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In Memory . . . Rev. Dwight E. Smith (1930-2007)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group informs you of the death of the Reverend Dwight E. Smith. He died Wednesday, April 18, 2007, the result of an aneurysm. His wife, the Reverend Carol Hilton was by his side.

Mr. Smith was born August 22 1930 in Falls City, Nebraska. He received Bachelor of Arts from Nebraska Wesleyan in 1952 and a Master of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry in 1984.

He was ordained in June 20, 1984 by the Unitarian Fellowship of Houston, Houston, Texas. Smith served congregations, in co-ministry with his wife, the Reverend Carol Hilton, in Hobart, Indiana; Cedar Falls, Iowa, Clinton, Iowa, and Vista, California. Following their retirement in 2003, the Palomar Unitarian Universalism Fellowship, Vista, California, named them Ministers Emeriti.

Surviving are his wife, Carol Hilton; and two children from a previous marriage Mark Smith of Lafayette, Louisiana, and Cara Ferguson of Houston, Texas. Also surviving are 4 grandchildren, Bailey Ferguson, Adam Smith, Emma Smith and Madeline Smith. Messages of remembrance may be sent to:

Reverend Carol Hilton
3091 Buena Hills Drive
Oceanside, CA 92056

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, May 20, 2007, 3:00 p.m. at the Palomar Unitarian Universalism Fellowship, 1600 Buena Vista Drive, Vista, CA 92081. The Reverend Beth Johnson will officiate.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Ralph N. Helverson

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
The Rev. Dr. Ralph Norman Helverson died April 25 at Carleton-Willard Village, Bedford, MA, at the age of ninety-five. He was minister emeritus of the First Parish in Cambridge, MA, which he served as minister from 1959 to 1977. He also served UU congregations in Ithaca, NY, and N. Palm Beach, FL, as well as being interim minister for San Diego, CA, W. Hartford, CT, Naples, FL, and Dedham, MA.

He was a graduate of Anderson College (B.A.), Garrett Theological Seminary (B.D.) and Cornell University (M.A.), and was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 1969.

A distinguished preacher, thinker and writer, he was also a beloved pastor and colleague. He had served on several boards and committees of the UUA and related organizations, and was the author of several collections of prayers and meditations.

A memorial service celebrating Ralph's life and ministry will be held on Wednesday, May 9, at 1:30 p.m. at The First Parish of Cambridge (in Harvard Square). Letters of condolence may be sent to his wife of 67 years, Wynanda Helverson, 88 Falmouth Court, Bedford, MA 01730-2912. David Pohl is planning Ralph's service.

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In Memory . . . Rev. William J. Robbins (1913-2007)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group informs you of the death of the Reverend Dr. William Joseph Robbins. Dr. Robbins died Sunday, April 6, 2007 at the age of 93.

Dr. Robbins was born August 31, 1913 in Somerville, Massachusetts. He earned a bachelor's degree from Harvard College in 1935, a Bachelor of Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School in 1938. In 1947 he earned a doctorate from Brown University. 

He was ordained in 1938 at the Grace Baptist Church in Somerville, Massachusetts, by the Boston East Baptist Association where he served as Associate Pastor until 1940. 

On May 4, 1958, Dr. Robbins was received in Unitarian Universalist Fellowship after a year's licentiate. He served the First Universalist Church in Rockland, Maine from 1956 to 1961. In 1961 he was called to the First Universalist (Central Unitarian) Church in Yarmouth, Maine where he served for one year. In 1965 he returned to the Rockland congregation serving there until his retirement in 1978. On October 1, 1978 was named Minister Emeritus by the Rockland congregation.

Dr. Robbins was predeceased by his siblings and three wives; Nadine Ratcliffe Robbins in 1977, Gladys Blum Robbins in 1982, and Mabel Briggs Robbins in 1999. 

He is survived by one stepson, H. Reed McKenney and his wife Deborah of Owls Head; one stepdaughter, Karen Ratcliffe of Bangor; seven grandchildren, Darlene McKenney of Owls Head, Amanda Toris and her husband Sean of Forked River, N.J., Rachel Coleman and her husband Mathew of Owls Head, Peter Burke of Bangor, Hannah Burke of Windham, Patrick Burke of Rockland, and Katie Burke Butler and her husband Charles of Appleton; one great-grandson, Eathen Butler; and several nieces and nephews. 

A graveside service will be held Saturday, May 26, 2007, 1:00 p.m., at Glen Cove Cemetery on Warrenton Avenue in Glen Cove, Maine.

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In Memory . . . Rev. James C. Norman (1937-2007)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
The Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group is sad to announce the passing of our colleague The Reverend James Clark Norman of a heart attack at age 69 at his home in Canterbury, NH on March 24th. 

Rev. Norman was born December 25, 1937. Prior to his ordination to the Unitarian Universalist ministry he served in the U.S. Marine Corps and later with VISTA, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and The Federal Aviation Administration. 

James Norman completed his B.A. at Pomona College in 1959, his M.A. from Pepperine University in 1978 and the M.Div from Starr King School for the Ministry in 1986.

The Reverend Norman received Preliminary Fellowship and was ordained in 1986 His ordination took place in the Valley UU Church of Chandler, AZ. James received Final Fellowship in February, 1990. He served as an extension minister with West Valley UU Church of Glendale, AZ from 1986 to 1989 and served Valley UU Church as both an extension and called minister. This was followed by work as a District Executive with the UUA in the New Hampshire/Vermont District. He later served South Church in Concord, NH.

A memorial service celebrating the life of James Norman will be held at South Church in Concord at a later date.

Survivors include his widow Sabena and his daughter Pilar. Notes of remembrance and sympathy may be sent to: 

Mrs. Sabena Norman 
41 Old Tilton Road
Canterbury, NH 03224-2223

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In Memory . . . Rev. Frances West (1931-2007)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
Ministry and Professional Leadership announces with sadness the passing of The Reverend Frances E. West on Thursday, March 15 after several years of ill health and of immediate complications from pneumonia. 

Frances West was born September 23, 1931. Her university work included a B.A. from Oglethorpe University in 1967, the M.Ed. from Georgia State University in 1974 and the M.Div. from Emory University in 1977. She later completed a Certificate for Chaplaincy Supervision at Emory in 1985.

Reverend West received Preliminary Fellowship in April, 1977 and was ordained in June of 1977 in the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta. Rev. West received Final Fellowship in May, 1981.

Frances was led to her call to ministry nearly three decades ago during her years of lay leadership at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation Atlanta and through the encouragement of Rev. Eugene Pickett. In the ensuing years she served congregations in North Carolina and north Georgia, and was named Minister Emeritus at the UU Congregation of Marietta, Georgia, upon her retirement in 1995. 

Reverend West's ministry included serving as Chaplain in the Emory University Hospital, and congregations in Winder, GA, the UU Fellowship of Raleigh, NC; Gwinnet, Decatur, Atlanta and Marietta, GA.

Frances once shared the following regarding her leadership work in hospice development in the Southeast: "In 1975, when I was a member of the UU Congregation of Atlanta, a friend of mine,.and I became interested in an article about the first American hospice in New Haven, CT. It was a very different care for the dying. (We) had a friend who was dying of cancer, and we felt there was a better way for people to die. So we two people, church-based, started what was to become the first hospice in the state of Georgia, the second in the Southeast. Our first years we had a budget of eighty dollars, and we began training volunteers, even working with two patients, helping them stay home as they wanted. I lectured medical groups wherever I could find an interest. In 1976 I was asked to give a five minute talk at UU General Assembly in Ithaca, NY. After I spoke a woman from the White Plains came and talked with me. She returned to her church to work on changing the legal status of hospices in New York."

Frances is survived by her husband, Bill West, who can be reached at 1430 Westchester Ridge, Atlanta, GA 30329; her daughters Nina West, at 2116 Pine Forest Drive, Atlanta, GA 30345; Jean Alhadeff, 1915 Mt. Brian Road NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30329; and Aran West, 207 Brooklea Drive, Syracuse, New York, 13207; and her son Todd, of 626 North Wood Ave., Florence, AL 35630. Memorials to honor Rev. West may be sent to Hospice Atlanta or the UU Congregation of Marietta, GA (1240 Villa Rica Rd, Marietta, GA 30064). 

A memorial service will be held May 19, 2007 at 3:00 P.M. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Marietta, Georgia. The service will be led by her son Todd West, current president of the UU Congregation of the Shoals in Florence, AL.

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In Memory . . . Rev. A. John Skeirik (1918-2007)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group announces the passing of The Reverend A. John Skeirik at the age of 88 on Wednesday, March 7, 2007 in Brewster, MA. John was in complete kidney failure and passed quickly.

John Skeirik was born in Marquette, Nebraska on August 3, 1918. He was the son of a Methodist minister. He received his A.B. from Syracuse University in 1941 and the Master of Theological Studies from Boston University School of Theology in 1944. He also completed an M.Ed. degree from Bridgewater State College in Library Science in 1978.

The Reverend Skeirik received Preliminary Fellowship in the Unitarian Universalist ministry in 1961 and Final Fellowship on November 16, 1965. He had been ordained in Binghamton, NY in 1947 as a Methodist minister. John served pastorates in the Methodist faith in NY and Massachusetts from 1944 to 1962. At the time he became fellowshipped he was serving First Parish in Sherborn, Mass and later served the Reading, MA and Hollis, NY congregations. He retired from the ministry in 1983 after serving the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Middleboro, MA where he was named Minister Emeritus. 

After retirement John and Betsey continued to live on Cape Cod. Following his retire-ment from ministry, he had a second career as a multi-media specialist and served as an assistant librarian in Massachusetts public schools from 1984 to 2004. 

John had several talents: he was an exceptional amateur photographer, and he enjoyed carving wood objects with his wood-carving power tools. He and Betsey also enjoyed travel, including a number of trips to Europe. After he retired from his library position in the public school system, he donated time to the library of the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History

One of his colleagues writes, "John was an uncomplicated, transparently kind, and genuinely liberal minister, one without a mean bone in his body." From his brother Kal, "John's was a legacy of love, of caring, of healing, and of compassion that he left in the hearts and minds of the young and the old with whom he came in contact as he unselfishly served during his ministry and public service. 

Rev. Skeirik is survived by his wife of 59 years, Betsey and a brother, Kaleel Skeirik of Richmond, VA and a sister, Jeanette Macht of Feasterville, PA.

A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, March 24 at 11:00 A.M. at The Meeting House in Chatham, MA to be officiated by The Reverend Denis Meacham of First Parish Brewster where Rev. Skeirik was a member.

Messages of condolence may be sent to: 

Mrs. Betsey Skeirik
Epoch of Brewster 
873 Harwich Road 
Brewster, MA 02631

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In Memory . . . Rev. Alfred D. Judd (1925-2007)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
Updated: Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group informs you of the death of the Reverend Alfred D. Judd who passed Tuesday, February 6, 2007, of a massive heart attack. 

Alfred Judd was born in Greenfield, MA on March 10, 1925. He attended Bement School in Greenfield and Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, MA. Al spent three years in the U.S. Army in the European Theater during World War II. Subsequently he graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1949 and completed his B.D. there in 1951. 

Alfred Judd became fellowshipped as a Unitarian minister in 1951 and as a Universalist minister in 1956. The Unitarian Society in Fall River, MA ordained him on April 6, 1952.

Mr. Judd began his ministry in Fall River, MA where he served for five years. During the course of his thirty-five years in active ministry, he served congregations in Clarklake and Horton, Michigan; Claremont, NH; East Greenwich, RI, and Lubbock, College Station and Houston, Texas. The Northwoods UU Church of Houston named Al Judd Minister Emeritus at his retirement in April, 1985. Al and Patricia Judd moved to Santa Fe, NM in 1987.

Alfred Judd is remembered as a man of moderation, good will, good cheer, and simple goodness. He loved steam trains and their lore and for many years worked as a volunteer on the Cumbres and Toltec Restoration Project in the Southwest. When time allowed he built model trains and was both an ingenious problem solver and a creative designer and builder.

He understood and loved children and they loved him because of his gentleness and sense of fun. In his later years, when he had given up more strenuous volunteering, one of Al's great pleasures was being a mentor at the Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Santa Fe.

Alfred Judd was a loving and devoted husband to his wife, Patricia, who survives him. He leaves three wonderful adult children: Karen, Rebecca and Taylor; four grandchildren: Judd, Hannah, Nathaniel and Matthias; and three great grandchildren. Also surviving are stepsons: David, Jeffrey and Gregory White and their families. 

A Memorial Service officiated by The Reverend Stephen Furrer will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Santa Fe on Friday, March 2nd at 2 P.M. Memorial donations may be sent to the U.U. Congregation of Santa Fe, or to the Union of Concerned Scientists, 2 Brattle Square, Cambridge, MA 02238.

Messages of Condolence may be sent to:
Mrs. Patricia Judd
2948 Plaza Blanca
Santa Fe, NM 87507

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In Memory . . . Rev. Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley (1949-2006)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
Marjorie Rebekah Bowens was born on August 6, 1949, the fourth of 10 children born to the former Bernice Loretta Wheatley and Daniel Lee Bowens. She spent most of her childhood in Philadelphia, the place of her birth; but was acculturated in the ways of the south and the Caribbean through the heritage of her parents.

She graduated from Dobbins Vocational-Technical School in 1967, having majored in Business Education. For the next few years, she worked as a legal and medical secretary. In 1969, she married Alfred Edmonds and from this union, Tonya was born. The couple divorced in 1973. 

A bit of a late bloomer, Marjorie began her college career at Temple University at the age of 25, double majoring in Radio, Television & Film and Pan-African Studies. She continued graduate studies at the American University where she earned a Master of Arts degree in International Development and Visual Media.

Marjorie's career in public television began with a production internship with a weekly program, "Black Perspective on the News," and continued with a nightly news and issue analysis program, "Evening Exchange." In addition to being nominated for an Emmy Award for a program she produced with writer Maya Angelou, Marjorie received the World Hunger Media Award for her hour-long documentary, "After the Rains," which explored drought and environmental decay across the Sahara desert.

After seven years in the media, and after joining All Souls Church in Washington, D.C., Marjorie felt a calling to work full time in a way that expressed her religious values. She moved to Boston to work as Director of Public Affairs for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. A year later she accepted a position as program officer for the Veatch Program at what is now the Unitarian Universalist Society in Shelter Rock in Manhasset, Long Island. During her three-year tenure there, she was responsible for recommending approximately one million dollars per year to fund organizations working for progressive social change.

Her work at the Service Committee and at the Veatch Program, accompanied by independent study on the theology and ministry of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Howard Thurman, ultimately led Marjorie to understand her own calling to ministry. In the fall of 1991, she entered Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC and in 1994, she was awarded a Master of Divinity degree (cum laude), and was ordained in Washington, DC, in December 1994 at her home congregation, All Souls Church Unitarian. 

Marjorie became Affiliate, then Associate, Minister at the Community Church of New York City in 1994 and also served as District Extension Minister for the Metro New York District and Field Consultant for the UUA Department of Faith in Action. These assignments continued until she accepted a position as Co-Interim Minister of the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Austin Texas in 1999, which she served along with her husband, the Reverend Clyde Grubbs. 

In 2000, Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley joined the UUA staff as Adult Programs Director in the Religious Education department. In 2003, she accepted the call to the UU Church of Tampa, Florida, which she served through 2006. She had accepted a call to serve as Associate Minister of First Unitarian Church of San Diego, California, but withdrew because of illness.

Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley's imprint on Unitarian Universalism is significant and has helped shape contemporary Unitarian Universalist Association programs and practices in major ways. Please see the fuller and more detailed story of Marjorie's life and contributions on the forthcoming story to be posted on the UUA website. 

Following a short struggle with gallbladder cancer, Marjorie died quietly at her sister's home in Vineland, NJ, on Dec. 10, 2006, with her daughter, husband and close friends by her side. She is survived by her daughter, Tonya/Talibah Edmonds; her husband, the Rev. Clyde Grubbs; her mother, Bernice; nine siblings, a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and colleagues. 

A service to celebrate the life and spirit of Marjorie will be held at The Community Church of New York in January. More information will be shared soon. 

Messages of remembrance may be sent to:

The Reverend Clyde Grubbs
c/o Throop Memorial Church
300 Los Robles Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91101-2821


Ms. Tonya "Talibah" Edmonds
c/o Sarah Lawrence College
1 Mead Way
Bronxville, New York 10708

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In Memory . . . William Richard Jacobsen (1932-2006)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
William Richard Jacobsen died at home on November 2, 2006 at the age of 74. He was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada to immigrants Jacob Jacobsen (Denmark) and Alfhild Larson Jacobsen (Norway) on January 28, 1932. 

Bill took an early interest in the church and as a teenager began studying to become a Lutheran Minister in the Missouri Synod. He graduated from Concordia College in 1953 (BS). By then he had found the Unitarian tradition to be more in line with his evolving beliefs and attended Meadville/Lombard at the University of Chicago, 1959 (BD). He was ordained in 1959. He served as Unitarian Minister in Brooklyn, NY, Pittsburgh, PA, Canton, MA, and Bloomington, IL before moving to Palo Alto, CA, in 1974. He served the Palo Alto Unitarian Universalist Church for 16 years. After his retirement in 1990, he went on to serve as Executive Director of the Humanist Community in Palo Alto.

Bill had a keen sense of humor and a true joy for life. He had an ongoing enthusiasm for knowledge. He was an avid reader and enjoyed sharing his extensive knowledge of the many subjects he studied for his sermons over the years. He was a truly gifted speaker. An enthusiastic participant in life, Bill believed in social change as a way to benefit all of humanity. Bill loved nature and hiked all over the Bay Area. He was particularly fond of Mount Montara in Pacifica.

He is survived by his daughter, Juli Jacobsen (Joe Corollo) of San Lorenzo; his son, Eric Jacobsen of Pacifica; and former wife and dear friend, Dianne Jacobsen, of Palo Alto. He also has family in Canada.

A memorial service will be held at 7:30 pm, Sunday, November 19, 2006, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 505 East Charleston Road, Palo Alto. There will be a reception at the church following the service. Contributions may be made in memory of William R. Jacobsen to the American Cancer Society or a charity of your choice.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Carl Larsen Esenwein (1934-2006)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It’s with a sense of loss that we inform you that The Reverend Carl Larsen Esenwein died Nov. 4, 2006 at his home in Normal, after a long battle with cancer. A celebration of life service will be held at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Campus Religious Center, 210 W. Mulberry St., Normal, Illinois. 

Mr. Esenwein is survived by his mother, Eleanor, of Bloomington IL; his wife, Willemina, Normal; and four children, Marc, Louisville, Colorado; Steve, Dacono, Colorado; Lori (Vaughn) Hoffman, Bloomington, IL; and Willem (Anna) Knibbe, Alameda, California. Also surviving are three grandchildren, Nick and Neil Hoffman and Elleke Knibbe. 

Mr. Esenwein was born June 7, 1934, in Flagstaff, Arizona. In his youth he spent in the Southwest, he enjoyed the outdoors, horses, and magic. He graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in political science. He later decided to enter the Unitarian ministry and graduated from Meadville Lombard Theological Seminary in 1966 and was ordained in 1967. He served Unitarian congregations in Benton Harbor, Michigan and Norfolk, VA from 1966-1974; and served the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bloomington, IL from 1974-1982. He then started his own company which he ran until 2001. 

Known for his vocal opposition to the Vietnam War, Mr. Esenwein was instrumental in helping numerous conscientious objectors find sanctuary in Canada. He was also active in the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and organizations for prison reform. 

During his retirement, he worked tirelessly to restore his historic home to its original condition and rekindled his love of magic. He was known as "Mr. E," a magician whose sleight of hand and illusions delighted old and young. He loved classical music and had a special place in his heart for Beethoven's Ninth. 

The words "thoughtful, loving, caring, compassionate, engaged, generous, handy, funny, responsible and kind" describe Carl Esenwein. His positive and optimistic attitude was an inspiration to those who knew him and all were impressed by the courage and dignity with which he faced the end of his life. 

Memorials may be made to the New Covenant Community, 210 West Mulberry, Normal, IL 61761 or to the Community Cancer Center, 407 East Vernon Avenue, Normal, IL 61761. 

Messages of remembrance may be sent to his wife at 301 West Virginia Avenue, Normal, Illinois, 61761.

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