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In Memory . . . Wilfrid “Fred” Ward
 (1935-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Wilfrid (Fred) Walter Ward.  He died on his 74th birthday on January 5, 2009 with his sons Wilfrid and David beside him.  Rev. Ward was born in Rochester, New York to Wilfrid and Jean Sarah Ward.  He attended Cornell University, initially studying engineering, and graduated in 1958 with a degree in Psychology after determining he wanted to be a minister.  He attended St. Lawrence University Theological School, earning a Master of Divinity in 1961, while serving as president of his class. 

He was ordained and installed at the First Parish in Lincoln, MA, as Associate Minister on December 10, 1961; he served there for two years.  He also served the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore, Maryland, from 1963 to 1968 and the Unitarian Church of Princeton, New Jersey, from 1968 to 1972.  In both the Baltimore and Princeton churches, Rev. Ward served as Minister of Religious Education.  While serving the Princeton Church, Rev. Ward was responsible for a huge growth in the size and quality of the religious education program.  He also initiated the beloved tradition of the Hanging of the Greens service there.

Rev. Ward left the Princeton church to study as a family therapist.  He pursued a PhD at New York University in the Family Life Education, Marriage, and Human Sexuality graduate program.  He was the Education Director at Princeton University of the Sexuality Education, Counseling and Health Program of the University Health Services from 1973 – 1975.  In 1975 he became Associate in Training of the Marriage Council of Philadelphia in the Psychiatry Department of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine.  Throughout these years, Rev. Ward maintained his fellowship with the UUA and provided consultative services to many individuals and congregations.

On March 15, 1978 he was called by the New Jersey Area Council of Unitarian Universalist Societies to be Minister of Counseling and Education and to direct the Unitarian Universalist Counseling and Education Service.  He served in that position until 1999 when he became ill from a stroke.

As a lifelong Universalist, Rev. Ward was a staunch supporter and promoter of Murray Grove, conducting many of his educational groups there. 

Rev. Ward is survived by his sons, Wilfrid W. Ward, Jr. of Acworth, Georgia and David Ward of New Paltz, New York.  At Rev. Ward’s request, there was no memorial service.  Please send messages of condolence to Wilfrid W. Ward, Jr., 1 Colonial Club Drive SE, Acworth, GA 30102.

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In Memory . . . John E. Trowbridge 
(1925-2008)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend John E. Trowbridge died of congestive heart failure on August 30, 2008 in El Paso, Texas. He was 83. Rev. Trowbridge was born on June 5, 1925 to G. C. and Jessie G. Trowbridge in Deming, New Mexico.

He graduated as valedictorian from Deming High in 1943 and served in the US Navy from 1943 to 1946, stationed in Washington, D.C. during World War II and in Japan during the occupation. 

Rev. Trowbridge received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies from the University of New Mexico in 1950 and a Bachelor of Divinity from Meadville Theological School in 1954.  Following graduation, Rev. Trowbridge was called to the Independent Congregational Society (Unitarian) of Bangor, Maine.  He was ordained and installed there in 1954, and served until 1958, leaving to further his education and to teach.  Rev. Trowbridge attended the Universities of California and Colorado to study philosophy and psychology, but decided to return to active ministry.  In 1964, he became Assistant Curator of Public Communications at the Minnesota Historical Society, working there while searching for a congregation to serve.

Called to the North Branch Association of Universalist Churches in 1964, Rev. Trowbridge served the association’s churches in Sheshequin, Standing Stone, and Towanda, Pennsylvania.  When the association could no longer support a full-time minister, Rev. Trowbridge continued as part-time minister, while seeking full-time employment which he found with the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare as a caseworker.  Rev. Trowbridge continued his part-time ministry for these churches until his retirement in 1986.  In 2003, the UU Church of Athens and Sheshequin conferred Minister Emeritus on Rev. Trowbridge for his years of service to them.

Rev. Trowbridge published articles in The Unitarian World, an English Unitarian journal called Faith and Freedom, and in The Christian Century.  Throughout his adult life, beginning with art classes in Bangor, Maine, Rev. Trowbridge found time to paint, primarily in water color, focusing on landscapes from the various locations where he lived.  Once retired, he served on the board of directors of the Deming, New Mexico, Arts Council.  As a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Las Cruces, Rev. Trowbridge led a UU discussion group for many years and volunteered for the Luna County Chapter of the New Mexico Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board.

Rev. Trowbridge is survived by his daughter, Alina Ruth Thomas Trowbridge of San Francisco; his son, Brandon Edward (Ned) Trowbridge; his daughter-in-law, Diane Trowbridge; and his step-grandchildren, Spencer and Chandler Steinbacher, of Williamsport, PA.

Please send messages of condolence to Alina Trowbridge, 801 Fillmore Street, Apt. 17, San Francisco, CA  94117 and Ned Trowbridge, 1308 Hepburn St., Williamsport, PA  17701.

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In Memory . . . Judith Lorraine Quarles (1942-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Judith Lorraine Quarles died following a prolonged illness on April 9, 2009 at home surrounded by family and comforted by the love of her many friends.  Her courage throughout her yearlong battle with brain cancer was an inspiration to all who knew her.  She was 67 years old.

Rev. Quarles was born on March 26, 1942 in Buffalo, NY, the second of three girls, to George A. Potter and Marjorie Dohn Potter.  Raised in Kenmore, New York, Rev. Quarles’ lifelong love of nature was forged throughout her childhood during summers spent in the mountains of Allegany State Park, hiking with her father, exploring the bear caves, swimming and diving in Fancher Pool, and learning family songs and games around the campfire.

After receiving a BA degree in Literature from Harpur College (now SUNY Binghamton) in 1964, Rev. Quarles entered the work force as an employment counselor, then a programmer analyst.  In 1970, she married Edgar Quarles and soon after began raising their daughters, Karen and Emily.  In the 1980’s while serving as Church School Director at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo, Rev. Quarles began attending Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, receiving her Master’s of Divinity in 1986.  She was ordained at the Buffalo church in 1987.  During this period, Edgar became ill with cancer and died in 1985.  Edgar’s death further motivated her in pursuit of the ministry.

After ordination, Rev. Quarles served the Unitarian Congregation of South Peel in Mississauga, Ontario, from 1988 until 1990.  From 1990 until 1992, Rev. Quarles worked to establish a new congregation in Lockport, New York.  She also served as summer minister for First Unitarian in Toronto, Ontario for several years.  In 1995, Rev. Quarles was called to be the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta, a congregation she served with wisdom, compassion, and dignity until her retirement in 2008.  Upon her retirement, the Oneonta congregation named her minister emerita.

Rev. Quarles was a passionate advocate for social action in the local community and beyond.  She was instrumental in launching the initiative that led to the Oneonta Free Clinic, and was immensely proud of the role the church had in making it happen.  She volunteered for Oneonta’s Mediation Services and the Assessment Appeals Board and was active in Oneonta’s interfaith community.  Perhaps the accomplishment of which she was most proud in the realm of social action was growing the church’s relationship with a school in Mali, an initiative that has provided the school with much needed financial support and led, in January 2008, to a memorable trip to Mali by Rev. Quarles and six other church members.

Rev. Quarles is survived by her loving companion, Tom O’Brien of Oneonta, New York; her daughter, Karen Quarles of New York City; her daughter, Emily Quarles Mowrer and husband, Clayton Mowrer, of Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania; and her sister, Linda Potter Acredolo of Woodland, California.  Her sister, Nancy Potter Wheatley, died previously.

A service to celebrate Rev. Quarles’ life was held on Saturday, April 18, 2009, at the Unitarian Universalist Society in Oneonta, New York.  Please send messages of condolence to Rev. Quarles’ family by visiting the website, www.grummonsfuneralhome.com or to Mr. Tom O’Brien, 37 Fair St., Oneonta, NY 13820.

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In Memory . . . Judith Brown Osgood (1942-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Judith Brown Osgood died on June 4, 2009 at Milford Regional Medical Center, Milford, Massachusetts.  She was 66.

Rev. Osgood was born on September 7, 1942, in West Hartford, Connecticut, to Carroll Prentiss and Carolyn Louise (Barnitz) Osgood.  She graduated from the Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford and earned a BA in Sociology from the University of Hartford in 1969 and a MA in Counseling from St. Joseph College, Hartford, CT, in 1987.  She was certified as an alcohol and drug counselor in 1989.

From 1986 until 1991, Rev. Osgood was employed as a counselor in various settings, including an inner city, outpatient drug program in Hartford, CT, which she directed.

While attending the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House in Provincetown, MA, Rev. Osgood began to consider ministry for herself.  She enrolled in Starr King School of Theology earning a Master of Divinity in 1994.  While at Starr King, Rev. Osgood received the Feminist Theology Award from the UU Women’s Federation for researching and collecting the sermons of Unitarian Universalist lay and clergy women in the Pacific Coast area.

After graduation, she was called to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Cheyenne, WY, where she was ordained in 1994.  She served the Unitarian Congregation of Mendon and Uxbridge, MA from 1996 - 2000, the Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Society in Madison, CT from 2000 - 2001 and the Unitarian Fellowship of Storrs, CT from 2004 - 2008.  In addition to her parish ministry, Rev. Osgood continued her work as a drug and alcohol counselor, serving for a time at the Shirley Medium Prison in Shirley, MA, and at a Worcester, MA, methadone clinic.

Rev. Osgood felt she had recently found her true ministry as a hospice chaplain and was employed by Jewish Health Services in Worcester, MA at the time of her death.  She was also a member of the First Unitarian Church of Worcester.

Rev. Osgood trained with her yellow lab, Thompson, to become a registered Pet Partner Team with the Delta Society.  They also trained for the Reading Education Assistance Dogs program which encourages children to read by providing a dog as a listener.  Rev. Osgood and Thompson visited residents of the Radius Nursing Homes in Millbury, MA and Worcester, MA and worked with children at the Uxbridge, MA, library.  A life member of the United States Tennis Association, she loved her grandchildren and her dog, Thompson.  She enjoyed gardening, fishing, and the Red Sox.

Survivors include Rev. Osgood’s partner, Wendy Innis; her daughter, Daphne Lynn Sanford of Uxbridge, MA; her son, Benjamin Ward Dunning of Burlington, CT; her brother, Dr. Carroll P. Osgood, Jr. of Altoona, PA; and four grandchildren.  Memorial Donations may be made in Rev. Osgood’s name to New England Assistance Dogs, P.O. Box 213, West Boylston, MA  01583.  A service to celebrate Rev. Osgood’s life was held on Thursday, June 18, at 4:00 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church, 90 Main Street, Worcester, MA.   Please send messages of condolence to Ms. Wendy Innis, 52 Taft Hill Lane, Uxbridge, MA 01569-3142.

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In Memory . . . Mary Louise Curd Nelson 
(1926-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Mary Louise Curd Nelson died on Sunday, January 11, 2009.  She was 82. Rev. Nelson was born on April 17, 1926, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Walter D. and Frances B. Curd.  She graduated from the University of Kansas in 1948 with a BA in English. 

Rev. Nelson joined her local Unitarian church, the Oak Ridge (Tennessee) Unitarian Universalist Church in 1956 seeking a new church home for herself and her family.  She soon became deeply involved in church activities especially those relating to religious education.  After ten years of increasing involvement, she was asked to become the church school director.  Within six months in that position, Rev. Nelson felt that she had received her call.  During her years as Director of Religious Education, Rev. Nelson continued her own education through attendance at numerous Meadville summer institutes, religious education workshops, and college courses.  In 1972, Rev. Nelson received accreditation from the UUA as a Director of Religious Education.

She moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1975 and served the children, youth, and adults of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Church in Knoxville as their religious education director for many years.  Rev. Nelson participated in an independent study program to prepare herself to become a Minister of Religious Education.  She achieved her goal in 1980 when she was ordained by the Tennessee Valley UU Church and fellowshipped as Minister of Religious Education by the UUA.  Later, Rev. Nelson served on the Independent Study Committee and mentored others through that program and informally in many other ways.

Upon her retirement in 1988, the Tennessee Valley Unitarian congregation named her Minister Emerita.  As Rev. Chris Buice recalled, Rev. Nelson was "a spiritual pioneer, believing in, living, and carrying forward the inspiration and work of Sophia Fahs and Angus MacLean.”  "Dean Mary,” as Eunice Benton affectionately called her, served as a teacher and mentor, providing inspiration, encouragement, and guidance to many religious education directors and lay leaders in the Thomas Jefferson District.

Rev. Nelson was also involved in social action efforts particularly in the area of civil rights, peace, and women's rights. She was active in the Thomas Jefferson District providing religious education workshops, training teachers for the About Your Sexuality Course, and serving as a Ministerial Settlement Representative.  Her community involvement included serving on the League of Woman Voters, as President of the Friends of the Oak Ridge Library, and organizing the first Junior Great Books program which was adopted by the local school system.  Rev. Nelson also led several groups of young readers in that program.  She said "I felt pride in getting it organized but more pleasure in the work with the children.”

Rev. Nelson is survived by her children and their partners, Murfi and Jon Pedersen; Martin Nelson and Wendy Lipscomb; Linda Nelson and Richard Schmorleitz; four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.  Rev. Nelson’s husband, Dr. Bill Nelson, died in 2008.

A memorial service was held on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009 at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.  Please send notes of condolence in care of Linda Nelson, 22560 Jeffrey Mark Court, Unit 4, Chatsworth, CA 91311-0145.

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In Memory . . . Guy Wheeler Meyer
 (1914-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Guy Wheeler Meyer died in his sleep on February 22, 2009.  He was 94. Rev. Meyer was born in Malden, MA, on December 19, 1914 to Harold Alton Meyer and Ethel C. Wheeler Meyer.  He attended Harvard College at the age of 16 then transferred to the University of Chicago and graduated with a degree in Political Science in 1940.  He also attended Meadville Theological School and he studied economics at the New School for Social Research. 

Ordained in 1942 at the First Universalist Church in Stockton, Illinois, Rev. Meyer served that congregation for several years then worked in a variety of fields before returning to parish ministry.  He was an early member of the Socialist Party and worked as an organizer for the Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union in New York.  He promoted a newspaper, sold health insurance and, after moving with his family to Round Pond, Maine, he opened a photography studio.  A conscientious objector during World War II, Rev. Meyer served on a Liberty Ship with the Merchant Marines after the War. 

In 1958, Rev. Meyer returned to active ministry answering a call from the First Universalist Church of Burrillville in Harrisville, Rhode Island (1958 - 1961.)  He then served the First Parish Unitarian Universalist in Arlington, Massachusetts (1961 – 1963), and First Parish Unitarian Universalist in Saugus, Massachusetts (1963 – 1964).  Rev. Meyer moved to the Unitarian Church in Newburgh, New York (1964 – 1968).  While there he crossed paths with Pete Seeger, Father Daniel Berrigan, and other distinguished leaders in the national peace movement and he was an active voice against war and for race conciliation in the Hudson River Valley.

After moving to California, Rev. Meyer hosted The Power of Love, a radio program on KWMR in Point Reyes Station that featured people from all walks of life, including Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations Robert Muller.

From the time he was a young man, Rev. Meyer dedicated his life to delivering a message of world peace.  His son, Roger Meyer, says "he took the lessons of World War I and Gandhi to heart.  He believed in a world without borders, a ‘New World’ as he described it, whose allegiance is to humankind.”  His daughter, Genie, adds "he is remembered for his kind, generous, and mirthful exuberance, a love for sailing, and a life-long commitment to world peace.”

Rev. Meyer is survived by his partner of 34 years, Joyce Greenwood of Inverness, California; his former wife, Verne M. Bell of Newburgh, New York; and his children, Satya Doerksen of Surrey, British Columbia; Lynn Meyer of Friendship, Maine; Guy Meyer Jr. of San Anselmo, California; Jill Meyer of Round Pond, Maine; Genie Harden of Eugene, Oregon; and Roger Meyer of New York, New York.  Additionally there are 10 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.  His son, Odell Brown, died previously.

A celebration of Rev. Meyer’s life was held on Sunday, March 29, 2009 at the Point Reyes Dance Palace in Point Reyes Station, CA.  Please send messages of condolence to Joyce Greenwood, P O Box 568, Inverness, CA 94937.

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In Memory . . . Thomas W. Martin
 (1947-2008)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dr. Thomas Wallace Martin.  He died suddenly on Sept. 7, 2008, at the Metro West Medical Center in Natick, Massachusetts. He was 61 years old.

Dr. Martin was born in Norfolk, Virginia, on March 31, 1947, to William and Anna Martin.  He lived in Smithfield, Virginia, near his grandparents' farm.  Growing up near the farm imbued him with a reverence and respect for nature and animals, which he sustained throughout his life. 

He graduated from Randolph-Macon College in 1971 with a BA in Philosophy and from Yale Divinity School in 1978 with a Masters of Divinity.  In 1978, he was called to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Weymouth, Massachusetts, where he served until 1991.

Dr. Martin then attended the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology where he received a PsychD in psychology.  He worked for a time at Neponset Health Center in Dorchester and later started private practices in Framingham and Quincy.  He also saw patients at Boston Health Care in Walpole, Massachusetts.  Dr. Martin was a member of the American Psychological Association and the New England Society for Clinical Hypnosis.

A member of the First Parish, Sherborn (Massachusetts) Unitarian Universalist Area Church, Dr. Martin was occasionally called on to preach and conduct children's messages there.  He also answered requests from former congregants and others to officiate for weddings, dedications, and funerals.

A lover of the outdoors, he was fond of animals, enjoyed cooking, and was a ham radio operator.

Dr. Martin's survivors include his beloved wife, Wendy J. Parker, MD, of Dover, Massachusetts, with whom he shared 12 years of marriage; his son, Thomas Martin of Brookline, Massachusetts; Wendy's children, Scott, Elissa, and Mark Russell Sperling of Dover, Massachusetts; his sister-in-law, Barbara Martin of Richmond, Virginia; his aunt, Mary Boyce Wynne and family of Smithfield, Virginia.  His brother, Dabney Martin, died previously.

A Service of Remembrance was held in the Unitarian Universalist Area Church at First Parish in Sherborn, Massachusetts.  Please send messages of condolence to Dr. Wendy Parker, 30 Greystone Road, Dover, MA 02030.

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In Memory . . . Barbara E. Hollerorth (1926-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Barbara E. Hollerorth.  She died at the home of her daughter, Rachel Buerlen, in Rutland, Massachusetts on April 14, 2009.  She was 82.

Rev. Hollerorth was born on September 21, 1926, in Waterloo, Iowa, to Winfield Scott and Elizabeth Moulton.  She attended the Universities of Iowa and Chicago where she studied social sciences.  She graduated from The Chicago Theological Seminary with a Bachelor of Divinity in 1952.

After her 1952 ordination at the Plymouth Congregational Church in Maywood, Illinois, Rev. Hollerorth directed an experimental nursery school program there.  In 1953, she joined her husband, Rev. Hugo Hollerorth, as co-minister of education at the Union Church of Hinsdale, Illinois.  After years spent raising her children, Rev. Hollerorth was called to serve as Associate Minister of the First Parish Church, Unitarian Universalist, in Lexington, Massachusetts.  It was while serving in Lexington that she created The Haunting House, a widely acclaimed early childhood curriculum which helped young children discover the importance of houses in people’s lives.  The curriculum was published by the Unitarian Universalist Association and used throughout the denomination as well as in secular settings.

While serving at First Parish in Lexington, Rev. Hollerorth became aware of the need for pastoral counseling services and felt called to provide them.  She enrolled in Andover Newton Theological School, receiving her Doctor of Ministry with a pastoral counseling specialty in 1974.  Following graduation, she worked at Boston Psychiatric Associates and at the Middleton Pastoral Counseling Center where she also taught.

In 1975, Rev. Hollerorth, began directing the newly-formed Unitarian Universalist Pastoral Counseling Service of Greater Boston, a position she held for many years.  She also served as Associate Minister in Pastoral Counseling at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading, Massachusetts.  Rev. Hollerorth was also an associate in the office of Dr. Michael Sherwood, and a therapist on the staffs of the Homophile Community Health Service and the Gender Identity Service.  Additionally she had a private practice with offices in Boston and Natick.

In retirement, Rev. Hollerorth focused on her lifelong passion for the visual arts, studying at the New England School of Photography, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Danforth Museum in Framingham, Massachusetts, and the Decordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts.  Her work was exhibited in several venues including the Habitat Center in Belmont, MA and at the New England School of Photography.

Rev. Hollerorth is survived by her husband, Rev. Hugo (Holly) Hollerorth; her daughter, Rachel Buerlen and husband, Paul of Rutland, MA; her grandchildren, Jason Buerlen, Holly Buerlen, and Nicole Hunter.  Her daughter, Rebecca Hunter died unexpectedly a few days after Rev. Hollerorth, on April 19, 2009. 

A memorial service was held on Saturday, May 9, at the First Parish Church UU in Framingham, MA. Please send messages of condolence to Rev. Hugo (Holly) Hollerorth, 3 Patton Dr., Natick, MA 01760-2927.

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In Memory . . . James C. Brewer (1926-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend James C. Brewer died on April 28, 2009 at the age of 82. Rev. Brewer was born on November 6, 1926 in Morgan County, Illinois to James Harrison and Edna C. Brewer.  After service in the US Navy Air Corp, he graduated from the University of Toledo in 1948 with a BA in History.  In 1951, he graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was ordained by the Melrose Unitarian Universalist Church in Melrose, Massachusetts. 

His professional life consisted of both parish ministry and public service.  In 1951, he served as intern minister with Dr. Howard Thurman at the Church of the Fellowship of All People.  The Church was founded in 1944 by Dr. Thurman and Dr. Alfred Fisk as the nation's first interracial interfaith congregation.  From 1952 to 1956, Rev. Brewer served the Unitarian Church in Natick, Massachusetts.  While serving in Natick, he initiated the first Fair Housing group in Massachusetts.  From 1956 to 1961, he served the Unitarian Church in Norfolk, Virginia.  In Norfolk, Rev. Brewer helped found the Norfolk Committee for Public Schools to reopen the schools after Governor J. Lindsay Almond, Jr. ordered them closed rather than desegregate.  Rev. Brewer served as president of the group and with members of his congregation worked for integration in the public schools.  In 1959, Rev. Brewer received the Holmes-Weatherly Award at that year’s General Assembly for his social justice work in Norfolk.

As a Fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs from 1961 to 1965, Rev. Brewer studied and reported on inter-cultural relations in southern and central Africa and Brazil, traveling extensively in those regions.  During that time, he represented the Unitarian Service Committee in the development of a program at Phoenix Settlement, Gandhi’s home in South Africa and served as Interim Minister to the Unitarian Church in Cape Town, South Africa.  In 1966, he became the Executive Director of the Foundation for Voluntary Service in New York, focusing on racial, poverty, and urban problems in the United States.  From 1969 to 1979, he served as General Secretary and Treasurer of the U.S. – South Africa Leader Exchange Program, an organization concerned with justice, equality, and leadership development.

Rev. Brewer returned to parish ministry in 1979, serving as Interim minister to First Unitarian Church, Chicago, Illinois; First Unitarian Congregation, Toronto, Canada; Unitarian Universalist Church, Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and Unitarian Church in Westport, Connecticut.  He was called in 1983 to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville, North Carolina and served there until his retirement in 1990 when he was named their Minister Emeritus.

Rev. Brewer leaves his wife, Betty Brewer, of Tucson, Arizona; his son, Montie Brewer, Montie’s wife, Jamie Brewer, and their children Jimmy and Abby Brewer of Hudson, Canada; and his daughter, Amy Brewer and husband, David Sacco, of Wallingford, Connecticut.  He was preceded in death by his first wife, Barbara; his son, Jimmy; and his daughter, Betsy.

A private service was held in June.  Please send messages of condolence by email to Betty Brewer at 4524 N Trocha Alegre, Tucson, AZ 85750-6368 and to Amy Brewer at 255 S. Whittlesey Ave, Wallingford, CT 06492.

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In Memory . . . John R. B. Szala
 (1935-2008)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend John R. B. Szala died from complications of diabetes on January 1, 2008 in Plymouth, NH.  He was 72.

Rev. Szala was born on September 30, 1935 in Pittsburgh, PA, the oldest of six children, to John and Julia (Sliwa) Szala.  He entered a Carmelite Monastery as a junior in high school and spent 10 years as a contemplative monk before applying for dispensation of his vows.  During his time in the monastery, Rev. Szala studied theology at the University of Pittsburgh.  After leaving the monastery, Rev. Szala taught school, and then administered a cancer research project at the University of Pittsburgh while earning his M.Ed. from the University of Pittsburgh.  In 1972, Rev. Szala became acquainted with Unitarian Universalism at the First Unitarian Church in Pittsburgh under the mentorship of Rev. David A. Johnson, who was minister there at the time.

Rev. Szala was ordained and installed at the First Unitarian Church in Pittsburgh on October 14, 1973.  He served as their interim minister and as campus chaplain at the University of Pittsburgh from 1973 to 1974.  He served the First Universalist Church of Rochester, NY from 1975 to 1978.  He was then called to the First Church in Salem, Unitarian, in Salem, MA where he served from 1979 until 1991.  Finally, he served the Caribou Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Caribou, ME, from 1993 to 1996. 

Rev. Szala was an active member of the North American Vexillological Association (NAVA), an organization devoted to vexillology, the scientific study of flag history and symbolism.  He served as their president from 1978-1980.  In 1993, he designed a flag for their annual meeting in Portland, ME and in 1995, he designed a personal flag which contained symbolism for "peace” as well as "the abiding presence of God.”  He was also the author of Poland's National Flag and Emblem.

The Rev. Dr. Thomas D. Wintle, of Weston MA, a friend of Szala's for 30 years, wrote in an email to colleagues: "John was cantankerous and the ultimate curmudgeon. Even when I called him to wish a happy birthday, he would chastise me for sermons on our website that allowed people too easily into the baptized community of Christians!  Yet I mourn his passing. And pray that he 'may find his place in God's kingdom.'"

Survivors include his mother, Julia Szala, of Pittsburg, PA; his brother, Frank Szala, of Locust Grove, VA; his sisters, Marlene Bateman and Dolores Mattress; and many nieces and nephews. 

A service has already been held.  Please send messages of condolence to Rev. Szala’s mother, Julia Szala, 223 Spencer Ave Apt A1, Pittsburg, PA 15227.

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