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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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In Memory . . . Mounir Raphael Sa’adah (1909-2008)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Mounir R. Sa’adah died on July 25, 2008 at Harvest Hill retirement center in Lebanon, NH.  He was 99.

Rev. Sa’adah was born in Damascus, Syria on June 18, 1909.  He attended the American University in Beirut, graduating in 1930.  He attended the American University’s Near East School of Theology while working as a librarian there.  He then joined the faculty, teaching history and ethics.  In 1937, he married Marjorie Anne Abrahamian who was a refugee from Turkish Armenia.  While still in Beirut, Rev. Sa’adah pursued a master’s degree which he earned in 1945, also from American University.    

In 1947, Rev. Sa’adah and his family immigrated to the United States, settling briefly in Ohio where he taught at Western Reserve Academy.  He was then invited by Kenneth Webb, a colleague from Beirut, to teach at the newly created Woodstock Country School in Woodstock, Vt.  He taught history there for 18 years.  While in Woodstock, he was called to minister to the North Universalist Chapel Society.  He was ordained there in 1947 and served there from 1946 until 1964. 

The American Friends Service Committee recruited Mounir and Marjorie Sa’adah in 1949 to organize the care of the first Arab refugee settlements in Gaza.  Their concern for conditions in the Middle East prompted them, with other Woodstock residents, to create the Near East Scholarship Fund to support the education of students at American University.

In 1964, Rev. Sa’adah initiated a program in Arabic and Near Eastern Studies at the Choate School in Wallingford, CT.  He retired from there in 1976.  While teaching at Choate, Rev. Sa’adah served the Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Madison, CT and All Souls Unitarian Universalist Congregation in New London, CT.  Rev. Sa’adah was named minister emeritus by two of the congregations he served, the North Universalist Chapel Society and All Souls Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. 

Rev. Sa’adah published articles in the Christian Century, the Muslim World, and the Independent School Magazine and after his retirement, he published his book Jesus: the Son of Man. 

Survivors of Rev. Sa’adah include his children: David M. and his wife, Gretchen Hall, of Alexandria, VA; Jonathan E. and his wife, Elizabeth Adams, of Hartford, VT and Montreal; and M. Anne Sa’adah, and her husband, William L. Baldwin, of Hanover, NH.  His wife, Marjorie, died in 2002.

A service was held on August 17, 2008 at the North Universalist Chapel Society in Woodstock, VT.  Those wishing to make memorial gifts are invited to contribute to the Near East Scholarship Fund, c/o Carola Lea, 522 River Road, Lyme, NH 03768.  Please send notes of condolence to his son, Dr. David M. Sa’adah, 1919 Hawthorne Ave., Alexandria, VA 22311.

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In Memory . . . Felix (Dan) Danford Lion
 (1914-2008)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Felix Danford Lion died peacefully on Saturday, November 29, 2008 at Victoria General Hospital, British Columbia, with his family beside him.  He was 94.

Rev. Lion was born in Berlin, MA, on October 16, 1914, to Unitarian Universalist minister Herman F. Lion and Isabella Ferraris Lion.  He attended DePauw University then transferred to the University of Chicago, graduating in 1936.  He graduated from Meadville Theological School in 1938 with a BD degree, and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Starr King School for the Ministry in 1966.

Following his graduation from Meadville, Rev. Lion embarked on what would become 47 years of active and engaged ministry.  He served the following Unitarian Universalist congregations:  First Unitarian Society in Newton, MA as assistant minister (1938 – 1940); First Unitarian Society in Lawrence, MA, following his father’s tenure there (1940 to 1945); Adams Memorial Unitarian Church in Dunkirk, NY (1945 – 1949); Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, CA (1949 – 1972); Community Church of New York, NY  as associate minister (1972 – 1975); Unitarian Universalist Church of Amherst, NY (1975 – 1981); and Unitarian Universalist Church of Victoria, British Columbia (1981 – 1986).  He was honored as Minister Emeritus by both the Palo Alto, CA and Victoria, BC congregations.

In addition to congregational service, Rev. Lion served his larger community on numerous boards and committees, including as Executive Board member of the Palo Alto Branch of the NAACP, and on the boards of the Palo Alto Ministerial Association, Palo Alto Human Relations Commission, and Palo Alto Mental Health Association.  He was a founding member and President for six years of the Vancouver Island Coalition for Human Rights and a member of the International Association for Religious Freedom. 

His Unitarian Universalist activities included a tenure as President of the UU Ministers Association from 1979 until 1981, Secretary-Treasurer of the Unitarian Fellowship for Social Justice from 1940 – 1949, President of the Pacific Coast Unitarian Council from 1955 – 1958, and President of the Board of Starr King School for the Ministry from 1971 – 1973. 

In 2006, at the age of 91, Rev. Lion was the subject of an article by Rick Stiebel in the Goldstream News Gazette titled "A Lion’s fight to defend human rights.”   The article highlighted Rev. Lion’s life-long dedication to social justice for all, including his work during the civil rights movement of the 1960’s in Mississippi where he participated in voter registration activities with Dr. Martin Luther King and the folk singer-activist Pete Seeger.

Rev. Lion loved both music and gardening.  He played trumpet all his life in jazz bands and orchestras wherever he lived, beginning as a teenager and continuing until he was 92 years old.  In Victoria he played in the Oak Bay Seniors Orchestra, Hampton Symphony, and the dance bands, Swing Bandits and Groovin' Hard.  In Palo Alto, California he played with the church dance band the Unicorns.   Rev. Lion indulged his love of gardening during his retirement.  He belonged to several different garden clubs over the years, as well as the Horticultural Societies of British Columbia and Victoria.  He and his wife, Eva, created a beautiful and rich garden which they proudly shared as a training facility for other gardeners.  Their gardens were featured in a 1999 article in Gardens West.  

Rev. Lion’s survivors include his wife of 66 years, Eva; his children, David, Ingrid, and Roger Lion; and his grandchildren, Anna and Rob Lion and Andrea Junca.  A memorial service was held on December 13, 2008 at the First Unitarian Church of Victoria.  Memorial contributions may be made in Rev. Lion’s name to the donor’s favorite charity.  Please send notes of condolence to Ms. Eva Lion, 3310 Ocean Blvd, Victoria, BC V9C 1W6.

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In Memory . . . Webster Lardner Kitchell
 (1931-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Webster Lardner Kitchell died on February 9, 2009 of complications from Parkinson's disease.  He was 78.

Rev. Kitchell was born in Newburyport, MA, on May 21, 1931, to Francis Robert Kitchell and Jeannette Abbot Kitchell.  He was the youngest of four brothers, following Frank, Sam, and Peter.

He graduated from Amherst College in 1955 and Harvard Divinity School in 1957. He received his doctorate from Eden Theological Seminary in 1972. He served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War and was honorably discharged in 1951.

His first position in the ministry was as assistant minister at All Souls Unitarian Church in New York City, from 1957 to 1960. Rev. Kitchell then moved to Eliot Chapel in Kirkwood, Mo., for 13 years. From 1973 to 1981 he served as minister at First Unitarian Church in Houston. He continued his trek west by becoming the first minister at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Santa Fe, where he served until 1998.  Following his retirement, the Santa Fe congregation named him Minister Emeritus.

Rev. Kitchell was active in various UU related organizations, including as chair of the Central Midwest District Personnel committee, editor of the Midwest Liberal Minister’s Newsletter, and member of the nominating committee of the UU Historical Society.  His community activities included The Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, the Kirkwood, Missouri Ministerial Alliance, and president of the Committee for Responsible Citizenship. 

He was known for his sonorous voice and the humor in his sermons. His "Coyote" sermons became a tradition at the church in Santa Fe. Coyote, the "trickster" symbol in Native American mythology, was his fictitious partner whom he met at doughnut shops to discuss current events, matters of theology, and the wonders of life. He wrote three books based on these sermons, including God's Dog: Conversations with Coyote, Get a God!: More Conversations with Coyote, and Coyote Says: More Conversations with God's Dog.

He loved cars from his first, a '34 Ford convertible which he got when he was 19, to his last, a convertible Mustang. The list of 26 vehicles he owned included such wonders as a yellow VW Thing, decorated with bumper stickers espousing various liberal causes, and a '41 Plymouth coupe, which was among his favorites. He owned many model cars and set up revolving displays of them. He was also an accomplished amateur photographer who loved to record his family, his parishioners, and the landscape of the American West. Throughout his life he enjoyed camping, backpacking, canoeing, and long road trips.

Rev. Kitchell was preceded in death by his wife of 23 years, Nancy Gay Mottweiler Kitchell. Two previous marriages ended in divorce. He is survived by his children Catherine Kitchell of Chevy Chase, Md., David Kitchell of Seattle, and Benjamin Kitchell of Tigard, Ore. His three stepchildren are John Warner of San Diego, Dana Mottweiler of Oakland, Cal., and Kurt Mottweiler of Portland, Ore. There are three grandchildren and one step-grandchild. He is survived by his companion of the last few years, Nancy Driesbach and his eldest brother, Frank, who resides in Seattle.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Santa Fe, 107 W. Barcelona Road, Santa Fe, NM 87505 or the Parkinson's Disease Foundation at www.pdf.org.

Services were held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Santa Fe on Saturday, March 7th.  The Rev. Dr. Stephen Furrer officiated.  Please send messages of condolence to Catherine Kitchell, 5500 Friendship Blvd, Apt 2411 N, Chevy Chase, MD 20815.

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