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In Memory . . . Rev. A. John Skeirik (1918-2007)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group announces the passing of The Reverend A. John Skeirik at the age of 88 on Wednesday, March 7, 2007 in Brewster, MA. John was in complete kidney failure and passed quickly.

John Skeirik was born in Marquette, Nebraska on August 3, 1918. He was the son of a Methodist minister. He received his A.B. from Syracuse University in 1941 and the Master of Theological Studies from Boston University School of Theology in 1944. He also completed an M.Ed. degree from Bridgewater State College in Library Science in 1978.

The Reverend Skeirik received Preliminary Fellowship in the Unitarian Universalist ministry in 1961 and Final Fellowship on November 16, 1965. He had been ordained in Binghamton, NY in 1947 as a Methodist minister. John served pastorates in the Methodist faith in NY and Massachusetts from 1944 to 1962. At the time he became fellowshipped he was serving First Parish in Sherborn, Mass and later served the Reading, MA and Hollis, NY congregations. He retired from the ministry in 1983 after serving the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Middleboro, MA where he was named Minister Emeritus. 

After retirement John and Betsey continued to live on Cape Cod. Following his retire-ment from ministry, he had a second career as a multi-media specialist and served as an assistant librarian in Massachusetts public schools from 1984 to 2004. 

John had several talents: he was an exceptional amateur photographer, and he enjoyed carving wood objects with his wood-carving power tools. He and Betsey also enjoyed travel, including a number of trips to Europe. After he retired from his library position in the public school system, he donated time to the library of the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History

One of his colleagues writes, "John was an uncomplicated, transparently kind, and genuinely liberal minister, one without a mean bone in his body." From his brother Kal, "John's was a legacy of love, of caring, of healing, and of compassion that he left in the hearts and minds of the young and the old with whom he came in contact as he unselfishly served during his ministry and public service. 

Rev. Skeirik is survived by his wife of 59 years, Betsey and a brother, Kaleel Skeirik of Richmond, VA and a sister, Jeanette Macht of Feasterville, PA.

A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, March 24 at 11:00 A.M. at The Meeting House in Chatham, MA to be officiated by The Reverend Denis Meacham of First Parish Brewster where Rev. Skeirik was a member.

Messages of condolence may be sent to: 

Mrs. Betsey Skeirik
Epoch of Brewster 
873 Harwich Road 
Brewster, MA 02631

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In Memory . . . Rev. Alfred D. Judd (1925-2007)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
Updated: 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 Alfred D. Judd who passed Tuesday, February 6, 2007, of a massive heart attack. 

Alfred Judd was born in Greenfield, MA on March 10, 1925. He attended Bement School in Greenfield and Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, MA. Al spent three years in the U.S. Army in the European Theater during World War II. Subsequently he graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1949 and completed his B.D. there in 1951. 

Alfred Judd became fellowshipped as a Unitarian minister in 1951 and as a Universalist minister in 1956. The Unitarian Society in Fall River, MA ordained him on April 6, 1952.

Mr. Judd began his ministry in Fall River, MA where he served for five years. During the course of his thirty-five years in active ministry, he served congregations in Clarklake and Horton, Michigan; Claremont, NH; East Greenwich, RI, and Lubbock, College Station and Houston, Texas. The Northwoods UU Church of Houston named Al Judd Minister Emeritus at his retirement in April, 1985. Al and Patricia Judd moved to Santa Fe, NM in 1987.

Alfred Judd is remembered as a man of moderation, good will, good cheer, and simple goodness. He loved steam trains and their lore and for many years worked as a volunteer on the Cumbres and Toltec Restoration Project in the Southwest. When time allowed he built model trains and was both an ingenious problem solver and a creative designer and builder.

He understood and loved children and they loved him because of his gentleness and sense of fun. In his later years, when he had given up more strenuous volunteering, one of Al's great pleasures was being a mentor at the Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Santa Fe.

Alfred Judd was a loving and devoted husband to his wife, Patricia, who survives him. He leaves three wonderful adult children: Karen, Rebecca and Taylor; four grandchildren: Judd, Hannah, Nathaniel and Matthias; and three great grandchildren. Also surviving are stepsons: David, Jeffrey and Gregory White and their families. 

A Memorial Service officiated by The Reverend Stephen Furrer will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Santa Fe on Friday, March 2nd at 2 P.M. Memorial donations may be sent to the U.U. Congregation of Santa Fe, or to the Union of Concerned Scientists, 2 Brattle Square, Cambridge, MA 02238.

Messages of Condolence may be sent to:
Mrs. Patricia Judd
2948 Plaza Blanca
Santa Fe, NM 87507

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In Memory . . . Rev. Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley (1949-2006)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
Marjorie Rebekah Bowens was born on August 6, 1949, the fourth of 10 children born to the former Bernice Loretta Wheatley and Daniel Lee Bowens. She spent most of her childhood in Philadelphia, the place of her birth; but was acculturated in the ways of the south and the Caribbean through the heritage of her parents.

She graduated from Dobbins Vocational-Technical School in 1967, having majored in Business Education. For the next few years, she worked as a legal and medical secretary. In 1969, she married Alfred Edmonds and from this union, Tonya was born. The couple divorced in 1973. 

A bit of a late bloomer, Marjorie began her college career at Temple University at the age of 25, double majoring in Radio, Television & Film and Pan-African Studies. She continued graduate studies at the American University where she earned a Master of Arts degree in International Development and Visual Media.

Marjorie's career in public television began with a production internship with a weekly program, "Black Perspective on the News," and continued with a nightly news and issue analysis program, "Evening Exchange." In addition to being nominated for an Emmy Award for a program she produced with writer Maya Angelou, Marjorie received the World Hunger Media Award for her hour-long documentary, "After the Rains," which explored drought and environmental decay across the Sahara desert.

After seven years in the media, and after joining All Souls Church in Washington, D.C., Marjorie felt a calling to work full time in a way that expressed her religious values. She moved to Boston to work as Director of Public Affairs for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. A year later she accepted a position as program officer for the Veatch Program at what is now the Unitarian Universalist Society in Shelter Rock in Manhasset, Long Island. During her three-year tenure there, she was responsible for recommending approximately one million dollars per year to fund organizations working for progressive social change.

Her work at the Service Committee and at the Veatch Program, accompanied by independent study on the theology and ministry of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Howard Thurman, ultimately led Marjorie to understand her own calling to ministry. In the fall of 1991, she entered Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington DC and in 1994, she was awarded a Master of Divinity degree (cum laude), and was ordained in Washington, DC, in December 1994 at her home congregation, All Souls Church Unitarian. 

Marjorie became Affiliate, then Associate, Minister at the Community Church of New York City in 1994 and also served as District Extension Minister for the Metro New York District and Field Consultant for the UUA Department of Faith in Action. These assignments continued until she accepted a position as Co-Interim Minister of the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Austin Texas in 1999, which she served along with her husband, the Reverend Clyde Grubbs. 

In 2000, Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley joined the UUA staff as Adult Programs Director in the Religious Education department. In 2003, she accepted the call to the UU Church of Tampa, Florida, which she served through 2006. She had accepted a call to serve as Associate Minister of First Unitarian Church of San Diego, California, but withdrew because of illness.

Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley's imprint on Unitarian Universalism is significant and has helped shape contemporary Unitarian Universalist Association programs and practices in major ways. Please see the fuller and more detailed story of Marjorie's life and contributions on the forthcoming story to be posted on the UUA website. 

Following a short struggle with gallbladder cancer, Marjorie died quietly at her sister's home in Vineland, NJ, on Dec. 10, 2006, with her daughter, husband and close friends by her side. She is survived by her daughter, Tonya/Talibah Edmonds; her husband, the Rev. Clyde Grubbs; her mother, Bernice; nine siblings, a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and colleagues. 

A service to celebrate the life and spirit of Marjorie will be held at The Community Church of New York in January. More information will be shared soon. 

Messages of remembrance may be sent to:

The Reverend Clyde Grubbs
c/o Throop Memorial Church
300 Los Robles Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91101-2821

Ms. Tonya "Talibah" Edmonds
c/o Sarah Lawrence College
1 Mead Way
Bronxville, New York 10708

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In Memory . . . William Richard Jacobsen (1932-2006)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
William Richard Jacobsen died at home on November 2, 2006 at the age of 74. He was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada to immigrants Jacob Jacobsen (Denmark) and Alfhild Larson Jacobsen (Norway) on January 28, 1932. 

Bill took an early interest in the church and as a teenager began studying to become a Lutheran Minister in the Missouri Synod. He graduated from Concordia College in 1953 (BS). By then he had found the Unitarian tradition to be more in line with his evolving beliefs and attended Meadville/Lombard at the University of Chicago, 1959 (BD). He was ordained in 1959. He served as Unitarian Minister in Brooklyn, NY, Pittsburgh, PA, Canton, MA, and Bloomington, IL before moving to Palo Alto, CA, in 1974. He served the Palo Alto Unitarian Universalist Church for 16 years. After his retirement in 1990, he went on to serve as Executive Director of the Humanist Community in Palo Alto.

Bill had a keen sense of humor and a true joy for life. He had an ongoing enthusiasm for knowledge. He was an avid reader and enjoyed sharing his extensive knowledge of the many subjects he studied for his sermons over the years. He was a truly gifted speaker. An enthusiastic participant in life, Bill believed in social change as a way to benefit all of humanity. Bill loved nature and hiked all over the Bay Area. He was particularly fond of Mount Montara in Pacifica.

He is survived by his daughter, Juli Jacobsen (Joe Corollo) of San Lorenzo; his son, Eric Jacobsen of Pacifica; and former wife and dear friend, Dianne Jacobsen, of Palo Alto. He also has family in Canada.

A memorial service will be held at 7:30 pm, Sunday, November 19, 2006, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 505 East Charleston Road, Palo Alto. There will be a reception at the church following the service. Contributions may be made in memory of William R. Jacobsen to the American Cancer Society or a charity of your choice.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Carl Larsen Esenwein (1934-2006)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It’s with a sense of loss that we inform you that The Reverend Carl Larsen Esenwein died Nov. 4, 2006 at his home in Normal, after a long battle with cancer. A celebration of life service will be held at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Campus Religious Center, 210 W. Mulberry St., Normal, Illinois. 

Mr. Esenwein is survived by his mother, Eleanor, of Bloomington IL; his wife, Willemina, Normal; and four children, Marc, Louisville, Colorado; Steve, Dacono, Colorado; Lori (Vaughn) Hoffman, Bloomington, IL; and Willem (Anna) Knibbe, Alameda, California. Also surviving are three grandchildren, Nick and Neil Hoffman and Elleke Knibbe. 

Mr. Esenwein was born June 7, 1934, in Flagstaff, Arizona. In his youth he spent in the Southwest, he enjoyed the outdoors, horses, and magic. He graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in political science. He later decided to enter the Unitarian ministry and graduated from Meadville Lombard Theological Seminary in 1966 and was ordained in 1967. He served Unitarian congregations in Benton Harbor, Michigan and Norfolk, VA from 1966-1974; and served the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bloomington, IL from 1974-1982. He then started his own company which he ran until 2001. 

Known for his vocal opposition to the Vietnam War, Mr. Esenwein was instrumental in helping numerous conscientious objectors find sanctuary in Canada. He was also active in the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and organizations for prison reform. 

During his retirement, he worked tirelessly to restore his historic home to its original condition and rekindled his love of magic. He was known as "Mr. E," a magician whose sleight of hand and illusions delighted old and young. He loved classical music and had a special place in his heart for Beethoven's Ninth. 

The words "thoughtful, loving, caring, compassionate, engaged, generous, handy, funny, responsible and kind" describe Carl Esenwein. His positive and optimistic attitude was an inspiration to those who knew him and all were impressed by the courage and dignity with which he faced the end of his life. 

Memorials may be made to the New Covenant Community, 210 West Mulberry, Normal, IL 61761 or to the Community Cancer Center, 407 East Vernon Avenue, Normal, IL 61761. 

Messages of remembrance may be sent to his wife at 301 West Virginia Avenue, Normal, Illinois, 61761.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Clarke Dewey Wells (1930-2006)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
The Unitarian Universalist Association is sad to report the death of the Rev. Clarke Dewey Wells. Wells, 76, died at home on November 8, 2006.

Clarke Wells was a graduate of the University of Chicago and Meadville Lombard Theological School, and was ordained in 1956 and served actively in ministry over fifty years in Oklahoma City; Cincinnati, OH; Portland, OR and Newton, MA. As interim minister he served churches in Bloomington and Muncie IN, Houston, TX, Santa Barbara, Santa Paula and San Luis Obispo, CA; Youngstown, OH, Pittsburgh, PA, and Asheville, NC. He also served in Lakeland, FL where he was named Minister Emeritus. Author of four books of poetry and well-known essays, Dr. Wells' reputation as a dynamic preacher and an excellent teacher led to many requests for these services following his retirement in 1995. 

Wells served on the Board of Trustees for Meadville Lombard and as adjunct faculty and chaplain. He was a Special Lecturer at Starr King School (Berkeley). In 1977 he was chosen to give the sermon at the Service of the Living Tradition at the General Assembly of the UUA. He also served as a member of the first UUA Commission on Appraisal, the Commission on the Free Church and the Commission on Common Worship. He served as Vice President of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (following merger of Unitarians and Universalists in 1961).

Dr. Wells taught classes in poetry, creative writing and the works of William Shakespeare. An avid athlete, he played football in high school and undergraduate school; he was an enthusiastic snorkeler, handball, and tennis player. 

During the Civil Rights years Clarke Wells was an activist; he was among ministers who went to Selma to march with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1965. Dr. Wells was with his colleague, James Reeb, and his wife, Marie, at a hospital in Birmingham, AL when Rev. Reeb (also a Unitarian minister) died after being attacked while participating in the struggle for Civil Rights.

Dr. Wells is survived by his sons, Jared St. John Wells of Tucson, AZ and Garde MacKenzie Wells of Eugene, OR as well as his wife and companion, Barbara Carlson of Bloomington, IN.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 18, 2006, 3 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington, IN, the Rev. Barbara Carlson officiating.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Brigitte Elisabeth Brunhart (1955-2006)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
We in the Ministry & Professional Leadership Group sadly announce the death of the Reverend Brigitte Elisabeth Brunhart. She died on September 28, 2006 at the age of 51. 

Rev. Brunhart was born on November 11, 1955, in Bedburg, Germany. She received a Bachelor's Degree in English and German Literature from the University of Utah in 1979 and went on to earn a Masters of Divinity degree from the Starr King School for Ministry in 1989. In 1988 she married and she and her husband moved to Cleveland, Ohio. Rev. Brunhart entered Preliminary Fellowship on February 29, 1992 and was ordained in June of that year. She served as part-time parish and religious education minister from fall, 1991 through spring, 1994 at the Olmsted UU Fellowship in Olmsted, Ohio, and during the winter of 1993 she trained Para Ministers at the Westshore UU Church of Cleveland. In the summer of 1994 she introduced members of the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland to Sufism, and the aspects of Goddess worship. In February of 1995 Rev. Burnhart trained and supported Lay Ministers at First Church along with Senior Minister Reverend Bruce Marshall. 

Brigitte worked mainly in community ministry, serving as a hospital and hospice chaplain. From 1991 to 1995 she was a volunteer chaplain at the Hospice for the Western Reserve. In the fall of 1993 she held a temporary position of On-Call Chaplain at the Metro Health Medical Center in Cleveland, and in 1995 Brigitte served as staff chaplain at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and also as an On-Call Chaplain at the St. Vincent Charity Hospital.

Her partner wrote this about Brigitte "Although she struggled all her adult life against debilitating illness, she pursued a career in ministry with great determination. Throughout her life, she had a powerful effect on others. She made many friends from around the world and, through her steadfastness and generosity, kept a close friendship until the end of her life."

She will be mourned by her husband John McBratney and her children Indra and Kumar Brunhart-McBratney. 

Messages of Remembrance may be sent to:

John McBratney
11516 Parkway Road
Chardon, OH 44024

A memorial service will be held at the East Shore Unitarian Universalist Church, 10848 Chillicothe Road, Kirtland, Ohio, on Saturday, October 7, 2006, at 2:00 p.m. There will also be a second memorial at Saint Francis Chapel, John Carroll University, 20700 North Park Boulevard, University Heights, Ohio, on Sunday, October 8, 2006 at 2:00 pm.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Walter Andrew Moulton (1936-2006)

Posted By Janette M. Lallier, Thursday, May 13, 2010
Updated: Thursday, May 13, 2010
The Office of Ministry and Professional Leadership regrets to inform you that the Reverend Walter Andrew Moulton died on November 5, 2006 at his home in Kennebunk, Maine, at age 70 years. His loving wife Paula was at his side. 

Rev. Moulton was born on March 19, 1936 in Kennebunk, Maine. He earned an AB in Government at Tufts University in 1958, and a Counselor Education from the University of Southern Maine in 1979. After marrying Paula Thayer in 1959, he served in the Navy, and then taught civics and history at Kennebunk High School for 22 years. Retiring from teaching, he attended Andover Newton Theological Seminary where he completed his M.Div in 1989 and was ordained at The First Parish Unitarian Univeralist Church in Kennebunk, Maine in March, 1987. From 1987-93 he served as Minister at the Spindletop Unitarian Church in Beaumont Texas. He then served the Unitarian Fellowship of Fredericton, New Brunswick and the First Church of Houlton, Maine as Interim Extension Minister for a year.

He was Interim Minister at the First Parish of Groton Mass. from 1994 to 1996 and served as Interim Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration in Philadelphia, PA. from 1996 to 1997. In 1997 he became Interim Minister at the East Shore Unitarian Universalist Church of Kirkland, Ohio, and in 1998 was called to All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Watertown, NY. He retired from the ministry in 2003, after which he and Paula returned home to Kennebunk. 

Rev. Moulton focused on assisting congregations to develop their churches as communities in which those who dedicate their lives to nurturing others may come to be nurtured themselves. He was alert to both the needs and contributions of the frail and elderly. He was active in peace activities and a supporter of the National Organization for Women (NOW). In 1992 while Rev. Moulton was Minister at the Spindletop Unitarian Church in Beaumont, Texas, his congregation established their AIDS Care Team. Rev. Moulton was a board member for the Triangle AIDS network, the AIDS Consortium of Southeast Texas and the Triangle Interfaith Network. 

Rev. Moulton read and wrote poetry for his own enjoyment, published several poems in the Coast Singer of the York County Coast Star in Kennebunk, and collected old-time gospel tapes. He was active in the outdoors, gardened and enjoyed visiting his grandchildren. 

Walter Moulton is survived by his brothers and their wives, John and Fran Grace of Kennebunk and Jim and Louise Moulton of Wells; his wife Paula of Kennebunk; his daughter Valerie Berg and her husband Tom of Vienna, Virginia, and granddaughters Elizabeth Ann Berg, Kristina Marie Berg, and Teresa Lynn Berg; his daughter Barbara Moulton and her husband Jim Hannawalt of San Francisco, CA., and grandson Jesse Forrest Hannawalt and granddaughter Madelyn Grace Moulton; and many beloved nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. 

Rev. Moulton's memorial service was held November 11, 2006 in Kennebunk.

Messages of Remembrance may be sent to:

Paula Thayer-Moulton
3 Hidden Lane
Kennebunk ME 04043

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About this Blog & FAQ

Posted By Janette M. Lallier, Thursday, May 13, 2010
This blog was created in December 2006 by Rev. Thom Belote, who holds the Publications / On-line Communications portfolio on the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association Executive Committee. Members of the Executive Committee and the Department of Ministry have wanted for there to be an on-line presence memorializing colleagues who served the UU ministry. This is an attempt to make that desire a reality.

How far back will this project go?
We are going to begin by posting notices from the UUA Department of Ministry & Professional Leadership about deceased colleagues from the Fall 2006. We might add notices from earlier as the project continues.

Can I help?
Yes, you can leave a comment about your memory of the colleague who passed away. You can also submit a picture, additional information, or a copy of the eulogy by emailing If you are interested in being a content or style contributor to this page, please also contact us.

I see a factual error or want to make a suggestion.
We apologize for the error. Please send us your corrections. This blog is managed by volunteers. We will make every attempt to correct the blog in a reasonable amount of time.

Thank You.

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