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In Loving Memory of Dennis Kuby (1934-2019)

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, October 9, 2019

We offer our condolences to the family and colleagues of the Rev. Dennis G. Kuby, who died on April 23, 2019, at the age of 84.

Dennis was born on June 1, 1934 in Cleveland, OH. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Bethany College, WV in 1957, following which he received his theological training from the Oxford University in England (1960-1961). In 1962, Dennis graduated from the St. Lawrence University, NY with a Bachelor of Divinity.

Dennis was ordained on December 16, 1962 by the UU Society of Cleveland, OH where he served for five years (1962-1967). In 1967, Rev. Kuby accepted a call from Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, CA and functioned as a Vice-President (1967-1969). He then returned to parish ministry at the UU Church of Studio City, CA (1969-1971). In 1973, Dennis was granted preliminary fellowship for Specialized Ministry in Ecology.

Rev. Kuby’s services on behalf of the denomination were remarkable. He was President for the Ohio-Meadville District of Unitarian Universalist Ministers, and secretary for the UUA Ministers Co-op. He was the Executive Director for the Ministry of Ecology Inc, CA for over four decades (1974-2019); and served the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Inc.; the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, and the Berkeley Unitarian Fellowship.

Throughout his life Rev. Kuby was noted for his work on promotion of environmental theology, ecological system of ethics, and ecological liturgy. He performed ecological worship services at various churches in the Bay Area and his sermons urged development of more public transportation, replacing cars with bicycles and making ecologically sound values and lifestyles. He conducted workshops and seminars on ecology and religion and suggested ideas for environmental resource problems. He assisted churches in planning model environmental projects and appeared on various television and radio programs discussing a moral response to the energy crisis.

Furthermore, Rev. Kuby served on the board for the Americans For Democratic Action, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the National Committee for Civic Responsibility. He was President for the Bay Area Hemlock Society (later The Socrates Death Acceptance Fellowship); head of the Hemlock Society of California and chair for the Clevelanders for Constitutional Freedom. Dennis frequently contributed to the UU journals and publications, the New York Times and the Christian Science Monitor. Many of his sermons were printed in the Los Angeles Times and the San Fernando Valley News. His article Ecology Is Religion was published by the UU World.

In his spare time, Dennis enjoyed studying and mastering French cooking, he appreciated Opera (Puccini was a favorite), Duplicate Bridge, tennis and yoga. Before his ministerial journey, he served the United States Marine Corps Reserve for two years (1955-1957) and was an honorary discharge recipient.

Dennis’s son Scott shared these lines about his father: “He preferred to be remembered as a Unitarian minister committed to the philosophy of Universalism - that what truly connects and unites us is our common humanity. Three books that shaped and influenced his life were: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius; How to Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie; and The Saviors of God by Nikos Kazantzakis.”

Dennis is survived by his wife Jeanne Kuby and his son Paul “Scott” Kuby.

Memorial donations may be made to the charity of one’s own choosing.

Rev. Kuby had a pre-planned memorial service attended by friends and family on his 60th birthday in Bratenahl, OH. Another memorial service will not be held.

Notes of condolences may be sent to Jeanne Kuby or Scott Kuby, at 1250 Queens Rd, Berkeley, CA 94708.

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In Loving Memory of Mary L. Knight (1955-2019

Posted By Administration, Monday, September 9, 2019
We offer our condolences to the family and colleagues of the Rev. Mary L. Knight, who died on May 22, 2019, at the age of 64.

Mary was born on January 30, 1955, in Pendleton, OR to William Henry Knight and Sara Lou Knight. In 1979, she received an Associate degree in Liberal Arts from Honolulu Community College, HI, following which she earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, in 1981. Mary became certified as a Public Health Nurse in 1986 and became licensed as a registered nurse in HI (1982), WA (1985), MN (1985), and OR (1994). She served these four states for twenty-one years as a nurse in Pediatrics and Maternal Child Health, before ensuing her call toward ministry. In 2007, Mary graduated from Marylhurst University, OR with her Master of Arts in Applied Theology.

Rev. Knight was welcomed into preliminary fellowship on May 14, 2007, and ordained on September 30, 2007, by the Michael Servetus Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, WA (now UU Church of Vancouver). Following her ordination, she executed her community ministry as a Hospice Chaplain at the UU Church of Vancouver, WA (2008-2010); and at the UU Church of Spokane, WA (2010-2014). Rev. Knight achieved Final Fellowship in 2012.

In addition to her community ministry, Rev. Knight performed essential service to the denomination. She was a member of the UU Ministers Association; and a General Assembly Delegate (1983: Vancouver, BC) for the First Unitarian Church, Honolulu, HI. She served as a Choir Member, Care & Concerns Coordinator (1994-2002), and a Lay Minister (1996-1998), for the First Unitarian Church, Portland, OR. Furthermore, Rev. Knight served as a Music Director (2004), and as a Chaplain (2006), for the Pacific North West District Eliot Institute Winter Camp; and regularly preached at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Hood River, OR.

Throughout her life, Mary aimed at spiritual nourishment and healing for the community. She was a First Aid Staff for the International Special Olympics in MN in 1993; a painter for Habitat for Humanity Construction in 1995; and a Patient Support Volunteer for Hopewell House Hospice, Portland, OR in 1997. From 1997 to 1998, Mary served the Providence Child Center, Portland, OR in various positions: as an Interim Director of Family Resource Center; as a Coordinator of the CIRT (Community Information and Referral Team); and as a member of the Continuous Quality Improvement Committee on Staff Retention. She then functioned as a Service Excellence Diplomate (1998) for the Providence Health System, Portland, OR; and volunteered at the Portland Rose Festival Art Exhibit in 2001 and 2002. She was chaplain at the Signature Hospice, OR (2008-2010); and Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children’s Hospital, WA. Mary also performed as a Health Consultant for the Liberty Mutual Health Company.

In her spare time Mary enjoyed watching Jeopardy (“I’m good at it”) on TV, reading, cooking, enjoying nature, hiking walking, seeing/discussing films, visiting family and friends, playing board games, water aerobics and folk dancing.

Mary is survived by her mother Sara Lou Knight; her brothers Bill Knight, Tom Knight, Joel Knight, Dee Knight, David Knight, and Jim Knight; her cousin Susan Knight, nephew Tim Knight, and niece Julie Knight Iwayama; as well as several cousins, nieces and nephews throughout Pacific Northwest, Alaska, California and Utah. She was preceded in death by her father William Henry Knight.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of one’s own choosing, as well as to the PAWS (Progressive Animal Welfare Society), PO Box 1037, Lynwood, WA 98046.

A celebration of Mary’s life was held on Sunday, July 14, 2019 at the First Unitarian Church of Portland, 1211 SW Main St, Portland, OR 97205.

Notes of condolences may be sent to The Knight Family at PO Box 17761, Seattle WA 98127

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In Loving Memory of Dorothy Emerson (1943-2019)

Posted By Administration, Friday, September 6, 2019

We offer our condolences to the family and colleagues of the Rev. Dr. Dorothy M. Emerson, who died on May 13, 2019, at the age of 75.

Dorothy was born on November 20, 1943, in Long Beach, CA, to parents Howard Douglas Emerson and Eloise Clark Emerson. She graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, CA in 1965 with a Bachelor of Arts in German Literature, following which she earned her Master of Arts in Psychology and Education, from the Humanistic Psychology Institute, CA in 1974. She then worked as a consultant for several non-profit and social service organizations before following her call toward ministry. In 1988, Dorothy received her Master of Divinity from the Harvard Divinity School.

Rev. Emerson was ordained on September 25, 1988, by The First Universalist Society of Wakefield, MA, where she carried out her first ministry from 1987 to 1989. From 1989 until 1991, she served the First Church in Belmont, MA, as an Interim Associate Minster. In 1992, Dorothy accepted a call to settled ministry from the UU Church of Medford, MA, where she served for six years. Over the next decade, Rev. Emerson completed parish and community ministries at three congregations: the UU Church of Weymouth, MA (1998-1999); the Unitarian Society of New Haven, CT (2003); and the First Parish Church in Billerica, MA (2008-2010).

Rev. Emerson carried out a great deal of service on behalf of the denomination. She served as an Interim Religious Education Director for the First Parish of Watertown, MA (1988-1989) and as Executive Director for the UU Women’s Heritage Society (1999-2005). She also edited several volumes of UU history including Standing Before Us: Unitarian Universalist Women and Social Reform, 1776-1936 (Skinner House, 1999).

Outside of her ministry, Dorothy served as chairperson for the Black Concerns Working Group of the Massachusetts Bay District, and as a member for the NAACP, Mystic Valley Area Branch; Sustainable Business Networks of Massachusetts; and WAND, Women’s Action for New Directions. She was co-founder of Rainbow Solutions, Inc, a socially responsible investing firm in Medford, MA. Moreover, Dorothy had several books and articles published in her lifetime. Some of her works includeWomen’s History Is Political Action (1989); Glorious Women: Award-Winning Sermons about Women (2004); and Sea Change: the unfinished agenda of the 1960s (2018). In her spare time, Dorothy enjoyed being with friends and family. She loved reading mysteries by women, traveling and exploring the beauty of nature.

Dorothy is survived by her wife Donna E. Clifford; her son Damian Elrod and his wife Kathy Vlietstra; her grandson Zade Elrod; as well as her sister and two brothers.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of one’s own choosing, as well as to the UURMaPA’s UU Rainbow History Project. If you prefer to donate to the Rainbow Project, please make your check payable to Treasurer Dave Hunter with “In honor of Dorothy Emerson” in the memo line, and send to 535 Gradyville Road, Newtown Square, PA 19073.


A green burial took place at 3:30 pm on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at Cedar Grove Burial Ground, Limington, York County, ME. A celebration of Dorothy’s life was held at 10 am on Saturday, June 8, 2019 at Melrose Unitarian Universalist Church, 70 W Emerson St, Melrose, MA 02176.

Notes of condolences may be sent to Donna Clifford at 51 Cedar St. Apt # 4101, Woburn, MA 01801.

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In Loving Memory of William Kennedy

Posted By Administration, Monday, August 26, 2019
We offer our condolences to the family and colleagues of the Rev. William “Bill” N. Kennedy, who died on April 28, 2019, at the age of 69.

Bill was born on June 11, 1949, in San Francisco, CA, where he grew up. He received his Bachelor of Science in Broadcasting from San Diego State University in 1972. Afterwards he worked for thirty years in TV broadcasting before heeding his call toward ministry. In 2005, Bill graduated from Starr King School for the Ministry with a Master of Divinity.

Rev. Kennedy was ordained by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Redwood City, CA, on September 26, 2009, where he served as an affiliated Community Minister. Prior to his ordination, he fulfilled his parish internship at the Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Church, WA (2004-2005) and served the Unitarian Universalist of San Mateo, CA in 2007 as an Adjunct Minister. Rev. Kennedy retired from active ministry in 2017.

Rev. Kennedy dedicated much service to the Unitarian Universalist denomination. Prior to his ordination he served the UU Fellowship of Redwood City on the Board of Trustees, as Chair, and Chair of the Building & Grounds Committee, as well as the Worship Committee and taught Our American Roots, a History curriculum (over three sessions) in October of 2005. He was a member of the Starr King School for the Ministry Chapel Committee (2002-2004); Chair for the UU Committee on Ministry; and Chair and Co-District Networker for the Partner Church Council. Furthermore, Rev. Kennedy helped devise the theme, create and facilitate workshops for the Pacific Central District Men’s Retreat (2002-2004).

Outside his denominational work, Bill was devoted to promoting health and access to health care; he was an advocate for patients who experienced barriers to care, language, and finances. He worked with the Peninsula Interfaith Action in support of San Mateo County ACE Health Care Program for the uninsured and participated in Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in training, fundraising, advocacy and support. In his spare time, Bill enjoyed hiking and biking, particularly the coastal redwoods. In 2000, he participated in a century ride around Lake Tahoe, and raised money for blood cancer research and support.

Bill’s wife noted after his death: “Bill was loved by many and is sincerely missed”.

Rev. Kennedy’s colleagues had these lovely words to offer:

Rev. Judy Welles: “Bill was a cherished colleague and longtime friend. We met on the bus in Transylvania where I first experienced his warm heart, acerbic wit, and gentle compassionate nature”.

Rev. Thomas Anastasi: “I will always remember Bill as the best intern minister you could ever have”.

Rev. Cecilia Kingman: “Bill was a gift to me and I’m so grateful we were friends”.

Rev. Theresa Hardy: “Bill was a joy, welcomed you, encouraged you, made it feel like somebody was thrilled you were there at the moment for that event, large or small”.

Bill is survived by his wife Geri; his son Adam; his daughter Amanda; and his beloved granddaughter Iola.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of one’s own choosing, as well as to the International Myeloma Foundation or the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation or the Sempervirens Fund.

A celebration of Bill’s life took place at 2 pm on Saturday May 25, 2019 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Redwood City, 2124 Brewster Avenue, Redwood City, CA 94062. Notes of condolences may be sent to the Geri L. Kennedy at 7811 S. 113th St., Seattle, WA 98178.

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In Loving Memory of Edward Searl (1947-2019)

Posted By Administration, Monday, August 26, 2019
We offer our condolences to the family and colleagues of the Rev. Edward “Ed” Searl, who died on July 28, 2019, at the age of 71.

Ed is survived by his wife of 51 years, Ellie Searl; his daughter Katie Bodnar; his brother Clint Searl; and his two grandchildren Brett and Bridget Bodnar. He was predeceased by his parents, Clinton and Mary Walter Searl.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Edward Searl Memorial Fund at the Unitarian Church of Hindsdale, 11 West Maple Avenue St., Hinsdale, IL 60521.

A memorial service will take place at 2 pm on Saturday, September 21, 2019 at the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale, 11 West Maple Avenue, Hinsdale, IL 60521 (date and time to be decided).

Notes of condolences may be sent to Ellie Searl at 7300 Johnson Farm Lane, Apt. 102, Chadds Ford, PA 19317.

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In Loving Memory of David Johnson (1935-2019)

Posted By Hannah A. Franco-Isaacs, Monday, August 26, 2019
Updated: Friday, September 6, 2019
We offer our condolences to the family and colleagues of the Rev. David A. Johnson, who died on July 22, 2019, at the age of 83.

David was born on October 16, 1935, in Buffalo, NY, to Axel H. Johnson and Glenna B. Johnson. He graduated from Antioch College, OH, in 1958, with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, following which he received his Master of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Illinois in 1961. In 1964, David earned his Bachelor of Divinity from the Meadville Lombard Theological School, IL.

David was welcomed into Preliminary Fellowship on April 14, 1964, and ordained on October 25, 1964, by the Unitarian Society of Cleveland, OH. Following his ordination, he served the UU Church of Bloomington, IN (1964-1970), and then the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh, PA (1970-1973). In 1973, Rev. Johnson accepted a call from the UU Church of Tucson, AZ; he ministered there for fifteen years, until 1988. Finally, he fulfilled his parish ministry at the First Parish in Brookline, MA (1988-2003), before his retirement in 2003.

After his retirement, Rev. Johnson was drawn to interim ministry and served as an interim minister at the following congregations: First Unitarian Church in New Bedford, MA (2003-2005); the First Parish UU Church, Bridgewater, MA (2005-2006); the Unitarian Church of Marlborough & Hudson, MA (2006-2007); the UU Meeting House, Chatham, MA (2007-2008); and the First Parish in Plymouth, MA (2008-2010). In 2010, the UU Church of Tucson, AZ, honored him as Minister Emeritus for his meritorious service to the congregation. From 2010 to 2012, Rev. Johnson served the UU Meeting House of Provincetown, MA; and finally, the United First Parish Church, Quincy, MA (2012-2014).

Rev. Johnson’s service on behalf of the denomination was extensive. He was the business manager for the First UU College Conference, Lake Forest, IL (1961); and a member and officer, for the Liberal Religious Scholars Collegium. He served as a chairman for the Ohio Valley UU Congregation (OVUUC) College Centers Committee (1964-1968), Nominating Committee (1966), and Conference (1962); and was a Host Minister in 1966. Thereafter, Rev. Johnson functioned as a member of the Advisory Committee, UUA Division of Education (1967-1969), and Division of Education & S.R. Curriculum Development Committee on UU Identity (1971-1975). He was president for the Alumni Association of the Meadville Lombard Theological School (1972-1974), and an organizer for the International Association of Religious Freedom Native American Conference (1976). From 1980 to 1982, Rev. Johnson worked as a board member for the Pacific Southwest District Board, UUA; and for the UU Support of Sanctuary as a founder and chair (1986).

Beyond his ministry and denominational activities, Rev. Johnson was affiliated with several community organizations. He was officer and committee chair for the American Civil Liberties Union; and President for the Pima Council on Aging and Tucson Interfaith Coalition on Aging. He served as a board member for the Apache Cultural History Foundation; Parents United; and United Way President’s Council. Furthermore, David chaired the Independence Citizens Committee; Tucson Unified School District; and Sanctuary Covenant Churches. In his spare time, he enjoyed skiing, sailing and writing articles on Gerontological Theology, and Universalist and Unitarian History.

David is survived by his wife Julie Coulter; his sons Kirk Johnson, Erik Johnson, and Matthew Johnson; his stepchildren James (Jim) MacDonald, Nancy MacDonald and Darren MacDonald; and his several grandchildren and a step grandchild.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Unitarian Universalist Retired Ministers and Partners Association. Please address the donations to Dave Hunter, Treasurer, 535 Gradyville Road #V-211, Newton Square, PA 19073 with a note “In memory of David A. Johnson” on the memo line.

A celebration of David’s life was held at 2 pm on Thursday, August 1, 2019, at the First Parish of Brookline, 382 Walnut St, Brookline, MA 02445. Notes of condolences may be sent to Julie Coulter at 25 Allen Avenue, North Providence, RI 02911.

Please Note: The UUMA has two members named David A. Johnson. Retired Interim minister, the Rev. Dr. David A. Johnson, continues to reside in Overland Park, Kansas

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In Loving Memory of Oren Peterson (1927-2019)

Posted By Administration, Monday, August 26, 2019
We offer our condolences to the family and colleagues of the Rev. Oren Arthur “Pete” Peterson, who died on June 10, 2019, at the age of 91.

Oren is survived by his wife of 49 years, Patricia Knight Peterson; his children Thea Peterson, Thomas Peterson, Laura Peterson, and David Peterson; his nine grandchildren Michael, Oren Silas, Nathan, Beth, Rebecca, Anton, Tepper, Stella, and Leonard; and his three great-grandchildren Theo, Raven, and Alva. He was preceded in death by his siblings Adela Engel and Phyllis Murphy; his twin brother Keith Peterson; his sons Oren A. Peterson Jr and Paul Peterson; and his grandson Max.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Planned Parenthood of the Heartland; and to the Good Life Fund at Scottish Rite Park, 2909 Woodland Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312.

A celebration of Oren’s life took place at 10.30 am on Saturday, August 17, 2019, at the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines, 1800 Bell Ave, Des Moines, IA 50315.

Notes of condolences may be sent Patricia Peterson at 2909 Woodland Ave, Apt # 1001, Den Moines, IA 50312.

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In Loving Memory of Judith Walker-Riggs (1939-2019)

Posted By Administration, Monday, August 26, 2019

 

(Image from UU World)

We offer our condolences to the family and colleagues of the Rev. Judith A. Walker-Riggs, who died on July 8, 2019 at the age of 79.

Judith is survived by her sons Iain Urquhart and James Urquhart; and her stepson Steven Riggs.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the charity of one’s own choosing.

A celebration of Judith’s life took place at 10 am on Saturday, July 13, 2019 at the Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 1025 Mt. Vernon Highway NW, Sandy Springs, GA 30327.

Notes of condolences may be sent to James Urquhart at 3208 Fairview Avenue, Alameda, CA 94501.

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In Loving Memory of Carolyn Colbert (1934-2019)

Posted By Administration, Monday, August 26, 2019
We offer our condolences to the family and colleagues of the Rev. Carolyn W. Colbert, who died on June 4, 2019 at the age of 85.

Carolyn was born on May 24, 1934, in Oakland, CA to Horton Richard Colbert and Lynette Colbert. She attended Goddard College, VT from 1952 to 1953, following which she went to the University of California at Northridge (1958-1964). From 1972 until 1975, she worked as an Adjunct Faculty at Starr King School for the Ministry, CA teaching Human Sexuality, Awareness Work, and Adolescent Development. Later, Carolyn applied to Starr King, where she earned her Master of Divinity degree in 1978.

Carolyn was welcomed into Preliminary Fellowship in 1982 and ordained on June 10, 1984, by the Unitarian Church of Davis, CA. From 1982 to 1986, she carried out her ministry as an on-call minister at the San Francisco Unitarian Church. In 1986, she was called to settled ministry by Community UU Church, in Kennewick, WA where she would serve until 1989. Rev. Colbert also served the Cascade UU Fellowship, in Wenatchee, WA as a Consulting Minister from 1987 to 1989. In 1989, she accepted another call to settled ministry from the UU Fellowship in San Luis Obispo, CA and ministered for six years (1989-1995). Henceforth in the decade that followed, Rev. Colbert completed a series of parish ministries at the following congregations: the UU Congregation at Shelter Rock, NY (1995-1996); the UU Church at Washington Crossing, NJ (1996-1997); the UU Church of Fresno, CA (1997-1998); and the UU Church in Eugene, OR (1998-2006). She retired from active ministry in 2006; in the same year the UU Church in Eugene, OR, honored her as their Minister Emerita. After her retirement, Rev. Colbert served as an interim minister for three congregations: the UU Fellowship of Los Gatos, CA (2006-2007); the UU Church in Livermore, CA (2007-2008); and the Rogue Valley UU Fellowship, OR (2008-2010).

Rev. Colbert performed services on behalf of the denomination, as a Board Member and as a member of the Pacific Central District (PCD) of the UUA. Also for the PCD she served the Refugio Planning Committee; was Facilitator/Planner for the Buried Voices Convocation of Women and for the PCD Board Retreat, as well as for Davis, Palo Alto and Livermore UU board retreats. She served as a member and Program Chair for the Pacific Northwest District of UUA (PNWD). She was also a member of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association.

In addition to her ministry, Rev. Colbert passionately served the communities to which she belonged. She was President for the Ministerial Association of San Luis Obispo County; training organizer on Domestic Violence for The San Luis Obispo Ministerial Association; organizer for the Ecumenical Emergency Homeless Shelter; and appointed member of the District Attorney’s Task Force on Domestic Violence. She was a speaker at Persian Gulf War protests; at Pro Choice rallies; and at several interfaith services. Carolyn served as organizer and preacher for interfaith AIDS service at Cal Poly University, and as a Board member for the Tri Cities, WA, Women’s Shelter. She was instrumental in organizing Nagasaki Memorial ceremonies and various Peace programs in Richland, WA (home of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation). Her workA Structure of Adolescent Workshops was published by Project Community and the Teacher’s Center for Self-Understanding, University of California. In her spare time, Carolyn practiced her Tai Chi form (Yang style), read and wrote poetry. She also loved to travel and had a large plant collection.

Carolyn is survived by her daughters: Charlin Sawyer, Shanda Sawyer, Katherine Sawyer; her beloved black cat Layla; and many UUA communities and friends who knew her during her lifetime of service.

In lieu of flowers, donations will be gratefully accepted by the family. Donations received will be used to cover the funeral and memorial costs and any donations received over these costs will be donated toPlanned Parenthood. If you choose to donate, please make your check payable to Charlin Sawyer with “In honor of the Rev. Carolyn W. Colbert” in the memo line, and send it to Rev. Carolyn Colbert, PO Box 1104, Woodacre, CA 94973.

A celebration of Carolyn’s life will take place at 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 13, 2019 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, 1 Lawson Rd, Kensington, CA 94707.

Notes of condolences can be sent to: Charlin Sawyer, PO Box 1104, Woodacre, CA 94973.

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In Loving Memory of Erinn Melby (1948 - 2019)

Posted By Administration, Monday, July 22, 2019

The Rev. Erinn Jeanne Caitlin Melby died on May 18, 2019, at the age of 70.

Rev. Melby was born on July 15, 1948 in Benson, Minnesota, to William Lincoln Melby and Betty Jane (McNellis) Melby. In 1975, she received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and English from Macalester College, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Southern Colorado. Rev. Melby spent eight years in the U.S. Air Force as a Computer Operations Supervisor for NORAD Headquarters in Colorado Springs, CO, before heeding her call toward ministry. In 1984, she graduated from Starr King School for the Ministry (SKSM), CA, with her Master of Divinity.

Rev. Melby was one of the first Unitarian Universalists to attend seminary as an openly trans person; she came out to SKSM during her first year while giving a presentation on “gays, lesbians, and transsexuals.” She had first come out as trans in 1967 and first changed her name in 1975, although she went on to maintain a relationship with her pre-transition self, Karl, for the rest of her life.

Like almost all aspiring trans UU ministers, Rev. Melby experienced barriers to living out her call to ministry. She went before the Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC) unsuccessfully in both 1984 and 1985. Almost a decade later, after a two-year chaplain residency and a day-and-a-half-long psychological evaluation, she was finally passed by the MFC. She was welcomed into preliminary fellowship in 1994 and ordained on June 4, 1995, by the UU Church of Davis, CA.

Following her ordination, Rev. Melby served as a Chaplain/Spiritual Counsellor at Yolo Hospice for sixteen years (1995–2011). In leading the annual memorial service, her warm, resonant voice welcomed everyone to touch the tenderness of grief, no matter what face of “The Holy” they had or hadn’t known. She simultaneously served the UU Church of Palo Alto, CA, as its first community minister (1999–2001) and directed a Pastoral Associates Program at the congregation. In 2011, Rev. Melby retired from active ministry.

Outside her ministry, Rev. Melby was an active participant in UUA district and regional activities. She was involved with the Pacific Central District UUA, particularly around LGBTQ issues. She also was an active member of TRUUsT (Transgender Religious professional UUs Together). One of the fifteen people who attended the first TRUUsT membership retreat in 2016 in Pacific Grove, CA, Rev. Melby was a minister to ministers, offering her chaplaincy and pastoral care to the TRUUsT community.

Throughout her life, Rev. Melby worked on issues of social justice, particularly related to HIV/AIDS. She served as a Consultant to the Sacramento AIDS Interfaith Network; assisted the Sacramento AIDS Housing Alliance; and provided pastoral care to the LGBTQ community via the Lambda Center and UC Davis Medical Center. In her spare time, she enjoyed writing short stories, reading mysteries, drawing, and painting, as well as attending concerts and plays.

Rev. Melby is survived by her children Hans Melby, Bjorn Melby, Anna (Melby) Strain; her aunt Joanne (McNellis) Kavanaugh; four grandchildren; hundreds of friends; and her extended family within TRUUsT.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to TRUUsT (Transgender Religious professional UUs Together) and/or the American Cancer Society.

A celebration of Rev. Melby’s life will take place at 2 pm on Saturday, July 27th, 2019, at the UU Church of Davis, 27074 Patwin Road, Davis, CA 95616.

Notes of condolences may be sent to Anna Strain at 8805 Acadia Road, St. Paul, MN 55125.

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