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In Memory . . . Carolyn Buss Podulka (1933-2007)

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 Carolyn F. B. Podulka. Reverend Podulka died Friday, August 17, 2007 after suffering a stroke. She was 74 years of age.

Ms. Podulka was born May 27, 1933 in St. Louis, Missouri. She received a B.S. from the University of Lowell and a diploma from the Unitarian Universalist Association's Independent Study Program. In 1988 she received a Master of Divinity from the Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. She was granted Preliminary Fellowship in 1980 and Final Fellowship on May 7, 1984. On March 1, 1981 the Unitarian Church of Evanston, Illinois ordained her.

Reverend Podulka served the Unitarian Church of Evanston, Illinois as a Minister of Religious Education from February 1, 1976 to February 1, 1985. She was a Pastoral Counselor at the Hospice of the Northshore in Wilmette, Illinois.

Her husband Gene Podulka and her children W. David Buss of Los Angeles, California; Dennis F. Buss of Lake Forest, Illinois; Timothy D. Buss of Bay City, Michigan; and Heidi Ann Buss of St. Paul, Minnesota; 15 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren survive Reverend Podulka. Messages of remembrance may be sent to: 

Mr. Gene Podulka 
1321 Sleepy Hollow Road
Glenview, IL 60025-3043

A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 22, 2007 at the Northshore Unitarian Church, 2100 Half Day Road, Deerfield, Illinois. Family and friends will lead the service.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Richard Kimball (1934-2007)

Posted By Administrator, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with great sadness that Ministry and Professional Leadership informs you of the death of the Reverend Richard G. Kimball. He died Saturday, June 23, 2007 at the age of 72.

Reverend Kimball was born August 18, 1934. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University, a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School and a Master of Education from Boston University.

Mr. Kimball was fellowshipped in May 1959, and ordained in June 1959 at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. He served congregations in Hingham, Westborough, Somerville, Billerica, Fitchburg, Woburn, Boston, West Roxbury and Essex, all in Massachusetts. He also served the Stockport Unitarian Church in Stockport, England from 1960 to 1961. He was named Minister Emeritus by Theodore Parker UU Church in West Roxbury in 1985 and by the First Universalist Church of Essex in 2004.

Active in both denominational and community affairs, he was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns Committee, the Religious Arts Guild, the Interfaith Committee, the Visiting Nurses Association, the Aids Action Committee and many other social service organizations. A gifted teacher, he was an instructor of Psychology at Bunker Hill Community College, Mass. Bay Community College, Newbury College and the Berklee School of Music.

His wife, Deirdre Kimball, and son Jordan Kimball, who is currently living in Guinea, West Africa, working with Action Against Hunger, survive Richard.
Messages of remembrance may be sent to:|

Ms. Deirdre Kimball
29 St. John Street
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date and will be held at the Goddard Memorial Chapel at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. Once the date has been established a notice will be sent.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Margaret Odell (1912-2007)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, 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 Margaret Odell. She died on May 28, 2007 following a stroke. She was 94 years of age.

Reverend Odell was born October 3, 1912 in Spokane, Washington. She received a BS from Syracuse University in 1932; a MRE from Boston University in 1934, and in 1983, Starr King School for the Ministry awarded her an honorary STD. 

She entered Fellowship in April 1971 and was ordained June 5, 1971 by the Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church in Alexandria, Virginia. Reverend Odell served congregations as a religious educator in Wellesley Hills, and Worcester, Massachusetts; Philadelphia (Germantown), Pennsylvania; Princeton, New Jersey; Alexandria (Mount Vernon) and Reston, Virginia; and Columbia, Maryland. In addition, she was an educational consultant in the Ohio-Meadville District from 1968 to 1977. The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, Maryland named her Emerita Minister in 1983.

A tireless advocate for religious education, she participated in the organizing meeting of the Liberal Education Directors Association (now the Liberal Religious Educators Association) and served as its president from 1953-1955. In 1974 she was awarded the Angus MacLean award for excellence in religious education in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the field. 

Reverend Odell leaves no survivors. The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia and a few long-time friends are her family. Messages of remembrance may be sent to: 

The Rev. Paige Getty
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia
7246 Cradlerock Way
Columbia, MD 21045-5048

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, July 8, 2007, 1:30 p.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, 7246 Cradlerock Way, Columbia, MD 21045. The Reverend Paige Getty will officiate.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Kenneth J. Smith (1917-2007)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a deep sense of loss that the Ministry & Professional Leadership Staff Group informs you that the Reverend Kenneth Jackson Smith died Wednesday, March 21, 2007 at his retirement home in Penney Farms, Florida. He had recently celebrated his 90th birthday.

Mr. Smith was born January 29, 1917 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He received an A.B. from Wittenberg College in 1939, a B.D. from Meadville Theological School in 1949 and was a Cruft Fellow at the London School of Economics in 1950. In addition, he did Post-graduate work at New York University from 1961-1962 and was part of the Federated Theological Faculty at the University of Chicago.

He received Fellowship in 1949 and was ordained April 1, 1951 by the First Universalist Church of Duluth, Minnesota. Smith served congregations in Duluth, Minnesota; Garden City, New York; and Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts.

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Martha's Vineyard named him Minister Emeritus in 1987 following his retirement. He served as interim minister in Corpus Christi, Texas from 1990-1991.

Smith was active in community and denominational affairs. His lifelong interest in promoting peace and equality led him to chair committees to further the efforts for racial equality in the 1960s while living in Philadelphia where he ministered to the Ethical Culture Society.

His niece, Susan DePass in California, survives him. In 1984 he married Ruth Luening who predeceased him. At his request there were no services.

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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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