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In Memory of . . . Stanley Aronson (1933-2015)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, February 19, 2015
The Rev. Stanley Aronson died on January 12, 2015, at the age of 81.

Stanley was born on June 5, 1933 to Abraham and Tillie Aronson. He attended Temple University, and graduated with a Doctor of Podiatry in 1958. He served in the United States Army Medical Service Corps from 1959 to 1962; then worked as a podiatrist and a disc jockey before entering seminary. He graduated with a Master of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry in 1982.

Rev. Aronson was ordained to the ministry in 1982 by the First Unitarian Church of Berkeley, CA (now the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley in Kensington, CA). He was first called to serve as Interim Minister to the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto, and he served there for one year. From 1982 to 1985, he served as extension minister to the Unitarian Fellowship of Houston, TX, the Bay Area Unitarian Fellowship of Houston, TX, and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Galveston County, TX. He then served as Urban Extension Minister to the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Detroit, MI from 1985 to 1988; Interim Minister to the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany, NY from 1988 to 1989; Interim Minister to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County of State College, PA, from 1989 to 1990; and Minister to the Unitarian Universalist Society of Stamford, CT from 1990 to 1999. He was elected Minister Emeritus to the Unitarian Universalist Society of Stamford, CT in 1999.

Rev. Aronson served in various denominational and community organizations. His involvement included, but was not limited to, serving as Co-Chair of the Urban Church Coalition of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA); Co-Chair of the Unitarian Universalist District of Michigan (UUDOM) Extension Committee; and Good Offices Person and Chapter President of the UUDOM-Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association. He also served as Board Member of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights; Member of the Interfaith Conference on Liberal Religion; Board Member of the Pacific House Shelter for the Homeless; Vice President of the Council on Churches/Synagogues; Committee Member of the Interfaith AIDS Advisory Committee; and Founding Member of the Interfaith Dialogue Task Force

Stanley had a wide range of interests, including writing, music, exercising, and film. A Harley Davidson enthusiast, he rode his Harley coast to coast, from Berkeley, California to Toronto, Canada during the late 1970’s, a journey that took almost a month to complete. He loved the New York Times crossword puzzles and would often be able to complete the Sunday editions. Stanley was very social, and according to his son, Brad, “died having had more friends than most could only dream of having.”

Stanley’s son, Brad, remembers his father as an “empathetic person” with a “great sense of humor.” Brad is proud of his father’s counseling skills, and his ability to listen and guide without passing judgment. “He was a very giving and generous father,” said Brad, “and he was always there for us.”

He is survived by his sons, Greg (Aileen); Kevin (Christina); and Brad (Joey); grandchildren, Sean and Ryan; and great grandchildren, Christian, Alexis, Gracie, and Preston.

Notes of condolences may be sent to Brad Aronson, 1262 Truchard Lane, Lincoln, CA 95648.

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In Memory of . . . Roberta M. "Bobbie" Nelson (1935-2015)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, February 19, 2015
The Rev. Dr. Roberta M. “Bobbie” Nelson died on January 2, 2015 at the age of 79.

Bobbie was born on June 9, 1935 to Raymond A. Martin and Vera R. Martin. She graduated from Tufts University, with a Bachelor of Science, in 1958. She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 1996.

Bobbie was certified as an Accredited Director of Religious Education by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) in 1967. She served as Director of Religious Education to First Parish in Needham, MA from 1959 to 1973, and to Fairfax Unitarian Church of Oakton, VA from 1973 to 1980. She was ordained to the ministry in 1980 by the Fairfax Church, and then served as their Minister of Religious Education from 1980 to 1987. She went on to serve as Minister of Religious Education to Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church of Bethesda, MD from 1987 to 2001, and was named their Minister Emerita in 2002.

Rev. Nelson stayed engaged with the denomination at large throughout the entirety of her career, and was involved in groundbreaking projects. She was active within the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA), and served as Secretary, Vice-President and President. She chaired the Sexuality Education Task Force, a former project of the UUA and United Church of Christ (UCC), and served on the UUA and Meadville Lombard joint Envisioning Committee concerning the Transition of the Independent Study Program (ISP) from the UUA to Meadville Lombard, and the establishment of the Sophia Lyon Fahs Center at Meadville Lombard. She was an advisor to candidates in the ISP and Modified Residency Program from 1971 to 2008. She served on a myriad of UUA committees, and served on the Board of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA) and as vice president from 2001 to 2004.

Rev. Nelson was a major interpreter and trainer of the UUA’s About Your Sexuality (AYS) Program, and led countless AYS teacher training workshops. The program was launched in 1971, and was run by Unitarian Universalist congregations for over 25 years. With her husband, Chris Nelson, Bobbie coauthored the curricula, Parents as Resident Theologians, Parents as Spiritual Guides, and Parents as Social Justice Educators.

Rev. Nelson received the Angus H. MacLean Award for Excellence in Religious Education in 1975; the Larry Axel Award for Teaching Excellence from Meadville Lombard and the Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation Ministry to Women Award, both in 2001. In 2002, she was selected as the UUMA’s Berry Street Essayist.

Rev. Nelson’s colleagues and family members recall her willingness to speak up for things that she felt strongly about. “She was never afraid or hesitant,” her husband, Chris Nelson, remembers. Bobbie’s commitment to speaking her truth led her to serve as the spokesperson chosen to defend the About Your Sexuality program when it was under attack on the national television segment, Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel. Former colleague Judith A. Frediani writes, ‘For forty years, when Unitarian Universalist religious education needed a voice, Bobbie spoke out. Whenever leadership was called for, Bobbie was called.”

Bobbie enjoyed traveling, reading, cooking, and entertaining. Post-retirement, she volunteered at an elementary school and treasured the hours she spent with first and second graders.

"A wink or a hint of a smile became her last words but love, courage, and faith sustained her to the end. She died at peace," said her husband, Chris Nelson.

Bobbie is survived by her husband of 54 years, Christopher “Chris” B. Nelson; daughters, Heather Nelson, Joy Saams (John), and Jennifer Nelson; grandchildren Jack, James, and Julia Saams; and brother, Donald A. Martin (Jean).

A memorial service was held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ellsworth, ME, at 2:00 PM on Saturday, January 10. Another service will be held at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda, MD, on Saturday, April 25th at 1 PM.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory can be made to: Roberta Nelson Prize for Excellence in Religious Education at Meadville Lombard Theological School, 610 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603 or to The Star Island Corporation Morton-Benedict House, 30 Middle St., Portsmouth, NH 03801

Notes of condolences may be sent to the family at 41 Astbury Lane, Sedgwick, ME 04676-3423.

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In Memory of . . . Albert H. Thelander (1925- 2014)

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 9, 2014
The Rev. Albert “Al” Hill Thelander died on October 20, 2014, at the age of 89.

Al was born on August 8, 1925 to Margaret and Albert Levi Thelander. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Harvard University in 1949, and went on to serve the United States Air Force from 1952 to 1970. He then graduated from Starr King School for the Ministry in 1973.

Rev. Thelander was ordained at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Saddleback Valley of Laguna Hills, CA, (now Tapestry, A Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Mission Viejo, CA) in 1977, and served as minister to the church from 1977 to 1979. He was called to serve as minister to the Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bayside, CA in 1979. He served Humboldt until his retirement in 1993, at which point he was voted Minister Emeritus.

Rev. Thelander was deeply committed to the denomination. He served as founding member and secretary of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Cooperative, Pacific Central District of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) from 1975 to 1977; Northern California area coordinator to the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee from 1975 to 1976; chair of the denominational affairs and communications committee of the Pacific Southwest District of the UUA from 1978 to 1979; Board of Directors of the Pacific Central District from 1983 to 1987; and President of the Pacific Central District from 1985 to 1987.

Al was interested in chess, carpentry, reading, and spending time with family. He was affectionately called GrandAl, by his family. Al’s granddaughter, Emmy, remembers, “GrandAl approached everything in life, including the whimsical and the grave, with the assumption that it was--or could be--meaningful. He was and is a model for intentional living.”

Albert is survived by his wife of 63 years, Mary; children, Carl Thelander (Billy Thelander), Margo Thelander (Don Matthews), and Kate Alvarez (Paul Alvarez); grandchildren, Emmy, Max, Alicia, Alex, Cara and Shane; and great-grandchildren, Davin, Anderson, and Collin.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Notes of condolences may be sent to Mary Thelander, 12833 Lake Wildwood Drive, Penn Valley, CA 95946.

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In Memory of . . . Lee Devoe Greiner (1959-2014)

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Rev. Lee Devoe Greiner died on October 18, 2014 at the age of 55.

Lee was born on May 29, 1959 to Arthur and Ann Greiner. She graduated from Middlebury College, with a Bachelor of Arts degree, in 1991, and from the Pacific School of Religion, with a Master of Divinity Degree, in 1995.

Rev. Devoe Greiner was ordained by the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society of Middlebury, VT, in 1996. She was called as the first full-time minister to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Idaho Falls, ID, in 1996, and she served the congregation until 2004. She went on to serve as associate minister to the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa from 2005 to 2006; interim minister to the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Augusta, ME from 2006 to 2009; interim minister to All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church of Kansas City, MO from 2009 to 2010; and interim minister to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Upper Valley of Norwich, VT from 2011 to 2013.

Rev. Devoe Greiner served the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA) as a Chapter Leader to the Northeast UUMA Chapter from 2007 to 2009. She helped the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) develop its policy on ethical eating and humane treatment of animals, and was active in regional ministerial groups and the Interim Ministers’ Guild.

Lee treasured both the earth and its people. She spent the last few years of her life living on a home atop Bethel Mountain, VT, with grounds covered in flowers, fruits and vegetables - she found joy in tending to the land. Her daughter, Eliza, lived with her throughout the past two years, and her other daughter, Jamaica, and her family lived close by. Lee was a loving and devoted mother and relished the time she spent with her children and grandson.

Lee was a lifelong learner and kept a vast library of books on religion, spirituality, and travel. Her sense of adventure and purpose led her to study Arabic in Morocco, Sufism in Turkey, and teach at a camp for war-traumatized children from the former Yugoslavia.

UUA Transitions Director, Rev. Keith Kron, writes:

“On a more personal note, Lee was also my dear friend. We could not get together without much laughter, stimulating conversation, and deep affection. She had an infectious gift for loving life, making the most of a situation, and being able to see what possibilities might be ahead. She passed this onto me and countless others…. I always looked forward to our time together, even when life was hard. That was because Lee was, what every good minister strives to be, a source of hope.”

 

She is survived by her three children, Jamaica Burns Griffin (Ferron), Ben Burns (Jennifer) and Eliza Burns; grandson, Skye Devoe Griffin; mother, Ann Brousseau; sisters, Michael Ann Greiner (Jim Muller) and Mary Conlon (Peter); and stepmother, Joan Greiner.

A memorial service was held at 5:00 P.M on November 7th, at the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society, 2 Duane Court (at Charles Avenue), Middlebury, VT 05753.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Unitarians for the Ethical Treatment of Animals at uuam.org, or the Arts Bus Project, c/o Kimball Library, 67 Main St., Randolph, VT 05060 or artsbusvt.org.

Condolences may be sent to Eliza Burns, 171 Campbell Road, Bethel, VT 05032. Online condolences may be left at www.dayfunerals.com.

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In Memory of . . . William A. DeWolfe (1927-2014)

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 24, 2014

The Rev. William A. “Bill” DeWolfe died on October 29, 2014 at the age of 87.

 

Bill was born on August 21, 1927 to John Campbell Gordon DeWolfe and Miriam Elbridge Ford DeWolfe.  Bill served in the United States Army from 1945 to 1947. Succeeding his service, he graduated Tufts College with a Bachelor of Art 1950, Harvard University with a Bachelor in Sacred Theology in 1953, and Springfield College with a Master’s in Education in 1963.

 

Rev. DeWolfe was ordained by The First Universalist Church of Norwell, MA in 1952. He was called to the First Universalist Society of Wakefield, MA in 1953; he served the Wakefield parish until 1955. He went on to serve as minister to First Parish Universalist of Stoughton, MA from 1956 to 1960; to 16 Acres Unitarian Universalist Church of Springfield, MA from 1960 to 1964; to First Unitarian Church of San Antonio, TX from 1964 to 1970; and to First Unitarian Church of St. Louis, MO from 1970 to 1973. Following his parish ministries, Bill served as Interdistrict Representative to the Eastern Great Lakes Area of the UUA from 1973 to 1985, and District Representative to the Central Massachusetts and Connecticut Valley Districts of the UUA from 1986 to 1992.

 

Heavily invested in the denomination, Rev. DeWolfe worked as a crew member, staff member and institute leader at Ferry Beach, Star Island, Rowe, and Lake Murray, Oklahoma and Ohio-Meadville Summer Institutes. He held memberships in the Fraters of the Wayside Inn; the Cedar Hill Study Group; the Executive Board of the Northern New England Unitarian Universalist District; the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA) and the Unitarian Universalist Retired Ministers and Partners Association, in which he served a term as president.  He served as president of the Universalist Historical Society from 1958 to 1964; founded the Eastern Great Lakes Leadership School; and served as board member and founder of the Connecticut Valley District of the Unitarian Universalist Association (merged with the Central Mass District in 2000 to form The Clara Barton District).

 

Bill advocated for civil action and justice. He served as a Rotarian in Stoughton and Springfield, MA; San Antonio, TX; and St. Louis, MO.  He was instrumental in the founding of the Texas American Civil Liberties Union; and served on its national board of directors. Additionally, he was very active in Planned Parenthood.

 

Bill enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren; following sports, particularly the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins; and traveling. His wife, Barbara, fondly remembers camping throughout the United States with Bill and their young children. 

 

“Bill was a wonderful husband and father,” his wife, Barbara, explains. “One of the things I appreciated about Bill was that even in the days before women’s lib, he was always urging me to follow my career as much as I wanted to. He would readily take care of the kids while I went off to work.”

 

Bill is survived by his wife, Barbara DeWolfe; sons, Richard DeWolfe (Hillary Colt) and Paul DeWolfe (Ellen Sherwood DeWolfe); grandchildren, Reid DeWolfe, Jack DeWolfe , Abby DeWolfe (Seth Patch), and Emily DeWolfe; and great grandchildren, Sebastian and Madeline. He is predeceased by son Rev. Mark Mosher DeWolfe.

 

A memorial service will be held on November 21st at 2 P.M. at the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Augusta, Maine, 69 Winthrop Street, PO Box 8, Augusta, ME 04330.

 

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Ferry Beach Park Association, 5 Morris Ave. Saco, ME 04072 or to Unitarian Universalist Retired Ministers and Partners Association, C/O Joel Weaver, Treasurer, 535 Gradyville Rd. Unit V212, Newtown Square, PA 19073. If donating to Unitarian Universalist Retired Ministers and Partners Association (UURMaPA),  please make checks payable to "UURMaPA" and include "Bill DeWolfe" on the memo line.

 

Notes of condolences may be sent to Barbara DeWolfe, 4 Hickory Lane, Augusta, ME, 04330.  

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In Memory of . . . Theodore Albert Webb (1918-2014)

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Rev. Theodore “Ted” A. Webb died on October 6, 2014, at the age of 96.

 

Ted was born on August 23, 1918, to Harold Webb and Annie Cushman Webb. He graduated from the University of Maine with a Bachelor of Arts in 1948, and from Bangor Theological Seminary with a Bachelor of Divinity in 1956.

 

Rev. Webb was ordained by the First Universalist Church of Stafford, CT, in 1946. He served as minister to the First Universalist Church of Stafford, CT, from 1944 to 1947; First Universalist Church of Canton, NY (now the Unitarian Universalist Church of Canton, NY), from 1951 to 1956; and Universalist Unitarian Church of Haverhill, MA, from 1957 to 1962. He then served as the first Executive Director of the Massachusetts Bay District of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) from 1962 to 1970. He went on to serve as minister to the UU Society of Sacramento, CA, from 1971 to 1983, and was voted Minister Emeritus in 1985. From 1985 to 1990, Rev. Webb served interim ministries in Iowa City, IA; Baltimore, MD; Minneapolis, MN; and Atlanta, GA.  

 

Rev. Webb was committed to the denomination at large. He served many years on the UUA Program Committee, and served as President and Board Member of the Pacific Central District of the UUA. He founded the Board of Trustees of Renaissance West in The Pacific Central District of the UUA, and founded and edited the Connecticut Universalist. While serving UU Sacramento, he spearheaded a program of lectures by local intellectuals, government officials and religious leaders, called the Forum.

 

Rev. Webb promoted peace, justice and compassion. In the 1950s, he provided sanctuary in his home to demonstrators opposing U.S. nuclear arms in the Cold War with the Soviet Union, and in 1965, he traveled to Selma, Alabama, for a weeklong peace vigil following the death of James Reeb. Later in life, Rev. Webb served as president and board member of the Sacramento chapter of United Nations Association, and in 1988, he received a distinguished life achievement award from California State University, Sacramento.

 

Ted spent much of his free time researching the lives of the Washburn family. The Washburns were a politically involved group in the 19th century, and among the first Universalists. After retiring, Ted Webb wrote two books about the family, Seven Sons: Millionaires and Vagabonds (Trafford Publishing, 1999) and Impassioned Brothers: Ministers Resident to France and Paraguay (University Press of America, 2002).

 

Ted was a worldwide traveler, and shared the interest with his daughter, Christine. He was also an avid reader, and a great communicator. He enjoyed conversing about politics and current events, and he hosted a series of such conversations in his living room. Because of the group’s increasing size, it was relocated to UU Sacramento, and much to Ted’s embarrassment, was lovingly dubbed “Ted’s Web.”

 

Of her father, daughter Christine Webb-Curtis remembers, “He walked the talk. But he rarely expressed his own personal convictions from the pulpit. He never wanted to impose himself on others in terms of their spiritual beliefs.”

 

Ted is survived by his daughters, Bobbie Webb (Dave Sledge) and Christine Webb-Curtis (Phillip Webb-Curtis); sons, Theodore Ford Webb (Jeannie Ford Webb) and Noel Webb (Sharon Webb); grandchildren, Rob Gilbert, Renee Cahill, Randy Gilbert, Seth Forester, Patrick Curtis, Sam Curtis, Justin Codinha, Tucker Ford Webb, Parker Ford Webb, Jessica Webb, Alexandra Webb; six great grandchildren; and one great-great grandchild, Penelope, born on Ted’s 96th birthday.

 

A memorial service will be held on December 13, 2014, at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento’s temporary location for services, Sierra Arden United Church of Christ, 890 Morse Ave., Sacramento, CA 95864.

 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento, 2425 Sierra Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95825.

 

Notes of condolences may be sent to The Family of Ted Webb, 1137 Amberwood Road, Sacramento, CA 95864.

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In Memory of . . . Eugene Barnett Navias (1928-2014)

Posted By Administration, Monday, September 15, 2014

The Rev. Eugene “Gene” Barnett Navias died on August 17, 2014, at the age of 86.  Gene was born on March 18, 1928 to devout Unitarians Dr. Louis Navias and Adelaide Gant Navias. He graduated from St. Lawrence University with a Bachelor of Arts in 1949 and from the Theological School of St. Lawrence with a Bachelor of Divinity in 1951.


Rev. Navias was ordained to the ministry by the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland, OH in 1951. He was called to serve as associate minister and director of religious education to the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland from 1951 to 1957; minister to the Unitarian Church of Concord, NH (now UU Church of Concord) from 1957 to 1963; religious education field consultant to the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) from 1963 to 1982; director of the Religious Education Department of the UUA from 1982 to 1993; associate minister to Arlington Street Church of Boston, MA from 1993 to 1999; and Minister Emeritus of Arlington Street Church from 1999 to 2014. In 2005, he was awarded the UUA’s Distinguished Service Award.

Rev. Navias was instrumental in shaping Unitarian Universalist religious education. Throughout his ministry, he led numerous workshops and trainings and brought an experiential approach to teaching those who would then teach children. While serving the UUA as a field consultant, he began developing the About Your Sexuality program. The program was launched in 1971, and was run by Unitarian Universalist congregations for over 25 years. In the late 1970's, Gene collaboratively developed the Renaissance Program, a religious education training program, and in 1981, he developed the UUA’s Accreditation Program for Directors of Religious Education. He was also involved in developing the Meadville Lombard summer and winter institutes for religious educators, and he edited the UUA’s Religious Education AIDS Packet in the late 1980’s. During the ten years that he served as director of the UUA’s Religious Education Department, participation in religious education grew by nearly forty percent.


Rev. Navias successfully united music with religious education. He authored new lyrics to well-known tunes, such as “John Murray Sailed Over the Ocean,” as a way of teaching Unitarian Universalist history and theology. He served on a team that studied the feasibility of the first Unitarian Universalist hymnal, and organized a program of narrations and hymns for the 1992 UUA General Assembly titled "Singing - Shouting - Celebrating: 200 Years of Universalism."

Gene was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Retired Ministers and Partners Association (UURMaPA); the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA); and was involved with the former Boston UU Gays and Lesbians, which met at Arlington Street Church.


Gene had a wide range of interests, and succeeded in many different areas of life. Quite musical, he was an accomplished pianist and a tenor soloist. He was fond of opera, and attended the Glimmerglass Festival each summer. He collected church music, and his collection is now housed at Arlington Street Church. During the six years he served in Concord, NH, he was involved with a community theater organization and performed in a number of musicals. Gene also enjoyed traveling, and with his partner, Jim, ventured to Austria, Czech Republic, England, Mexico, and Spain. Additionally, he was interested in antiquing; his mother was an avid antique collector, and she brought Gene along in her hunts. When Gene entered adulthood, he developed his own interest in antiquing, and he soon couldn’t pass by an antique store without entering.


Gene is remembered lovingly by family and friends. His niece, Jennifer Hamlin-Navias, recounts, “he was always very interested in who you were as a person, and whatever response he gave you was crafted around whoever you were” Gene’s partner, Jim, describes him as “energetic” and “effervescent.” He remembers, “to say Gene was good natured would be to put it mildly.”

Gene is survived by his guardian Jim Buckley; nieces Rebecca Atwood (Barry Atwood), Susan Perkins (Mark Perkins), Mathilda Navias (Dan Bell); and nephew Geoffrey Navias (Jennifer Hamlin-Navias). He is also survived by thirteen grandnieces and nephews and three great-grandnieces and nephews.


A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 5th, at Arlington Street Church, 351 Boylston Street, Boston, MA, 02116. Doors will open at 1:00 p.m.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Gene B. Navias Memorial Fund, Arlington Street Church, 351 Boylston Street, Boston, MA, 02116. Checks should be made to Arlington Street Church with Gene B. Navias Memorial Fund noted in the memo line.


Notes of condolences may be sent to Jim Buckley, 11A Senate Road, Milford, MA, 01757.



Thomas, Joshua. Christian Educators of the 20th Century Project. Protestant Educators - Eugene B. Navias. Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, n.d. Web. 1 Sept. 2014.

 

 

 

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In Memory of . . . Cornelis Johannes Bakker (1917-2014)

Posted By Administration, Friday, September 12, 2014
The Rev. Cornelis "Neil" Johannes Bakker died on August 10, 2014 at the age of 97. Neil was born on May 29, 1917 to Hendrik Bakker and Dina Bakker. He served the US Army as a Tank Commander from 1941 to 1946, and continued with the Army Reserves after the war; he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. He went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree from George Washington University in 1949 and with a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School in 1960.

Rev. Bakker was ordained to the ministry in 1963 by the First Unitarian Society of Gardner, MA. He served as a Protestant chaplain to the Gardner State Hospital from 1963 to 1977, and concurrently, minister to the First Unitarian Society of Gardner, MA from 1963 to 1979. He then served as minister to the First Universalist Church of Providence, RI from 1979 to his retirement in 1990. He was named Minister Emeritus of the First Unitarian Society of Gardner in 1984, and Minister Emeritus of the First Unitarian Church of Providence in 1990.

Rev. Bakker was committed to both his faith and his community. He served as president and vice president of the Central Massachusetts District of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), and served on the district’s board, evaluation committee, and appraisal committee. He also served as member and president of the North Atlantic Interdistrict Council of the UUA; the nominating committee and board of the Ballou-Channing District of the UUA; and the MA Council of Churches. He held membership with the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association; co-founded the Gardner-Athol Area Mental Health Association, and actively served the American Red Cross, United Way of America, the Doolittle Home, the Human Rights Committee, the CG Jung Center, the Netopian Club, and the Krishnamurti Society.

Neil held lifelong interests in stained glass, etching, trains, sport cars, fairs, foods, bicycling, hiking, and traveling. He was a talented artist and photographer, and had a love of classical music and opera.

Neil’s wife, Melba, describes him as a “wonderful father”, and a lover of people and laughter. “We adored each other,” she mused. Melba explains, “it didn’t matter who the person was, Neil treated all people equally and lovingly.”

Neil is survived by his wife of 57 years, Melba Ann Bakker, his devoted daughter, Stephanie A. Bakker; and his sister Henrietta Weiting. He is predeceased by his son, Frederick J. Bakker and his sister, Louise Kantor. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, September 14th, at 3pm, at the First Unitarian Church of Providence, RI, 1 Benevolent St, Providence, RI 02906.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First Unitarian Church of Providence, RI, 1 Benevolent St, Providence, RI 02906, or to Hamilton House, 276 Angell St, Providence, RI 02906 or the VNA of Rhode Island, 475 Kilvert Street, Warwick, RI, 02886.

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In Memory of . . . James R. Wentz (1934-2014)

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 10, 2014
The Rev. James “Jim” R. Wentz died on August 5, 2014 at the age of 79. Jim was born on August 17, 1934 to Orville and Louise. He graduated from Indiana Central University (now University of Indianapolis) with a Bachelor of Arts in 1961 and from Meadville Lombard Theological School with a Bachelor of Divinity in 1966. He went on to receive a Master of Science from the University of Bridgeport in 1981.

Rev. Wentz was ordained to the ministry in 1966 by the All Souls Unitarian Church of Indianapolis, IN. He was first called to the Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta, NY in 1966, and served the congregation until 1976. He then served the South Nassau Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Freeport, NY, from 1976 to 1980.

After retiring from parish ministry, Jim began officiating weddings, and built a business around the practice. He was known as “Rev. I Do.” He performed weddings for over three decades, and presided over his daughter’s and son’s ceremonies. Jim also had a few “15 minutes of fame” marrying couples on both the Ricki Lake Show and Les Brown Show.

Jim was active within the denomination. He served as a delegate to the New York State Convention of Universalists’ Annual Meetings from 1966 to 1976; part-time administrative secretary to the St. Lawrence Unitarian Universalist District from 1971 to 1976; vice president of the Iroquois Chapter of the Unitarian Universalists Ministers Association (UUMA) from 1972 to 1973; president of the Iroquois Chapter of the UUMA from 1973 to 1974; and treasurer of the Metro District Chapter of the UUMA from 1978 to 1980. Even after his retirement from parish ministry, Jim was an active member of the New York Metro District of the UUMA .

Jim was a philosopher, thought-leader, and writer, recently authoring a book offering his spiritual perspective in the quest for making the world a better place. He brought his interest in writing and humor to regular participation in the New Yorker’s cartoon caption contest as well as limericks for his children and grandchildren at birthday and holiday occasions. Like his father, Jim was a jack-of-all-trades, knowledgeable and handy in many aspects of home improvement. His strong qualities of patience, kindness, and understanding was seen when teaching the basics of power tools, beginner’s chess, and life lessons such as, “Do the best you can.”

Jim is survived by his daughter, Lisa Medley (Roger Medley); son, Nicholas Wentz (Lori Wentz); sister, Lucille Wentz; former wife, Sara Angus; and grandchildren, Nicholas Wentz Jr., Shayla Wentz, and Miles Medley.

A memorial service will be held on November 1, 2014 at 1:00 P.M., at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock, 48 Shelter Rock Road, Manhasset, NY 11030.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to UNICEF (www.unicef.org).

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In Memory of . . . Stewart E. Hild (1924-2014)

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 10, 2014
The Rev. Stewart E. Hild died on July 12, 2014 at the age of 90. Stewart was born on March 3, 1924 to Edward and Grace Hild. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Science in 1948 and from Drew University with a Master of Divinity in 1951. He was a member of the Armed Forces during World War II, and served in the Army Specialized Training Program.

Rev. Hild was ordained to the Methodist ministry in 1952. He was called to the Community Methodist Church in Massapequa, Long Island, NY from 1951, and he served there until 1956. He was fellowshipped as a Unitarian minister in 1956. He held pastorates at the Unitarian Congregation of Franklin, NH, (now the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Franklin) from 1958 to 1975; All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Watertown, NY from 1975 to 1989; and was named Minister Emeritus of All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in 1989.

Rev. Hild served the denomination in various capacities. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the New Hampshire/Vermont District of the Unitarian Universalist Association (consolidated with the Northeast District in 2008 to form the Northern New England Chapter); chairman of the Extension Department of the New Hampshire/Vermont District of the Unitarian Universalist Association; and Selma Presence Representative for the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Rev. Hild served as Vice President of the New Hampshire Council on World Affairs; Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Committee on Drugs and Drug Abuse; Director of the Lakes Region Mental Health Association; Assistant at the Peabody Home for the Aged; Board Member of the Family Counseling Service of Jefferson County, NY; Women’s Center of Jefferson County; Project Children North, Watertown; Urban Mission; Board of Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County, and also served as Board President of Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County.

Stewart was interested in travel, reading, and sports. While living in New Hampshire, he taught several classes in the History of Religion at Proctor Academy.

He is survived by his wife, Alma H. Hild; his sons, Edward G. Hild and Thomas S. Hild; grandchildren, Jared Hild, Cora Hild, and Wyatt Hild, and many cousins.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of your choice in his name.

Notes of condolences may be sent to Alma H. Hild, 274 Schley Drive, Watertown, NY 13601.

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