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In Memory of Robert M. Doss (1927 - 2016)

Posted By Michelle Pederson, Monday, March 14, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, March 15, 2016


The Rev. Dr. Robert Mabry Doss died on February 12, 2016 at the age of 88.


Bob was born on September 12, 1927 in Jacksonville, FL. He served in the United States Army as a Sergeant Major in Nagoya, Japan from 1946 to 1947, and went on to receive a Bachelor of Art from the University of Richmond in 1949. Called to the ministry, he studied at Colgate-Rochester Divinity School and Starr King School for the Ministry, and he graduated from Starr King with a Bachelor of Divinity in 1959. He obtained his Doctor of Divinity in 1980 from the Meadville-Lombard Theological School.


Rev. Doss was ordained to the ministry in 1959 by the Unitarian Church of Rockville, MD and was subsequently called to serve as minister. In 1963, he was called to serve as minister to the First Unitarian Society of Wilmington, DE. He held the pastorate for over thirty years until his retirement in 1994, at which point the congregation named him Minister Emeritus.


Rev. Doss’ service to the denomination spanned over many years. He served as Chair of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Ministerial Fellowship Committee from 1968 to 1971; President of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association; Board Member of Beacon Press; Board Member of the St. Lawrence Foundation for Theological Education; Member of the UUA Panel on Theological Education; member of the UUA Religious Education Accreditation Committee (now the Religious Education Credentialing Committee); various positions on Greater Washington Association of Unitarian Universalist Congregations; and member of several ministerial study groups.


Outside of the denomination, he was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; board member of Planned Parenthood; and a board member of the American Civil Liberties Union. And he marched in Selma, AL.


Bob had many talents: singing, drawing designs and caricatures, and writing children’s stories to accompany his sermons. His love of nature, as a “naturalistic humanist,” evolved into camping summers in Maine where he hiked, canoed, and collected and carved walking sticks. Outdoors at home, he loved to build stone patios and cairns, plant trees, and take meditation walks in the morning.


He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Margaret W. Doss; his daughter, Katherine D. Briggs (Michael); his son, Kenneth M. Doss (Alicia); his brothers, James V. Doss, and Thomas L. Doss; his sister-in-law, Norma Doss; and his five grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents James and Sarah Doss, and his brother William H. Doss.


Condolences may be sent to Peggy Doss, Ken Doss, and Kathy Briggs at 112 Wynwood Drive, Wilmington, DE 19810-4428.


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