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In Loving Memory of Alan G. Deale (1927 - 2018)

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Rev. Dr. Alan Glengyle Deale, died on January 29, 2018 at the age of 90.


 Alan was born on August 7, 1927 in Hanover, NH to the Rev. Jessie Deale and the Rev. D. G. Deale. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1945-1947 as a Pharmacist’s Mate, and in the Air Force in 1950 as an Administrative Officer. Alan graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1950 with a BA in English, then earned a Bachelor- and a Master of Sacred Theology from Harvard Divinity School in 1953 and 1954 (respectively). He then spent a year at Oxford, where he met the mother of his children Cynthia, Pat, and Daniel: the late Dr. Shirley Patterson. Rev. Dr. Deale was later awarded a Doctor of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 1979.

Rev. Dr. Deale was ordained by the First Parish Unitarian of Hubbardston, MA on May 29, 1953, where American Unitarian Association President Frederick May Eliot offered the ordination sermon; his parents, both ministers themselves, also participated in the service. He served the Hubbardston church until 1954, then in 1955 he was called to the UU Society of Fairhaven, MA. Rev. Dr. Deale was then called to The UU Church in Rockford, IL, where he served until 1970. In that year he was called to the First Unitarian Church of Portland, OR. While ministering in Portland, Rev. Dr. Deale led the church in purchasing more of the surrounding property, enabling it to remain significant in the life of the city. Alan was also a great supporter of the parish internship program; he was proud that sixteen ministers started their careers as his intern. He served the Portland church for 21 loving years, until his retirement in 1991, at which time the congregation elected Rev. Dr. Deale their Minister Emeritus.   

In addition to his parish ministry, Rev. Dr. Deale served many denominational boards and committees. Alan was President of the Channing Conference of Unitarian Churches (now part of the UUA’s New England Region); and while in Illinois he served on the board of the Western Unitarian Conference and then the Midwestern UU Conference (now part of the MidAmerica Region). He also served on the board of Beacon Press and was the founding Editor of The Journal of the Liberal Ministry. Rev. Dr. Deale was Editor of the UU Ministers’ Association newsletter, Chair of the UUMA’s Nominating Committee, and President of the UUMA’s Pacific Northwest Chapter. And Alan served on the UUA’s Ministerial Fellowship Committee, including as Chair.  

During the Civil Rights Era, Alan and two others formed the War on Poverty Committee for Winnebago County—the second-largest county in Illinois. He served as its Chair and managed to fund significant civic projects in Rockford. Rev. Dr. Deale was at the 1963 March on Washington, and stood close enough to the front platform that he could hear “I Have a Dream” directly. He also joined the 1965 Selma Marches. Alan was also a passionate advocate for the right to die with dignity; he was instrumental in the Oregon Right to Die Society, which was ultimately successful in reforming the state’s laws. When he was predeceased by his second and third wives, the Rev. Marguerite Hessler-Deale and Dr. Leola Lorenzen (mother of Lara), Alan helped enable each of them fulfil their wishes to die at home.  

In his spare time, Alan held many interests including planes, boats, and cars, as well as travel, art, and the theology of many faith traditions. Though an only child, he found himself at the center of a large family, and was well-loved by six children, their partners, and nine grandchildren. He loved to take the children out in his boats for rides and waterskiing, and he followed all their educations with keen interest—often sending them books from his vast collection.  

His widow Kathleen Hunter, mother of Deirdre and Charles, remembers:

[Alan] jokingly said of himself, “I was important in my time.” He had heard this phrase used at an installation of a minister when a list of previous ministers was intoned. The congregation had many worthies and also those unknown. Of these the reader said, “and he was important in his time.”  

Alan is survived by his wife Kathleen Hunter; his children Dr. Cynthia Deale, Alan “Pat” Patterson Deale, and Daniel Deale; his stepchildren Lara Payne, Deirdre McKay, and Charles Corlett; and his nine grandchildren. He was predeceased by his former wife Dr. Shirley Patterson Deale, the late Rev. Marguerite Hessler-Deale, and the late Dr. Leola Lorenzen.  

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4848 Turner St, Rockford, IL 61107, USA.   A memorial service was held on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Rockford, IL.   Notes of condolence may be sent to Kathleen Hunter at 55 Crystal Ave PMB 248, Derry, NH 03038, USA.

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