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In Memory of . . . Dorris Dow Alcott (1920-2012)

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 23, 2012

The Reverend Doris Dow Alcott died of heart failure on April 3, 2012. She was 91 years old.

Rev. Alcott was born and raised in Winthrop, ME. She was the daughter of a factory worker and a homemaker. In 1938, she married Ernest F. Alcott, a descendent of Amos Bronson Alcott, the American Transcendentalist, and his daughter, famous author Louisa May Alcott.

Alcott began her college education in 1976 and graduated from Goddard College in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in religious education. Additionally, she took courses at Harvard University and earned her MRE through the UUA's Independent Study Program in 1982.

Rev. Alcott was ordained in 1982 at Towson Unitarian Universalist Church in Lutherville, MD. She was called to serve the Towson Unitarian Universalist Church and served as Director of Religious Education there from 1983-1985. She was also the Joseph Priestly District's first RE Consultant from 1986-1995. Rev. Alcott served on the curriculum team that developed "World Religions for Junior Youth," the last curriculum kit published by the UUA. She was a member of the Towson Unitarian Universalist Church and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Harford County in Churchville, MD.

Later in life, she became an active member of numerous ecumenical groups and was active in religious education. Rev. Alcott retired in 2008 but continued to serve as a guest pastor, and officiated at weddings, funerals and memorial services. An experienced traveller, Rev. Alcott visited all seven continents and, in 1993, joined an expedition that travelled to Antarctica. She enjoyed talking to colleagues in chat rooms and once said, "I retired from ministry but not from life!"

Rev. Alcott was predeceased by her husband, Ernest F. Alcott. She is survived by her sons Colin C. Alcott and his wife Janet, of Albuquerque, NM and Bronson E. Alcott of Columbia, MD; by two granddaughters; and two great-grandchildren.

A memorial service for Rev. Alcott will be held at the Towson Unitarian Universalist Church, 1710 Dulaney Valley Rd., Lutherville-Timonium, MD 21093, on May 11, 2012 at 11:00 a.m.. Notes of condolence may go to Bronson Alcott, 10654 Faulkner Ridge Cir., Columbia, MD 21044.

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In Memory of . . . Robert "Bob" Thayer (1934-2012)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Rev. Robert Atherton Thayer of Fairhaven, MA died peacefully surrounded by family and colleagues on April 5, 2012. He was one week shy of his 78th birthday.

Rev. Thayer was the husband of Mary-Ellen Tunney and the son of the late Victor G. Thayer of Butte, MT and the late Hallie Mae Glover of Charleston W. VA.

Rev. Thayer was born in Charleston W. VA, April 11, 1934. When his father became a chemist for DuPont in Delaware, his family bought a gentleman’s farm in rural Newark, DE where Rev. Thayer attended Tower Hill School in Wilmington. He then went to Harvard University, 1952-56, 57 Harvard Divinity School, where he received a BA in History. During his college years he spent many summers as a fire look out in the Bitter foot Idaho Wilderness. While at Harvard, Rev. Thayer met his first wife of 34 years Pamela J. Thayer who passed away in 1991.

From there they ventured to Chicago, IL to McCormick Seminary and Rev. Thayer was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1960.

He served his first church at the 1st Presbyterian Church of Framingham. It was during the Civil Rights movement that Bob made a spiritual decision to change his religious affiliation, received his preliminary fellowship with the UUA in 1967 and became the minister in Medfield, MA at the First Parish UU, as well as chaplain at the Billerica prison. In 1978, his family made a life change and moved to Fairhaven where he was the minister of Fairhaven Unitarian Memorial Church for 22 years until his semi retirement in 1996. He served a one year interim ministry at the 2nd Congregational Meetinghouse of Nantucket, before beginning a 10 year ministry at the Brockton Unitarian Universalist Church at the age of 70 until his sudden death.

In addition to his wife of 16 years he is survived by his three children; Stephanie Pires of Newport, RI, Jenifer Thayer of Los Alamos, NM, and Robert Thayer of Woodland, CA; two step children, Patrick Whittle of Long I. NY, James Whittle of Ehime Japan, five grandchildren and countless friends and colleagues. All were inspired by Rev. Thayer’s energy to minister, heal, and help the community on many boards and committees. In addition, Rev. Thayer was an avid sailor, woodworker, woodsman, writer and theology scholar.

A memorial service for Rev. Thayer will be held at the Unitarian Memorial Church, 102 Green St., Fairhaven, on April 12, 2012 at 1:00 PM, followed by a reception. For memorial register go to Notes of condolence may be sent to Mary-Ellen Tunney at 565 Sconticut Neck Rd, Fairhaven, MA 02719.

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In Memory of . . . Sidney L. Freeman (1927-2012)

Posted By Janette M. Lallier, Friday, February 17, 2012

The Rev. Dr. Sidney L. Freeman died on January 12, 2012. He was 85 years old.  Rev. Dr. Freeman was born in Madison, WI on January 23, 1927 to Jacob and Gertrude Freeman. Rev. Freeman attained his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin, his Master of Arts degree from Bowling Green University, and his PhD from Cornell University.

He served at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte, NC, for 32 years after being ordained there in 1957. He had served as lay minister, prior to that, at the First Unitarian Church of Lynchburg, VA. He was Minister Emeritus at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte.

Rev. Freeman was granted full ministerial fellowship in 1957 following his experience as a lay leader in Lynchburg. While there, his roles included preaching, administration, and guiding the life of the church. Freeman also served as Chaplain of Cedar Spring Hospital in Pineville, NC. Besides his work in ministry, Rev. Freeman taught numerous college classes. He was Instructor of Communication Arts at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC, and Associate Professor of Speech and Drama at Sweet Briar College in VA.

Rev. Freeman was a civil rights leader, a community activist, and a visionary for religious tolerance. His work, alongside others in the civil rights movement, is honored in an exhibit at the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, NC. His family reports that Rev. Freeman was once an invited guest, of President John F. Kennedy, to the White House. He was also an advocate for mental health, serving as president of Charlotte’s Mental Health Association.

Rev. Freeman is survived by his wife, Gaynell B. Freeman; his children, Lynn Freeman Love, David Freeman, Michael Freeman, and T. Michael Williams; twelve grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Family and friends paid their respects to the memory of Rev. Dr. Sidney Freeman on January 21, 2012 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte with the Rev. Jay Leach officiating.

Donations in Rev. Freeman’s memory may be made to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte, 234 Sharon Amity Road, Charlotte, NC 28211 or the charity of one’s choice.

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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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