We offer our condolences to the family and colleagues of the Rev. Gertrude V. Lindener-Stawski, who died on June 12, 2020, at the age of 89.
Gertrude was born on April 4, 1931 in Racine, WI to Wilhelm Vutz and Mathilde Vutz. In 1952, she earned her Bachelor of Music in Piano from Oberlin College, OH following which she performed secretarial work at Case Institute of Technology, Cleveland, OH (1952-1953). She then worked as a piano teacher in Pointe Claire, Quebec, Canada from 1953 to1965. During that time in Pointe Claire, she became very involved with the Lakeshore Unitarian Church where she played piano for the Sunday morning services. Later in 1968, Gertrude graduated from Crane Theological School, MA with her Master of Divinity.
Rev. Lindener-Stawski was ordained by the United Church of Bethel, VT on October 27, 1968 where she carried out her first ministry from 1968 to 1973. From 1973 to 1980, she served as Minister of Education at the First Unitarian Society of Madison, WI; followed by the UU Church, Columbia, MO (1980-1986), and retiring on November 19, 1990. On April 30, 2006, for her service to the congregation, the UU Church of Columbia, MO bestowed honor to Rev. Lindener-Stawski by naming her their Minister Emeritus. Rev. Lindener-Stawski was the first called minister of the Columbia Fellowship.
In addition to her parish ministry, Rev. Lindener-Stawski served various denominational boards and committees. She was President of the Central Midwest Chapter, UUMA (1975-1976); and Worship and workshop leader for the UUWF Allerton Conference (June 1976). She served as a workshop leader for the Central Midwest District Meetings (Nov. 1978) and as President/Coordinator for the UU Ministerial Sisterhood (1978).
Rev. Lindener-Stawski also provided her services to several community organizations. She was chairman of the Student-Faculty Evaluation Committee at the Crane Theological School, MA (1966-1967). She served the Somerville Committee of Racial Understanding, MA (1966-1968); Gifford Memorial Hospital Board of Corporators, VT (1969-1973); University Religious Workers, Madison, WI; and Madison Westside Clergy Group. Furthermore, she was advisor to the community’s non-denominational youth group in Bethel, VT and did advisory work for the Bethel Community Action Program, VT (1971-1973). She had several of her writings published, some of which include: “Powder in the Pulpit”, The Unitarian Christian, Spring 1968; “Mother and Minister in a Community Church”, The Bridge, October 1970; “What is distinctive…”, Kairos, Autumn 1976; and “The New Awakening As Narcissism”, a paper for the Prairie Group, November 1977.
In her spare time, Gertrude enjoyed playing the piano. She was a passionate gardener, growing vegetables and flowers. She loved growing orchids and flowering cacti, sang in community choirs, and impressed her friends with her adventurous cooking.
Gertrude is survived by her daughter Margo Lindener, son Peter Lindener, and stepdaughter Nina Stawski.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, 322 Eighth Avenue, 16th Floor, New York, NY 10001.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
Notes of condolences may be sent to Margo Lindener at: 5908 Pine Hill Crescent, Halifax, NS Canada B3H 1E5.