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In Memory of . . . Roger Otis Kuhrt (1941-2012)

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 6, 2012

The Rev. Dr. Roger Otis Kuhrt died on January 17, 2012. He was 70 years old.  Rev. Kuhrt was born in Seattle, WA, on June 29, 1941 to Fred H. and Edna E. Kuhrt. Rev. Kuhrt attained his Bachelor of Arts degree from Whitworth College, his Master of Arts degree from the University of Washington, and his PhD from Columbia Pacific University. He also studied at Washington State University.


He was ordained by the Disciples of Christ (Christian Church) in 1963. He was called to serve the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Olympia, WA, from 1978-1985; and from 1980-1998, he served the Tahoma Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Tacoma, WA. During his ministry, he also served other Pacific Northwest District congregations on a consulting basis.


Rev. Kuhrt, who was described as a "lover of knowledge and seeker of truth,” was a member of a number of professional, community, and religious organizations over the years, serving on the boards of many.


Rev. Kuhrt is survived by his wife, Pam Gill-Kuhrt; his two daughters, Sharene Kuhrt-Nelson and Stacey Kuhrt; and a grandson, Jade. Notes of condolence may be sent to Pam Gill-Kuhrt, 5717 112th Street SW, Lakewood, WA 98499. Memories may also be shared at Edwards Memorial:


A celebration of the life of Rev. Dr. Kuhrt will be announced at a later date. Donations in Rev. Kuhrt’s memory can be made to any hospice program or charity of your choice.


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In Memory of . . . Wells E. Behee (1925-2011)

Posted By Janette M. Lallier, Monday, January 30, 2012
The Rev. Wells E. Behee died on December 15, 2011. He was 86 years old. Rev. Behee died as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident on December 13, 2011, which also resulted in the death of his beloved wife of 62 years, Mary (Newhall) Behee.

Rev. Behee was born on the Hurd Farm, in Royalston Township, Niagara County, New York on October 22, 1925 to Elmer Judson Behee and Edna Behee Lofthouse Sullivan. Behee graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1949 and received his Master of Divinity from Canton Theological School in 1951.

He was ordained in 1953 in New Madison, OH. He was called to serve from 1951-1953 by the Universalist Church of Woodstock, OH; from 1953-1956 by the Universalist Church in Eldorado, OH ; and from 1956-1963 by the Universalist Church in New Madison, OH.

He went on to receive his Master of Education from Miami University and then teach high school in Arcanum, OH. He also served as special education coordinator for the Mansfield, OH schools. In addition, he was a Boy Scout master and coached his children in Olympic marathon canoeing. He enjoyed classical music, art, literature, genealogy, and gardening. He and his wife, Mary, were best friends and enjoyed traveling together.

Rev. Behee is survived by five children (and their partners); Kathy Becker and husband Myron of Wendell, MA; Karyl Parks and husband Jeff of New Madison, OH; Kris Rantz of New Madison, OH; Emerson Behee and wife Bonnie of Ithaca, OH; and Karen Fageol and husband Geoff of Decatur, OH. He also leaves several grandchildren; Jeremiah Parks, Derik Ervin, Ayla Ervin, Amanda Behee, Kevin Behee, and Lori Rantz, and five great-grandchildren; Seth and Bryn Orrin-Brown, Brandon Parks, and Erin Michele Ervin, with another great-grandchild expected. He was predeceased by his parents, Edna Sullivan and Elmer Judson Behee; his sisters, Melva Roberts and Fern Jean Lackey; and his grandson, Aaron Dean Rawlings.

Rev. Behee donated his body to Anatomical Gift, Wright State University, therefore, memorial services will be held at an undetermined later date. Donations in his memory may be given to the New Madison Friends of the Library, 142 North Main Street, New Madison, OH 45346. Notes of condolence may be sent to the family care of Karyl Parks, 4221 Hollansburg-Arcanum Road, Greenville, OH 45331.

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In Memory of . . . Donovan E. White (1928-2011)

Posted By Janette M. Lallier, Monday, January 30, 2012
The Rev. Donovan E. White died on December 30, 2011. He was 83 years old.  Rev. White was born in Gloversville, NY, on November 11, 1928 to David C. and Elsie B. (Van Nostrand) White. Rev. White attained his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Delaware in 1952 and his Bachelor of Divinity from the University of Rochester, Colgate Rochester Divinity School in 1956. He also studied at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH.

He served at the First Unitarian Church in Erie, PA, from 1956-1960, after being ordained there in 1956. He then taught college at Slippery Rock State College in PA, and Lake Erie College in OH. From 1963-1966, after re-enlisting, he served as an air force hospital chaplain at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, MS. Rev. White returned to parish ministry in 1966, serving at the First Church in Templeton, MA, until 1974. In 1974, he was called to the Universalist Church of the Messiah in Fort Plain, NY, from which he retired in 1982. He then started his own upholstery business, Donovan’s Upholstery, in Mayfield, NY.

Rev. White’s family described him as a kind, gentle, insightful man who had a sharp, powerful mind. He was a great positive thinker and thought-provoker, who, by believing the best in everyone, encouraged others, at times unknowingly, to want to be better people. He was a disciplined man; loving new ideas and never hesitating to challenge himself and others. He was a great conversationalist and an avid reader, walker and swimmer. He enjoyed classical music and baking bread. As a minister, he is described as having been gifted in providing spiritual and emotional counsel to those in need. His weekly services were found to be uplifting, positive, and applicable. "He was a light so bright you couldn’t help but be in awe while in his presence. He was deeply loved and will be forever missed.”

He was a member of the Gloversville VFW.

Rev. White is survived by his daughter, Jennifer Millett and her spouse, Fred of Valatie, NY. He also left seven grandchildren; Donnabea, Meghan, Donovan, Zeb, Myra, Gary, and Sarah; two great-grandsons, Benny and Lewis; a brother, Ernest D. and his wife, Irene of Mayfield, NY; a sister, Medora Venneman of Hollywood, MD; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Rev. White was predeceased by his beloved wife of 60 years, Donna (McWain) White; his son, Samuel D. White; and his brother, Harold W. White.

Family and friends paid their respects to the memory of Rev. Donovan E. White on January 2, 2012, at the Jeffords and Stewart Funeral Home in Broadalbin, NY, followed by a graveside service, which was presided over by the Rev. Bonnie Orth.

Donations in Rev. White’s memory may be made to Mountain Valley Hospice, 108 Steele Avenue, Gloversville, NY 12078. Messages of condolence may be left on the family’s online guestbook at

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In Memory of . . . George JW Pennington (1925-2012)

Posted By Janette M. Lallier, Monday, January 30, 2012

The Rev. Dr. George J.W. Pennington died on January 10, 2012. He was 86 years old.  Rev. Dr. Pennington was born in Salem, MA, on November 20, 1925 to George F. and Vera G. Pennington. Rev. Pennington attained his Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, Master of Sacred Theology, and Doctor of Divinity degrees from Tufts University and Tufts University Crane School of Theology.

He served at the Universalist Church in Wakefield, MA, after being ordained there in 1947. He was also called to serve First Parish Church of Assinippi, MA (Norwell), the First Unitarian Society of Arlington, MA (now First Parish Church in Arlington), White Memorial Universalist Church of Concord, NH, Unitarian Universalist Society of Greater Springfield, MA, and Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair, NJ. He retired from parish ministry in 1982. Dr. Pennington continued on as a pastoral counselor with Unitarian Universalist Counseling and Educational Service of New Jersey Area Council. He was also a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in West Orange, NJ and White Plains, NY.

Rev. Pennington served on numerous boards and organizations over the years. From 1962 to 1969, while serving the Unitarian Universalist Society of Greater Springfield, he was an active leader in the Civil Rights and peace movements. More recently, following his return to the Western MA area, he volunteered at Baystate Medical Center cuddling babies and also spent his time serving on the Board of Directors of the Council on Aging in Longmeadow, MA.

Rev. Dr. Pennington is survived by Marjorie Pennington of East Longmeadow, MA; his son, Scot L. Pennington and his wife Joyce of Concord, NH; his son, Bruce A. Pennington of East Longmeadow, MA; his daughter, Joy Pennington of Brewster, MA; and his grandchildren, Samuel Pennington of Concord, NH; Audrey Greenwood of Concord, NH; and Jessica Gomes and her husband Brandon of South Yarmouth, MA; and great-grandchildren, Elizabeth and Connor Greenwood and Gavin and Ryder Gomes. He also leaves his partner, Marjorie Morgan of Longmeadow, MA; and her grandchildren, Julien Gehrt and Sierra Hart of Northampton, MA.

Rev. Pennington was predeceased by his wife, the Rev. Shannon Bernard; and his brother, Donald Pennington.

A memorial service for Re. Dr. Pennington will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Greater Springfield, 245 Porter Lake Drive, Springfield, MA on Saturday, February 4, 2012 at 11:00 a.m.

Donations in Rev. Pennington’s memory may be made to Community Unitarian Church, 468 Rosedale Avenue, White Plains, NY 10605; Unitarian Universalist Society, 245 Porter Lake Drive, Springfield, MA 01106; or Baystate VNA and Hospice, Box 9058, Springfield, MA 01102.

Rev. Pennington wrote, "I would not want to live out my life defending bridges, fighting assailants, real or imagined, or climbing every mountain. Yet, I do wish to experience myself clearly in my thinking, unmistakably in my feelings, committed to an identifiable process of worth beyond myself that nurtures and dignifies myself.”

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In Memory of . . . Robert L. "Rel" Davis (1936-2011)

Posted By Janette M. Lallier, Thursday, December 22, 2011
The Reverend Rel Davis died on November 1, 2011. He was 75 years old.

Rev. Davis was born in Gainesville, TX, on September 13, 1936. Rev. Davis graduated from Wayland University, Plainview, TX, in 1958, and continued with graduate work at the University of Montana.

He was ordained by the Unitarian Fellowship of South Florida and served as minister for 30 years. Prior to that, he had served as Assistant Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Lauderdale.

Rev. Davis is survived by his wife, Edith Sloan, two daughters, a brother, and a sister. Riverside Funeral Home, 225 San Mateo NE, Albuquerque, NM was in charge of arrangements. Notes of condolence may be sent to Edith Sloan, 814 Hydra Rd. SE, Rio Rancho, NM 87124.

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In Memory of . . . Bruce M. Clary (1939-2011)

Posted By Janette M. Lallier, Tuesday, October 4, 2011
The Reverend Bruce M. Clary died on September 15, 2011. He was 72 years old.

Rev. Clary was born in Berwyn, IL, on July 30, 1939, to Bruce H. and Jane (Maxfield) Clary. Rev. Clary received his BA from the University of Tulsa in 1961 and his Bachelor of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 1965. He was ordained by All Saints Unitarian Church in Tulsa, OK on June 14, 1965.

Following ordination, Rev. Clary served as minister at the following congregations: First Parish, Unitarian in Bridgewater, MA; First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City, OK; First Church in Barre Universalist in Barre, VT; First Parish Universalist Church in Stoughton, MA; East Shore UU Church in Mentor, OH; and First Church and Parish in Dedham, MA, where he was later installed as Minister Emeritus.

Rev. Clary had served on committees and boards over the years including the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee Board, the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association Executive Committee, the Church of the Larger Fellowship Religious Education Committee, the Liberal Religious Education Directors Association Board, the Ballou Channing District Religious Education Committee, and the Unitarian Sunday School Society. He was listed in Who’s Who in Religion and Who’s Who in America. He had received Special Recognition by the UUSC and had been awarded the Oklahoma Governor’s Award for Community Service. Among his writings, Rev. Clary was the author of Views from the Iceberg.

After retiring, Bruce and his wife Dottie moved to Tulsa and continued to spend summers on Cape Cod, maintaining friendships across the country. He had always loved painting and, upon retirement, vowed to pursue art "with seriousness,” which he did. Earlier in his career Rev. Clary participated in a Native American Studies and Art Painting Project while on sabbatical in Oklahoma. Besides painting, his interests included: photography, writing, cooking, community theatre, antiques, nautical history, and Native American arts and rituals.

Rev. Clary was predeceased in death last December by his wife, Dorothy Clary. He is survived by his sister Barbara Clary Martin and her husband Steve, a son David Clary and his wife Beth, three granddaughters; Emma, Lauren, and Catherine, and a niece and two nephews. Notes of condolence may be sent to David and Beth Clary, 3634 E. 102 St., Tulsa, OK 74137.

A memorial service was held at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, OK with the Revs. Tamara Lebak and John Wolf officiating. Contributions can be made to Meadville Lombard Theological School, Office of Institutional Advancement, 5701 S. Woodlawn Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637.

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In Memory of . . . Roger H. Smith (1936-2011)

Posted By Janette M. Lallier, Monday, September 26, 2011

The Rev. Dr. Roger H. Smith died on August 10, 2011. He was 75 years old.

Rev. Smith was born in Toppenish, WA, on February 18, 1936, to Horace J. Smith and Margie C. Smith. Rev. Smith received his BA from Washington State University in 1959 and his MS and PhD from North Carolina State University in 1963 and 1965, respectively. He went on to earn his Master of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry in 1978.

Rev. Smith served at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Minnetonka in Wayzata, Minnesota, where he was ordained in 1979. He later served at the Community UU Church in Pasco, WA, and the Northlake UU Church in Kirkland, WA. While in Wayzata, Rev. Smith helped found a local church coalition (Interfaith Outreach) to serve the needs of the community. Today that organization has grown and is a vibrant part of the community.

Prior to becoming a Unitarian Universalist minister, Rev. Smith was a research biologist. He worked for the NASA program in Oak Ridge, Tennessee following the completion of his doctorate. He then worked for the International Atomic Energy Association at a laboratory in Greece. Following his return from Greece, he worked briefly for Washington State University before changing careers and becoming a minister. After a two-year stint working at the Environmental Protection Agency in Olympia, WA, he returned once again to the ministry. He and his wife, Jane traveled and worked in California, New Jersey, and Japan. In later years, they had also founded a home-based business germinating orchid seeds for hobbyists, a business, which Rev. Smith maintained until his death.

Rev. Smith is survived by his wife of 39 years, Jane A. Smith, his daughter Jewell Smith and two step-sons, Brian Treber of St. Paul, MN and Kent Treber of Issaquah, WA.

A memorial service for Rev. Smith will be held at the East Shore Unitarian Church, 12700 SE 32nd St., Bellevue, WA on Sunday, October 16, 2011 at 3:00 p.m.

Notes of condolence may be sent to his wife, Jane Smith, 13206 233rd Ave., SE, Issaquah, WA 98027.

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In Memory of . . . Lawrence M. Hamby (1926-2011)

Posted By Janette M. Lallier, Monday, September 26, 2011
The Rev. Lawrence M. Hamby died on August 28, 2011. He was 85 years old.

Rev. Hamby was born in Atlanta, GA, on February 25, 1926, to L.M. and Ethel (Mills) Hamby. Rev. Hamby graduated with a BA from Emory University in 1948 and Tufts University's Crane Theological School in 1962 with a Bachelor of Divinity degree.

He served at the Community Church of New Orleans, where he was ordained in 1962; the Unitarian Congregational Society of Grafton, MA; the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg, PA; and the All Souls Unitarian Church of Augusta, ME. In later years, he served as a Chaplain in the Civil Air Patrol of the UA Air Force in Brunswick, GA.

Rev. Hamby served as the Membership and Growth Chair for the Unitarian Universalists of Coastal Georgia. He also served on the board of the Unitarian Universalist Retired Ministers and Partners Association.

A celebration of the life of Rev. Larry Hamby will take place on Saturday, September 17, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens, 780 Timothy Rd., Athens, GA.

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In Memory of . . . John A. "Jack" Taylor (1931-2011)

Posted By Janette M. Lallier, Tuesday, August 9, 2011
The Rev. John A. "Jack” Taylor died on July 29, 2011. He was 79 years old.

Rev. Taylor was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on August, 20, 1931, to H. Albert and Sara Ellen (Townsend) Taylor. Rev. Taylor received his BA from Oklahoma City University in 1953 and his Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology in 1956. He was ordained by the Methodist Church in Stockton, California, on June 18, 1958.

While in seminary, Rev. Taylor served as assistant to the Dean of Marsh Chapel at Boston University, Dr. Howard Thurman, who would have a profound influence on his ministerial career. Rev. Taylor served at Methodist churches on the west coast immediately following ordination before transferring to the Unitarian ministry in 1960 and being called as interim minister to the First Unitarian Society in Sacramento, CA. He went on to serve as assistant minister at the First Unitarian Society in Madison, WI before being called to serve as minister at the Amherst Unitarian Church in Amherst, MA and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana, IL. In 1968 answered the call to take on the role of minister at the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples in San Francisco, a liberal, interracial church founded by Dr. Howard Thurman. Returning to Unitarian ministry in 1971, Rev. Taylor began what would be a 25 year long ministry at the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca, NY. Following retirement he was named minister emeritus by the Ithaca congregation and chaplain emeritus by Cornell University. From 1972 until his retirement in 1996, Rev. Taylor was heard each Sunday morning on "A Word for Sunday” broadcast over radio station WHCU in Ithaca. He is the author of Notes on an Unhurried Journey, published in 1991.

Among his many community activities, Rev. Taylor was a member of the Board of Cornell United Religious Work, a member of the Board of Tompkins County (NY) Planned Parenthood, president of the Tompkins County NY Religious Workers Association, chair of the Vietnamese Welcoming Committee (resettlement of refugees), chair of the City of Ithaca Commons Advisory Board and a member of the Task Force on Downtown Ithaca. At Foxdale Village, he was a member of the Corporate Board of Directors, clerk of the Residents Marketing Advisory Committee, Vice President of the Foxdale Residents Association and a member of a variety of committees and interest groups. He was also the originator of Foxdale’s Film Festival.

Rev. Taylor is survived by his wife of 55 years, Barbara R. Taylor; his daughter, Lyn S. Kalnitz and her husband, Robert of Rochester, NY; and his son, Scot R. Taylor and his wife, Jana of Ithaca, NY along with their children, Alexander and Kaitlyn.

A memorial service for Rev. Taylor will be held at the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca, 208 East Buffalo St., Ithaca, NY on August 28, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. Memorial donations may be sent to a community service organization of your choice.

Notes of condolence may be sent to his wife, Barbara Taylor, 500 East Marilyn Ave. Apt. H129, State College, PA 16801.

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In Memory of . . . James Chandler “Chan” Newton (1945- 2011)

Posted By Janette M. Lallier, Thursday, July 21, 2011
The Rev. James Chandler "Chan” Newton died on May 11, 2011. He was 66 years old.

Rev. Newton was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on January 26, 1945, to James F. and Ruth (Marden) Newton. Rev. Newton graduated from Salem High School in 1962, Dartmouth College in 1966, and Crane Theological Seminary at Tuft’s University and Boston University School of Divinity in 1969 upon receiving his Master’s of Divinity. He was ordained by the Church of the Larger Fellowship in Boston, MA on July 19, 1969.

His first ministry was raising and caring for sixteen foster children at his Plowshares Farm in Raymond, N.H. Rev. Newton trained to be an EMT for the Raymond Ambulance Service and worked as an EMT Chaplain for the local volunteer ambulance for 20 years. He became a mental health case worker at Hampstead State Hospital in Hampstead, N.H. and continued to do pastoral counseling, weddings, funerals, and baptisms for dozens of people in the wider community in what he referred to as a "parish without walls.” In 1991 Rev. Newton became Hospice Chaplain at Seacoast Hospice in Exeter, N.H. He also worked with children and teens in the "Stepping Stones" and "Bridges" grief support programs there. In 1995, he went to work for the Manchester VNA Home Health and Hospice as the Spiritual Care Coordinator, and founded "Camp Phoenix", a summer camp for grieving children and their families. He was awarded "The Good Samaritan Award" by the Manchester Counseling Center. He also worked as a hospital chaplain at the Elliot Hospital in Manchester. In 2006, he became Spiritual Care Director at Mary Immaculate Health Care in Lawrence, MA.

In addition to his extensive lifetime of work as a community minister, he was active in many other pursuits. He was Moderator of the Raymond, NH School District. He raised award-winning goats; many of which went to the Heifer Project and were shipped around the world. Rev. Newton was presented the Medal of Honor by the "Union Leader" and "New Hampshire Sunday News" for an "Outstanding Act of Heroism" in 1992. He also had a small wood business with his son, Dewitt. His passions included: the environment, writing poems and stories, collecting humorous and true life stories from various people he met, woodworking, working in the woods, and, of course, spending time with his family and friends.

Rev. Newton is survived by his wife of 15 years, The Reverend Dr. Virginia (Trask) Jones Newton of Center Sandwich; his daughter, Heather Keymba and her husband Henry of Huntsville, Ala; a step-son, Troy Miller and his wife Julie of Harpers Ferry, W.V.; a sister, Roberta Newton Brown of Watertown; five foster children whom he raised, Janice Manley of Scarborough, Maine, Lisa Cheney of Dover, N.H., David McMillan of Franklin, N.H., David Baldasaro of Plainville, and Michael Twomey of Phoenix; five grandchildren; nieces, nephews, and longtime friends. He was predeceased by two sons, Benjamin Newton and Dewitt Newton.

A memorial gathering for Rev. James Chandler "Chan” Newton took place on Saturday, May 28, at the Manchester Unitarian Universalist Church, 669 Union St., Manchester, NH. A Memorial Service celebrating his life was held the following day, Sunday, May 29 at the church. Donations on behalf of Rev. Newton may be made to the Bereavement Programs, VNA of Manchester and Southern NH, 33 South Commercial St., Suite 401, Manchester, NH 03101, Attention Linda Krisch.

Please send messages of condolence to Rev. Dr. Virginia Jones Newton, 36 Heritage Woods, Center Sandwich, NH 03227.

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