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In Memory . . . Rev. Frank Robertson (1936-2008)

Posted By Administrator, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group inform you of the death of the Reverend Frank E. Robertson. He died February 6, 2008 at his home in Plymouth, MA at the age of 71.

Mr. Robertson was born on September 15, 1936 to John and Mildred Robertson in Greenfield, MA. He received a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Lowell in 1959 and a M. Div. from The Theological School of St. Lawrence University in 1962 where he was certified in Religious Education. At Colombia University he studied World Religions, specializing in East Indian studies. His interest in world religions persisted throughout Mr. Robertson’s life leading him to participate in the creation of a World Religions curriculum, published in 1987. In 1979 he studied and traveled in India. He participated in a study tour of Japan and in The International Association of Religious Freedom Congress in Tokyo in 1984. 

After being ordained by the First Grace Universalist Church in Lowell, MA, Mr. Robertson served congregations in Barneveld and Shelter Rock, NY, and Paramus, NJ. He served as Minister of Religious Education in Washington, DC, Santa Barbara, CA, and Evanston, IL. In 1998, after serving in Evanston for 12 years, he was honored by the congregation as Minister Emeritus upon his retirement.

Mr. Robertson was a founding member of Interweave, an organization affiliated with the UUA to address the concerns of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) concerns. In doing so, he greatly helped other GLBT persons to claim their identity. Through their efforts, the General Assembly was lobbied to pass resolutions concerning GLBT rights and the UUA Office of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Concerns was established.

In 2006, Mr. Robertson was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School. In bestowing this degree he was celebrated "as an outstanding Unitarian Universalist minister, as a faithful religious educator, as an exceptional leader in many and sundry public institutions, and finally as a courageous pioneer of human rights.” The Angus H. MacLean Award for excellence in religious education was bestowed on Mr. Robertson in 1998.

Mr. Robertson’s other contributions were many. From 1978 to 1980, Mr. Robertson was a member of the UUA Board of Trustees where he was both soft spoken and effective in lobbying for human rights causes. He also served on the board of the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA). He founded and chaired the Unitarian Universalist Religious Education History Group and served on the boards of the St. Lawrence Foundation and the US Chapter of the International Association of Religious Freedom. He was an Elder of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants. 

He is survived by his partner of 36 years, Mr. Rick McDonald, of Plymouth, MA, his daughters, Lydia J. Robertson of Brooklyn, NY and Denene Ray and husband, Jeff, of Charlotte, NC. His son, Joel, died in 1993. He also leaves his grandchildren, Charlotte Juergens of Brooklyn, NY, and Emma, Jennifer, and Maddy Ray of Charlotte, NC.

His friend, the Reverend Abhi Janamanchi said of him that "Frank was a mentor, friend, cheer leader, and family member. We will miss his wonderful sense of humor, bad puns, deep dedication to our faith, and universal spirit that embraced all regardless of culture, race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation”.

A celebration of The Reverend Frank Robertson’s life will take place on April 19 at 2:00 p.m. at First Parish Church in Plymouth, MA. Memorial gifts may be made to the First Parish Church (memo Frank Robertson Memorial), 19 Town Square, Plymouth, MA 02360-3351 for the establishment of a Celebration Garden in Frank’s name.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Carl Thitchener (1932-2008)

Posted By Janette M. Lallier, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group inform you of the death of the Reverend Carl F. Thitchener. Mr. Thitchener died February 15, 2008 in the presence of loving family at the House of John Hospice in Clifton Springs, NY. He was 75. 

Mr. Thitchener was born on March 31, 1932 in Rochester, NY to Charles P. and Dorothy M. Thitchener. He received a B.S. degree in Speech from Northwestern University in 1953. After a successful business career where he was a pioneer in the early microfilm information retrieval industry, he transitioned to ministry. He earned an M. Div. degree from Starr King School for the Ministry in 1980.

Ordination took place at the First Unitarian Church in Rochester, NY on May, 18, 1980, where Mr. Thitchener had been an active layperson for more than 20 years. His activities as layperson included teaching in the church school, chairing the annual fund drive, advising the youth group, and serving on the Board of Trustees. In 1981, he was called to serve the UU Church of Amherst in Williamsville, NY. He was joined there as co-minister, by his wife, the Reverend Maureen Thitchener, in 1991. Their ministry continued until 2003 when they were honored as Ministers Emeriti. Mr. Thitchener also served congregations in Fairfax, VA, Rochester, NY, and Waterloo County, Ontario, Canada. At the time of his death, Mr. Thitchener was co-minister with his wife of the UU Church of Canandaigua, NY.

Mr. Thitchener served the denomination in many roles. From 1993 to 2000 he served as Secretary to the Unitarian Universalist Association's Board of Trustees. He also served on the Boards of Trustees of the Buffalo Area Metropolitan Ministries and of the Starr King School for Ministry in Berkeley, CA. Additionally, he served on the Executive Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Minister's Association and as President of the St. Lawrence Foundation for Theological Education.

Survivors include his wife of 53 years, Maureen Quinlan Thitchener, their children Karyn Taylor and her husband Alan, Lynn Thitchener, Susan Levine and her husband Jeff, and Michael Carl Thitchener. He also leaves two granddaughters, Tegan Thitchener Kehoe and Kelley Levine.

A service to honor and celebrate Mr. Thitchener's life will be held on Saturday, March 29, 2:00 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church of Rochester, 220 Winton Road South, Rochester, NY.

Messages of remembrance may be sent to 3895 Green Rd, Bloomfield, NY 14469-9725. Donations in the Reverend Carl Thitchener's name may be sent to Compassionate Care, P.O. Box 123, Canandaigua, NY, 14424.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Peter Weller (1926-2008)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group inform you of the death of the Reverend Peter Weller.

He died on January 22, 2008 at his home in Fort Collins, Colorado. He was 81.The Rev. Peter Weller was born on February 10, 1926 in Holland, Michigan, the son of Peter Weller, Sr. and Gertrude Weller who had emigrated from the Netherlands. Mr. Weller received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1948. After serving in both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army, he decided to become a Unitarian minister at the age of 26. Mr. Weller received his M. Div. from the Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, CA in 1957.

Mr. Weller served Unitarian Universalist congregations in Laconia, New Hampshire; Seattle, Washington; Hanska, Minnesota; Muskegan, Michigan; and Pittsfield, Massachusetts. In Pittsfield, he ministered for 12 years and was honored with the status of Minister Emeritus. He then served as interim minister in Birmingham, Alabama and Bloomington, Indiana. 

A longtime advocate of peace and justice, Mr. Weller was active in the civil rights movement and marched in Selma with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was also active with the anti-war movement during the Vietnam era and recently served on the board of the United Nations Association in Fort Collins, CO where he was a member of the Foothills Unitarian Church. Mr. Weller was also an active participant in the Unitarian Universalist Ministers' Association where he was respected as a "gentle, kind presence."

Mr. Weller married Carol Reed Weller in 1958. She preceded him in death in 1973. 

He then married Jennie Parker Weller in 1977. Survivors include his wife, Jennie Parker Weller of Fort Collins; three daughters, Cathleen Hamilton (Oakland, NJ), Julia Smith (Fairbanks, Al), and Gretchen Weller (Fort Collins, CO); five stepchildren, Marian Ware (Amherst, MA), Carl Hildebrandt (Pittsburgh, PA), Janet Hildebrandt (Boulder, CO), Jay Hilt (Burbank, CA), Lisabeth Almgren (Tucson, AZ), seventeen grandchildren, and six great- grandchildren. He is also survived by his three brothers, John, Peter Anthony "Tony," and Hubert "Herb" Weller, all of Holland, Michigan. 

A memorial service will be held at a later date at Foothills Unitarian Church. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Foothills Unitarian Church, 1815 Yorktown Avenue, Fort Collins, Colorado 80526 or the Hospice of Larimer County in care of Bohlender Funeral Chapel, 121 West Olive Street, Fort Collins, Colorado 80524. 

Please send messages of remembrance to the family in care of Bohlender Funeral Chapel, 121 West Olive Street, Fort Collins, Colorado 80524.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Gene Bridges (1929-2008)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group inform you of the death of the Reverend Gene Bridges. He died peacefully on January 3, 2008 at his home in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was 78.

Mr. Bridges was born on January 27, 1929 in Moville, Iowa. He graduated from Iowa State University in 1949 and received a Bachelor of Law (LLB) from Southern Methodist University in 1951. After practicing law in Dallas and Des Moines, Mr. Bridges entered Starr King School for the Ministry, graduating in 1959. He was ordained by the Unitarian Universalist Association of Tacoma, WA, on January 10, 1960 and served that congregation for 3 years. He then served the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu, HI from 1962 until 1970.

Mr. Bridges returned to the practice of law, creating The Divorce Clinic to provide low cost legal assistance to persons of limited income. He also owned and operated Bed & Breakfast Honolulu (Statewide), the largest Bed and Breakfast association in Hawaii. According to Rev. Mike Young, Mr. Bridges was a stalwart supporter of civil rights, racial justice, and peace. The Hawaii ACLU's first phone was on his desk and he had marched in Selma. He managed to influence and change a lot of lives during his career and will be deeply missed.

Surviving Mr. Bridges are his daughter, Beth Eileen Bridges and his sons, Adam Parker Bridges and Channing Meier Bridges and four grandchildren. His wife, Mary Lee Tsuffis, preceded him in death in September 2003. 

A memorial service took place at the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu on Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the American Cancer Society.

Please send messages of remembrance to his children at 3242 Kaohinani Drive, Honolulu, HI 96817-1020.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Elium Gault (1922-2007)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group inform you of the death of the Reverend Elium E. Gault. He died peacefully on November 16, 2007 at his home in Hazlet, NJ. He was 85.

Mr. Gault was born on March 9, 1922 in Midland County, MI to John Merrit Gault and Katy Grace Small Gault. He was one of 12 children and was raised in Indiana where he graduated from high school in 1940. He married Donna Belle Heltzel on May 23, 1943. 

He enrolled at Indiana Central College in Indianapolis but interrupted his studies to serve in the US Army from October 1942 to February 1946. He belonged to the 12th and 20th Armored Infantry Divisions, serving as Company Communications Chief in France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, and Austria. After his term in the Army, Mr. Gault returned to college, graduating in 1948. He then enrolled in United Theological Seminary (known then as Bonebrake Theological Seminary), graduating in 1951.

Mr. Gault was ordained in the Congregational Church in 1961. He served Congregational Churches in Plattsville and Springfield, OH and Chillicothe, IL before transferring to the American Unitarian Association in 1961. He served Unitarian Universalist congregations in Woodstock and Hartland Four Corners, VT and Manchester, NH. In 1988, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Manchester, NH honored Mr. Gault with Minister Emeritus status. He was an active member of the UU Church of Monmouth County in Lincroft, NJ at the time of his death.

Surviving Mr. Gault are his sons, James R. and wife Loma Gault of Hazlet, NJ and Bert Gault of Watertown, NY, his daughter, Patti Muset of Browns Mills, NJ, and his three grandchildren Keith Muset, Kevin Muset, and Kimberly Muset of Browns Mills, NJ. Mr. Gault also leaves two sisters, Nellie and husband Robert McGrew of Fulton, IN and Donna and husband Paul Reffett of LaGrange, IN as well as many nieces and nephews.

Mr. Gault's wife, Donna Belle Heltzel, preceded him in death on July 7, 2001. Mr. Gault donated his body to the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Anatomical Association, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Please send messages of remembrance to:

Mr. James Gault
1 Cypress Street
Hazlet, NJ 07730-4009

A memorial service will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Manchester at 2:00 PM on Saturday, January 19.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Dr. Patricia Bowen (1934-2007)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group informs you of the death of the Reverend Dr. Patricia McClellan Bowen. She died Friday, September 14, 2007 after a brief illness at the age of 73.

Dr. Bowen was born April 14, 1934 in Texas. She received a B.S. from the University of Texas, an M.A. from the University of Chicago, and a D.Min. from Meadville Lombard School of Theology. She received Preliminary Fellowship in 1978 and Final Fellowship in 1981. She was ordained at the First Parish in Framingham, Massachusetts on June 25, 1978.

Dr. Bowen served congregations in Framingham, Sharon, and Sherborn, Massachusetts; South Bend, Indiana; West Paris, Maine; Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Oakton, Virginia; and Las Vegas, Nevada. From 1973 to 1975 she was Assistant to the Director of Education and Social Concerns at the Unitarian Universalist Association.

While on staff at the UUA Dr. Bowen created and developed REACH, the Religious Education Clearing House. Active within the denomination, she served on the UUA General Assembly Planning Committee and was on the CLF, Kairos, and Massachusetts Bay District Boards.

Surviving Dr. Bowen are her children Barbara Bowen of Newton, Massachusetts, and Jonathon Stehr of Spencer, Massachusetts. Messages of remembrance may be sent to:

Ms. Barbara Bowen
17 Mechanic Street
Newton, MA 02464

At her request no services were held.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Martha Newman (1923-2007)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group informs you of the death of the Reverend Martha Scott Newman. She died Tuesday, August 14, 2007 after a brief illness. She was 84 years of age.

Ms. Newman was born on May 16, 1923 in St. Louis, Missouri. She received a BS from Central Missouri State University, a MA from the University of Denver and an MDiv from Meadville Lombard Theological School. She was granted Preliminary Fellowship in 1982 and Final Fellowship in 1986. The Murray Society of Clinton, Iowa ordained her on December 3, 1984.

Ms. Newman served congregations in Alton, Illinois; Clinton, Iowa; Ellisville, Missouri; and Houlton, Maine. On May 19, 2003, the Unitarian Society of Houlton named her Minister Emerita.

She is survived by two children, Amy Rouse and her husband Gene of Skowhegan, and J Mark Newman and his wife Ann of Surprise, Arizona; two foster daughters, Kay Keaton and her husband Jerry of St. Charles, Missouri and Ruth Eltinge and her husband Ervin, of St. Louis, Missouri; a sister, Colleen Furgerson of Texas; 14 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.

Messages of remembrance may be sent in to:

Ms. Amy Rouse
34 Turner Avenue
Skowhegan, ME 04976

A service was held on September 8, 2007 at the Unitarian Society of Houlton, Maine. The Reverend David Hutchinson officiated.

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In Memory . . . Carolyn Buss Podulka (1933-2007)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group informs you of the death of the Reverend Carolyn F. B. Podulka. Reverend Podulka died Friday, August 17, 2007 after suffering a stroke. She was 74 years of age.

Ms. Podulka was born May 27, 1933 in St. Louis, Missouri. She received a B.S. from the University of Lowell and a diploma from the Unitarian Universalist Association's Independent Study Program. In 1988 she received a Master of Divinity from the Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. She was granted Preliminary Fellowship in 1980 and Final Fellowship on May 7, 1984. On March 1, 1981 the Unitarian Church of Evanston, Illinois ordained her.

Reverend Podulka served the Unitarian Church of Evanston, Illinois as a Minister of Religious Education from February 1, 1976 to February 1, 1985. She was a Pastoral Counselor at the Hospice of the Northshore in Wilmette, Illinois.

Her husband Gene Podulka and her children W. David Buss of Los Angeles, California; Dennis F. Buss of Lake Forest, Illinois; Timothy D. Buss of Bay City, Michigan; and Heidi Ann Buss of St. Paul, Minnesota; 15 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren survive Reverend Podulka. Messages of remembrance may be sent to: 

Mr. Gene Podulka 
1321 Sleepy Hollow Road
Glenview, IL 60025-3043

A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 22, 2007 at the Northshore Unitarian Church, 2100 Half Day Road, Deerfield, Illinois. Family and friends will lead the service.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Richard Kimball (1934-2007)

Posted By Administrator, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with great sadness that Ministry and Professional Leadership informs you of the death of the Reverend Richard G. Kimball. He died Saturday, June 23, 2007 at the age of 72.

Reverend Kimball was born August 18, 1934. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University, a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School and a Master of Education from Boston University.

Mr. Kimball was fellowshipped in May 1959, and ordained in June 1959 at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. He served congregations in Hingham, Westborough, Somerville, Billerica, Fitchburg, Woburn, Boston, West Roxbury and Essex, all in Massachusetts. He also served the Stockport Unitarian Church in Stockport, England from 1960 to 1961. He was named Minister Emeritus by Theodore Parker UU Church in West Roxbury in 1985 and by the First Universalist Church of Essex in 2004.

Active in both denominational and community affairs, he was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns Committee, the Religious Arts Guild, the Interfaith Committee, the Visiting Nurses Association, the Aids Action Committee and many other social service organizations. A gifted teacher, he was an instructor of Psychology at Bunker Hill Community College, Mass. Bay Community College, Newbury College and the Berklee School of Music.

His wife, Deirdre Kimball, and son Jordan Kimball, who is currently living in Guinea, West Africa, working with Action Against Hunger, survive Richard.
Messages of remembrance may be sent to:|

Ms. Deirdre Kimball
29 St. John Street
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date and will be held at the Goddard Memorial Chapel at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. Once the date has been established a notice will be sent.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Margaret Odell (1912-2007)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group informs you of the death of the Reverend Margaret Odell. She died on May 28, 2007 following a stroke. She was 94 years of age.

Reverend Odell was born October 3, 1912 in Spokane, Washington. She received a BS from Syracuse University in 1932; a MRE from Boston University in 1934, and in 1983, Starr King School for the Ministry awarded her an honorary STD. 

She entered Fellowship in April 1971 and was ordained June 5, 1971 by the Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church in Alexandria, Virginia. Reverend Odell served congregations as a religious educator in Wellesley Hills, and Worcester, Massachusetts; Philadelphia (Germantown), Pennsylvania; Princeton, New Jersey; Alexandria (Mount Vernon) and Reston, Virginia; and Columbia, Maryland. In addition, she was an educational consultant in the Ohio-Meadville District from 1968 to 1977. The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, Maryland named her Emerita Minister in 1983.

A tireless advocate for religious education, she participated in the organizing meeting of the Liberal Education Directors Association (now the Liberal Religious Educators Association) and served as its president from 1953-1955. In 1974 she was awarded the Angus MacLean award for excellence in religious education in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the field. 

Reverend Odell leaves no survivors. The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia and a few long-time friends are her family. Messages of remembrance may be sent to: 

The Rev. Paige Getty
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia
7246 Cradlerock Way
Columbia, MD 21045-5048

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, July 8, 2007, 1:30 p.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, 7246 Cradlerock Way, Columbia, MD 21045. The Reverend Paige Getty will officiate.

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