant, and an auditor, was elected to the Charlottesville, Virginia city council and served as president of the Charlottesville Junior Chamber of Commerce. While in Charlotte, Rev. Barr became an active member of the Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church and in 1952, he entered Starr King School for the Ministry.

In 1954, Rev. Barr was ordained and installed at the Church of the Unity in Winchendon, MA, where he served for 2 years. In 1956, he was called to the First Unitarian Church of Albany, NY.

In 1962, he returned to the South of his childhood, serving the First Unitarian Church of Memphis from 1962 to 1982. Under his leadership, the congregation built an award-winning church designed by church member, Roy Harrover. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, its wall of windows allows full view of the Mississippi. Upon his retirement from the Memphis "Church of the River," Rev. Barr was named minister emeritus by his congregants.

Rev. Barr was active in denominational affairs, serving in the Southwest District as Settlement Representative, Good Offices Representative, member of the Southwest District Board of Directors, and as Chair of the Summer Institute. His community activities while in Memphis included membership on the boards of Tenn-Ark-Miss Council of the Girl Scouts, Urban League, and the Heart Association. He was also a member of the Memphis Community Relations Commission.

His friend and colleague, Rev. Burton Carley, current minister in Memphis, said "any minister stands on the shoulders of the minister who precedes him. Jim's shoulders were very broad. He had a deep mind and wonderful spirit. It was a privilege to succeed him."

Rev. Barr is survived by his daughters, Betty Barr McClure and husband, Clifton McClure, of Charlottesville, VA; Mary Alice Barr Colo and husband, Michael S. Colo, of Rocky Mount, NC; and Sally Barr Alexander and husband, Arlie A. Alexander, of Monticello, IL. He leaves his grandchildren, Sarah McClure Gfroerer and husband, Wesley Gfroerer, of Charlottesville, VA; Catherine E. Colo of Atlanta, GA; Christian A. Colo and wife, Amber, of Morristown, NJ; Craig M. Alexander and wife, Leslie, of Monticello, IL; and Lindsay Barr Alexander of Monticello, IL. He also leaves six great grandchildren and his beloved cat "Jesse".

Please send messages of condolence to Betty Barr McClure, 309 Dover Rd Charlottesville, VA 22901.

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In Memory . . . James Marshall Bank (1943-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend James Marshall Bank died on July 23, 2009, after three years of living with cancer.  He was 65. Rev. Bank was born on November 10, 1943 to Rev. Milton Harold Bank, a Methodist minister, and Fern Richey Bank in Hancock, MI.  He graduated from Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, in 1965.  He earned three graduate divinity degrees from Boston University, an STB in 1968, an AM in Church History in 1969, and a second AM in New Testament Studies in 1976.

In 1971 he was named Lucinda Bidwell Beebe Fellow by the Boston University School of Theology and was invited to study at Cambridge University with Rev. Charles Moule, G. W. H. Lampe, and Ernst Bammel.  During the last four years of his academic work, he served as a lecturer and assistant professor in New Testament and Patristics in Boston University’s College of Liberal Arts.

Rev. Bank was ordained to the Unitarian Universalist ministry at King’s Chapel in Boston in 1976 and later that year was commissioned as chaplain in the United States Navy.  He served three years on Okinawa where he administered an alcohol and drug abuse prevention program and provided marriage and family counseling in addition to his other pastoral responsibilities.  He then served aboard the aircraft carrier, Constellation (CV64), which was deployed to the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf during the height of the Iranian hostage crisis.   

He entered parish ministry serving the UU Church of Melrose, MA; the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore, MD; the UU Church in Silver Spring, MD; and the UU Fellowship at Easton, MD.  As interim minister, he served the UU Society of Hartland Four Corners, VT; the UU Fellowship of Winston-Salem, NC; the First Unitarian Society of Exeter, NH; and the UU Congregation of Erie, PA.  

Rev. Bank was active in issues of social justice, especially issues of gay rights and AIDS ministry. He was a strong advocate for inter-denominational cooperation on a local level wherever he served.  During his years of ministry, Rev. Bank served in the Unitarian Universalist denomination’s Minister on Loan Program to First Unitarian Church of Salem, OR, and as a member of the Religious Education Futures Committee.  He served on the AIDS Community Review Panel of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for six years, chairing the Committee in his sixth year.  He was a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Institutional Review Board for ten years where he oversaw all protocols involving human subjects; he counted this as one of the most meaningful and significant contributions of his lifetime. 

His family remembers him as a true renaissance man who loved history, books, films, music, gadgets, animals, story-telling, and being a good Dad.  He is survived by his wife, Cathy Miller, and his three daughters, Julia, Sarah, and Sasha Bank.

Messages of condolence may be sent to Cathy Miller, 29170 Woodridge Dr., Easton, MD 21601-4616.

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In Memory . . . Wilfrid “Fred” Ward
 (1935-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Wilfrid (Fred) Walter Ward.  He died on his 74th birthday on January 5, 2009 with his sons Wilfrid and David beside him.  Rev. Ward was born in Rochester, New York to Wilfrid and Jean Sarah Ward.  He attended Cornell University, initially studying engineering, and graduated in 1958 with a degree in Psychology after determining he wanted to be a minister.  He attended St. Lawrence University Theological School, earning a Master of Divinity in 1961, while serving as president of his class. 

He was ordained and installed at the First Parish in Lincoln, MA, as Associate Minister on December 10, 1961; he served there for two years.  He also served the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore, Maryland, from 1963 to 1968 and the Unitarian Church of Princeton, New Jersey, from 1968 to 1972.  In both the Baltimore and Princeton churches, Rev. Ward served as Minister of Religious Education.  While serving the Princeton Church, Rev. Ward was responsible for a huge growth in the size and quality of the religious education program.  He also initiated the beloved tradition of the Hanging of the Greens service there.

Rev. Ward left the Princeton church to study as a family therapist.  He pursued a PhD at New York University in the Family Life Education, Marriage, and Human Sexuality graduate program.  He was the Education Director at Princeton University of the Sexuality Education, Counseling and Health Program of the University Health Services from 1973 – 1975.  In 1975 he became Associate in Training of the Marriage Council of Philadelphia in the Psychiatry Department of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine.  Throughout these years, Rev. Ward maintained his fellowship with the UUA and provided consultative services to many individuals and congregations.

On March 15, 1978 he was called by the New Jersey Area Council of Unitarian Universalist Societies to be Minister of Counseling and Education and to direct the Unitarian Universalist Counseling and Education Service.  He served in that position until 1999 when he became ill from a stroke.

As a lifelong Universalist, Rev. Ward was a staunch supporter and promoter of Murray Grove, conducting many of his educational groups there. 

Rev. Ward is survived by his sons, Wilfrid W. Ward, Jr. of Acworth, Georgia and David Ward of New Paltz, New York.  At Rev. Ward’s request, there was no memorial service.  Please send messages of condolence to Wilfrid W. Ward, Jr., 1 Colonial Club Drive SE, Acworth, GA 30102.

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In Memory . . . John E. Trowbridge 
(1925-2008)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend John E. Trowbridge died of congestive heart failure on August 30, 2008 in El Paso, Texas. He was 83. Rev. Trowbridge was born on June 5, 1925 to G. C. and Jessie G. Trowbridge in Deming, New Mexico.

He graduated as valedictorian from Deming High in 1943 and served in the US Navy from 1943 to 1946, stationed in Washington, D.C. during World War II and in Japan during the occupation. 

Rev. Trowbridge received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies from the University of New Mexico in 1950 and a Bachelor of Divinity from Meadville Theological School in 1954.  Following graduation, Rev. Trowbridge was called to the Independent Congregational Society (Unitarian) of Bangor, Maine.  He was ordained and installed there in 1954, and served until 1958, leaving to further his education and to teach.  Rev. Trowbridge attended the Universities of California and Colorado to study philosophy and psychology, but decided to return to active ministry.  In 1964, he became Assistant Curator of Public Communications at the Minnesota Historical Society, working there while searching for a congregation to serve.

Called to the North Branch Association of Universalist Churches in 1964, Rev. Trowbridge served the association’s churches in Sheshequin, Standing Stone, and Towanda, Pennsylvania.  When the association could no longer support a full-time minister, Rev. Trowbridge continued as part-time minister, while seeking full-time employment which he found with the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare as a caseworker.  Rev. Trowbridge continued his part-time ministry for these churches until his retirement in 1986.  In 2003, the UU Church of Athens and Sheshequin conferred Minister Emeritus on Rev. Trowbridge for his years of service to them.

Rev. Trowbridge published articles in The Unitarian World, an English Unitarian journal called Faith and Freedom, and in The Christian Century.  Throughout his adult life, beginning with art classes in Bangor, Maine, Rev. Trowbridge found time to paint, primarily in water color, focusing on landscapes from the various locations where he lived.  Once retired, he served on the board of directors of the Deming, New Mexico, Arts Council.  As a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Las Cruces, Rev. Trowbridge led a UU discussion group for many years and volunteered for the Luna County Chapter of the New Mexico Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board.

Rev. Trowbridge is survived by his daughter, Alina Ruth Thomas Trowbridge of San Francisco; his son, Brandon Edward (Ned) Trowbridge; his daughter-in-law, Diane Trowbridge; and his step-grandchildren, Spencer and Chandler Steinbacher, of Williamsport, PA.

Please send messages of condolence to Alina Trowbridge, 801 Fillmore Street, Apt. 17, San Francisco, CA  94117 and Ned Trowbridge, 1308 Hepburn St., Williamsport, PA  17701.

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In Memory . . . Judith Lorraine Quarles (1942-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Judith Lorraine Quarles died following a prolonged illness on April 9, 2009 at home surrounded by family and comforted by the love of her many friends.  Her courage throughout her yearlong battle with brain cancer was an inspiration to all who knew her.  She was 67 years old.

Rev. Quarles was born on March 26, 1942 in Buffalo, NY, the second of three girls, to George A. Potter and Marjorie Dohn Potter.  Raised in Kenmore, New York, Rev. Quarles’ lifelong love of nature was forged throughout her childhood during summers spent in the mountains of Allegany State Park, hiking with her father, exploring the bear caves, swimming and diving in Fancher Pool, and learning family songs and games around the campfire.

After receiving a BA degree in Literature from Harpur College (now SUNY Binghamton) in 1964, Rev. Quarles entered the work force as an employment counselor, then a programmer analyst.  In 1970, she married Edgar Quarles and soon after began raising their daughters, Karen and Emily.  In the 1980’s while serving as Church School Director at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo, Rev. Quarles began attending Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, receiving her Master’s of Divinity in 1986.  She was ordained at the Buffalo church in 1987.  During this period, Edgar became ill with cancer and died in 1985.  Edgar’s death further motivated her in pursuit of the ministry.

After ordination, Rev. Quarles served the Unitarian Congregation of South Peel in Mississauga, Ontario, from 1988 until 1990.  From 1990 until 1992, Rev. Quarles worked to establish a new congregation in Lockport, New York.  She also served as summer minister for First Unitarian in Toronto, Ontario for several years.  In 1995, Rev. Quarles was called to be the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta, a congregation she served with wisdom, compassion, and dignity until her retirement in 2008.  Upon her retirement, the Oneonta congregation named her minister emerita.

Rev. Quarles was a passionate advocate for social action in the local community and beyond.  She was instrumental in launching the initiative that led to the Oneonta Free Clinic, and was immensely proud of the role the church had in making it happen.  She volunteered for Oneonta’s Mediation Services and the Assessment Appeals Board and was active in Oneonta’s interfaith community.  Perhaps the accomplishment of which she was most proud in the realm of social action was growing the church’s relationship with a school in Mali, an initiative that has provided the school with much needed financial support and led, in January 2008, to a memorable trip to Mali by Rev. Quarles and six other church members.

Rev. Quarles is survived by her loving companion, Tom O’Brien of Oneonta, New York; her daughter, Karen Quarles of New York City; her daughter, Emily Quarles Mowrer and husband, Clayton Mowrer, of Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania; and her sister, Linda Potter Acredolo of Woodland, California.  Her sister, Nancy Potter Wheatley, died previously.

A service to celebrate Rev. Quarles’ life was held on Saturday, April 18, 2009, at the Unitarian Universalist Society in Oneonta, New York.  Please send messages of condolence to Rev. Quarles’ family by visiting the website, www.grummonsfuneralhome.com or to Mr. Tom O’Brien, 37 Fair St., Oneonta, NY 13820.

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In Memory . . . Judith Brown Osgood (1942-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Judith Brown Osgood died on June 4, 2009 at Milford Regional Medical Center, Milford, Massachusetts.  She was 66.

Rev. Osgood was born on September 7, 1942, in West Hartford, Connecticut, to Carroll Prentiss and Carolyn Louise (Barnitz) Osgood.  She graduated from the Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford and earned a BA in Sociology from the University of Hartford in 1969 and a MA in Counseling from St. Joseph College, Hartford, CT, in 1987.  She was certified as an alcohol and drug counselor in 1989.

From 1986 until 1991, Rev. Osgood was employed as a counselor in various settings, including an inner city, outpatient drug program in Hartford, CT, which she directed.

While attending the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House in Provincetown, MA, Rev. Osgood began to consider ministry for herself.  She enrolled in Starr King School of Theology earning a Master of Divinity in 1994.  While at Starr King, Rev. Osgood received the Feminist Theology Award from the UU Women’s Federation for researching and collecting the sermons of Unitarian Universalist lay and clergy women in the Pacific Coast area.

After graduation, she was called to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Cheyenne, WY, where she was ordained in 1994.  She served the Unitarian Congregation of Mendon and Uxbridge, MA from 1996 - 2000, the Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Society in Madison, CT from 2000 - 2001 and the Unitarian Fellowship of Storrs, CT from 2004 - 2008.  In addition to her parish ministry, Rev. Osgood continued her work as a drug and alcohol counselor, serving for a time at the Shirley Medium Prison in Shirley, MA, and at a Worcester, MA, methadone clinic.

Rev. Osgood felt she had recently found her true ministry as a hospice chaplain and was employed by Jewish Health Services in Worcester, MA at the time of her death.  She was also a member of the First Unitarian Church of Worcester.

Rev. Osgood trained with her yellow lab, Thompson, to become a registered Pet Partner Team with the Delta Society.  They also trained for the Reading Education Assistance Dogs program which encourages children to read by providing a dog as a listener.  Rev. Osgood and Thompson visited residents of the Radius Nursing Homes in Millbury, MA and Worcester, MA and worked with children at the Uxbridge, MA, library.  A life member of the United States Tennis Association, she loved her grandchildren and her dog, Thompson.  She enjoyed gardening, fishing, and the Red Sox.

Survivors include Rev. Osgood’s partner, Wendy Innis; her daughter, Daphne Lynn Sanford of Uxbridge, MA; her son, Benjamin Ward Dunning of Burlington, CT; her brother, Dr. Carroll P. Osgood, Jr. of Altoona, PA; and four grandchildren.  Memorial Donations may be made in Rev. Osgood’s name to New England Assistance Dogs, P.O. Box 213, West Boylston, MA  01583.  A service to celebrate Rev. Osgood’s life was held on Thursday, June 18, at 4:00 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church, 90 Main Street, Worcester, MA.   Please send messages of condolence to Ms. Wendy Innis, 52 Taft Hill Lane, Uxbridge, MA 01569-3142.

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In Memory . . . Mary Louise Curd Nelson 
(1926-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Mary Louise Curd Nelson died on Sunday, January 11, 2009.  She was 82. Rev. Nelson was born on April 17, 1926, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Walter D. and Frances B. Curd.  She graduated from the University of Kansas in 1948 with a BA in English. 

Rev. Nelson joined her local Unitarian church, the Oak Ridge (Tennessee) Unitarian Universalist Church in 1956 seeking a new church home for herself and her family.  She soon became deeply involved in church activities especially those relating to religious education.  After ten years of increasing involvement, she was asked to become the church school director.  Within six months in that position, Rev. Nelson felt that she had received her call.  During her years as Director of Religious Education, Rev. Nelson continued her own education through attendance at numerous Meadville summer institutes, religious education workshops, and college courses.  In 1972, Rev. Nelson received accreditation from the UUA as a Director of Religious Education.

She moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1975 and served the children, youth, and adults of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Church in Knoxville as their religious education director for many years.  Rev. Nelson participated in an independent study program to prepare herself to become a Minister of Religious Education.  She achieved her goal in 1980 when she was ordained by the Tennessee Valley UU Church and fellowshipped as Minister of Religious Education by the UUA.  Later, Rev. Nelson served on the Independent Study Committee and mentored others through that program and informally in many other ways.

Upon her retirement in 1988, the Tennessee Valley Unitarian congregation named her Minister Emerita.  As Rev. Chris Buice recalled, Rev. Nelson was "a spiritual pioneer, believing in, living, and carrying forward the inspiration and work of Sophia Fahs and Angus MacLean.”  "Dean Mary,” as Eunice Benton affectionately called her, served as a teacher and mentor, providing inspiration, encouragement, and guidance to many religious education directors and lay leaders in the Thomas Jefferson District.

Rev. Nelson was also involved in social action efforts particularly in the area of civil rights, peace, and women's rights. She was active in the Thomas Jefferson District providing religious education workshops, training teachers for the About Your Sexuality Course, and serving as a Ministerial Settlement Representative.  Her community involvement included serving on the League of Woman Voters, as President of the Friends of the Oak Ridge Library, and organizing the first Junior Great Books program which was adopted by the local school system.  Rev. Nelson also led several groups of young readers in that program.  She said "I felt pride in getting it organized but more pleasure in the work with the children.”

Rev. Nelson is survived by her children and their partners, Murfi and Jon Pedersen; Martin Nelson and Wendy Lipscomb; Linda Nelson and Richard Schmorleitz; four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.  Rev. Nelson’s husband, Dr. Bill Nelson, died in 2008.

A memorial service was held on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009 at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.  Please send notes of condolence in care of Linda Nelson, 22560 Jeffrey Mark Court, Unit 4, Chatsworth, CA 91311-0145.

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In Memory . . . Guy Wheeler Meyer
 (1914-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Guy Wheeler Meyer died in his sleep on February 22, 2009.  He was 94. Rev. Meyer was born in Malden, MA, on December 19, 1914 to Harold Alton Meyer and Ethel C. Wheeler Meyer.  He attended Harvard College at the age of 16 then transferred to the University of Chicago and graduated with a degree in Political Science in 1940.  He also attended Meadville Theological School and he studied economics at the New School for Social Research. 

Ordained in 1942 at the First Universalist Church in Stockton, Illinois, Rev. Meyer served that congregation for several years then worked in a variety of fields before returning to parish ministry.  He was an early member of the Socialist Party and worked as an organizer for the Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union in New York.  He promoted a newspaper, sold health insurance and, after moving with his family to Round Pond, Maine, he opened a photography studio.  A conscientious objector during World War II, Rev. Meyer served on a Liberty Ship with the Merchant Marines after the War. 

In 1958, Rev. Meyer returned to active ministry answering a call from the First Universalist Church of Burrillville in Harrisville, Rhode Island (1958 - 1961.)  He then served the First Parish Unitarian Universalist in Arlington, Massachusetts (1961 – 1963), and First Parish Unitarian Universalist in Saugus, Massachusetts (1963 – 1964).  Rev. Meyer moved to the Unitarian Church in Newburgh, New York (1964 – 1968).  While there he crossed paths with Pete Seeger, Father Daniel Berrigan, and other distinguished leaders in the national peace movement and he was an active voice against war and for race conciliation in the Hudson River Valley.

After moving to California, Rev. Meyer hosted The Power of Love, a radio program on KWMR in Point Reyes Station that featured people from all walks of life, including Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations Robert Muller.

From the time he was a young man, Rev. Meyer dedicated his life to delivering a message of world peace.  His son, Roger Meyer, says "he took the lessons of World War I and Gandhi to heart.  He believed in a world without borders, a ‘New World’ as he described it, whose allegiance is to humankind.”  His daughter, Genie, adds "he is remembered for his kind, generous, and mirthful exuberance, a love for sailing, and a life-long commitment to world peace.”

Rev. Meyer is survived by his partner of 34 years, Joyce Greenwood of Inverness, California; his former wife, Verne M. Bell of Newburgh, New York; and his children, Satya Doerksen of Surrey, British Columbia; Lynn Meyer of Friendship, Maine; Guy Meyer Jr. of San Anselmo, California; Jill Meyer of Round Pond, Maine; Genie Harden of Eugene, Oregon; and Roger Meyer of New York, New York.  Additionally there are 10 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.  His son, Odell Brown, died previously.

A celebration of Rev. Meyer’s life was held on Sunday, March 29, 2009 at the Point Reyes Dance Palace in Point Reyes Station, CA.  Please send messages of condolence to Joyce Greenwood, P O Box 568, Inverness, CA 94937.

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