Class Notes – March 2016
Gene R. Stuckey, Sr, DMin (MDiv 1973), Retired 2009
In February I went around Cape Horn and then went over to Antarctica. I’m really enjoying retirement and seeing a lot of God’s wondrous creation. Here’s a picture of me with Antarctica in the background:
Jennifer Davidson, PhD (MDiv 2003), Associate Professor of Theology & Worship, American Baptist Seminary of the West, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California
Jennifer Davidson has been promoted to Core Doctoral Faculty at the Graduate Theological Union where she has served as consortial faculty since 2007. Her husband Doug was graduated with his MDiv from American Baptist Seminary of the West in May 2015. He serves as the Director of Communications at the GTU. Their son Elliot, who was 2 years old when Jennifer began at LTSP graduated high school in November 2015. He is currently a freshman at Diablo Valley College studying psychology and education.
The Rev. Julius Carroll (MDiv 1981, DMin 2007), Retired/Interim Pastor
After serving an interim at Bethlehem Lutheran in New Orleans with the privilege of walking with congregants and community during the (agonizing) tenth anniversary of hurricane “Katrina,” I am now serving an interim at Prince of Peace Lutheran, Greensboro, North Carolina.
The Trouble I’ve Seen – Drew G.I. Hart
PhD candidate Drew G.I. Hart’s book Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism was published in January by Herald Press. From the publisher:
What if racial reconciliation doesn’t look like what you expected? What if all Christians listened to the stories of those on the racialized margins? How might the church be changed by the trouble we’ve seen?
The high-profile killings of young black men and women by white police officers, and the protests and violence that ensued, have convinced many white Christians to reexamine their intuitions when it comes to race and justice.
In this provocative book, theologian and blogger Drew G. I. Hart places police brutality, mass incarceration, anti-black stereotypes, poverty, and everyday acts of racism within the larger framework of white supremacy. Leading readers toward Jesus, Hart offers concrete practices for churches that seek solidarity with the oppressed and are committed to racial justice.
His blog, “Taking Jesus Seriously,” is hosted by The Christian Century, and he speaks regularly at churches, universities, and seminaries. He and his family live in Philadelphia.
The Rev. Harry R. Billow, BD 1949
The Rev. Harry R. Billow, 89, of McAlisterville died Tuesday, September 1, 2015 at the Bridges at Brookline, Harrisburg. Born on January 31, 1926 in Turbotville, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, he was a son of the late Rev. Harry J. and Sue E. (Weaver) Billow. His first wife, Dorothy Jean (Fogleman) Billow, whom he married on February 19, 1949, preceded him in death on March 5, 1989. His second wife, Esther (Colyer) Billow, whom he married on June 29, 1991, survives.
He was a member and former pastor of the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, McAlisterville, Pennsylvania, and a graduate of Muhlenberg College and Mt. Airy Lutheran Seminary. He had served as the chairman of the Senior Citizens Center, Dillsburg, and he as a board member and director of Camp Juniata of the Lewistown district.
During his long career as a Lutheran pastor, he served the following Lutheran Parishes: Salem, Kishacoquillas, Liberty Valley, Dillsburg, and Blain, all Pennsylvania.
Pr. Billow is the last of his generation having been preceded in death by his twin brother the Rev. Paul Billow and two sisters, Ruth Spooner and Grace Reinhold.
I addition to his wife Esther, he is survived by his children, David Billow of Fourtine, Montana, Harry James Billow and his wife Susie, of Columbia Falls, Montana, Lori Banzhoff and her husband Robert, of Mechanicsburg; step daughter Dixie Buckley and her husband Herb, of West Virginia; 16 grandchildren; 30 great-grandchildren; and 17 great-great-grandchildren.
A funeral service was celebrated September 5, 2015 at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, McAlisterville with the Rev. Erin Bovendam officiating. Interment will follow in the Hillside Cemetery, McAlisterville. Memorial donations in Pr. Billow’s memory may be made to the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 15, McAlisterville, PA 17049.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Brown Funeral Homes, Inc., 111 Westfall St., McAlisterville.
For more a full obituary, online tributes, and condolences, please visit www.brownfuneralhomesinc.com.
The Rev. Dr. John M. Brndjar, BD 1962
(A shorter notice version of the Passage in a previous PS Portions) The Reverend Dr. John Michael Brndjar of Allentown, Pastor Emeritus of Saint Mark Lutheran Church in Allentown and President Emeritus of Lutheran Social Services of South Central PA, died Jan 23, 2016 at his home in Allentown. He was born in Danbury, Connecticut on Feb. 23, 1938, the son of the late Reverend Andrew M. and Irene (Belohlavek) Brndjar. He and his spouse, Elizabeth Susan (Vlacich) of New York City, were married on August 15, 1959 in St. Paul Lutheran Church in Danbury, where his father served as pastor for three and one-half decades.
Pastor Brndjar graduated from Immanuel Lutheran Parochial School in Danbury, and completed secondary studies as an honors graduate of Danbury Senior High School. He matriculated at New York City’s Wagner College, where he majored in history, and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude. He received a Master of Divinity degree from The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and a Master of Science degree in organizational dynamics, leadership, and management from the University of Scranton. Dr. Brndjar also pursued graduate studies in historical theology at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1979, Muhlenberg College honored him with the degree Doctor of Divinity. Dr. Brndjar served as lecturer in American Church History and Slovak Homiletics at the Philadelphia Seminary, as well as a member of that institution’s board of directors.
During his decade-long call to the pastorate of Saints Peter and Paul Lutheran Church of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, he also served as vice-pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Lutheran Church of Freeland, Pennsylvania, as dean of the Eastern District of the Slovak Zion Synod, and on numerous local, regional, national, and international expressions of the Lutheran Church. Between 1971 and 1991, Dr. Brndjar served as president and chief executive officer of the Lutheran Welfare Service of Northeastern PA, a Hazleton-based, ten-county human service agency of the Northeastern PA Lutheran Synod. It was during Pastor Brndjar’s 20-year tenure at Lutheran Welfare Service that, together with the agency’s board of directors, he undertook the challenge of founding Hospice Saint John, the first Lutheran-sponsored United States hospice for persons suffering terminal illnesses. In 1991, he accepted the call of the Northeastern PA Lutheran Synod to serve as an associate of Bishop Harold Weiss, with primary responsibility for the synod’s 70 parishes in Berks and Schuylkill Counties, and for the synod’s stewardship and social ministry emphases.
Responding to the 1993 request of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s national staff, Dr. Brndjar consulted with the directors of the York-based Lutheran Social Services of South Central Pennsylvania, and accepted their call to become that agency’s president and chief executive officer. He served in that capacity until his retirement in July, 2000, when he and Elizabeth relocated to Allentown. Over the first thirteen years of his retirement, Pastor Brndjar served as interim president of Lutheran Congregational Services of the Lehigh Valley, interim pastor of Christ Lutheran Church of Lower Saucon, priest-in-charge of Saint Barnabas’ Episcopal Church of Kutztown , and interim pastor of Saint Mark Lutheran Church of Allentown. More recently, he served numerous Lutheran and Episcopal parishes providing weekend worship leadership.
He is survived by Elizabeth, a retired art educator, school administrator, and university lecturer, as well as by their son, Dr. Jon Erik Brndjar, a doctor of internal medicine on the staff of Lehigh Valley Hospital, their daughter-in-law, Dana, their granddaughter Alexa, and their grandsons Daniel, Hunter, and Anderson; Dr. Brndjar is survived by his siblings and their respective spouses, children, and grandchildren: Judith Brndjar, of Macungie, Irene Corkum and her spouse Roger, of Wrentham, Massachusetts, The Rev. Dr. Paul Brndjar and his spouse, Pamela, also of Macungie, and Darina Hoffman and her spouse, Michael, of Camp Hill. Services:
A celebration of the Holy Eucharist in thanksgiving for the life and ministry of Pastor John Brndjar will take place in Saturday, April 16, 2016 at 1PM at St. Mark Lutheran Church, 201 E. Juniata Street, Allentown 18103. Leading the funeral liturgy and serving as Master of Ceremonies will be Saint Mark’s pastor, the Rev. Dr. Gary Langensiepen. Serving as Celebrant and Homilist will be the Bishop of the Lutheran Synod of Northeastern PA, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Zeiser. All clergy attending are invited to vest in alb and stole of the season, and to process with officiants and liturgical participants. There will be an opportunity to greet family and friends from noon-1:00 pm in the church nave. Following the worship, there will also be an opportunity for family and friends to gather in St. Mark’s Luther Hall for a meal and fellowship. Cremation and Interment will be private. Contributions:
Memorial gifts may be made to Saint Mark Lutheran Church, 201 East Juniata Street, Allentown, PA 18103 or to The Rev. Dr. John M. Brndjar Endowment Fund c/o SpiriTrust Lutheran Foundation (formerly Lutheran Social Services of Southeastern Pennsylvania), 1050 Pennsylvania Avenue, York, PA 17404.
Online memorial tributes may be made at www.heintzelmancares.com.
A complete obituary can be found on Legacy.com/Allentown Morning Call; photo Legacy.com
Marilyn “Butch” Walters
Marilyn “Butch” Walters entered life eternal on Sunday, January 31, 2016 at the age of 92. Her first marriage was to the Rev. Howard Guhl, who until his death in 1969 served as Assistant to the President (Bishop) of the Upper NY Synod. She later married Frederick “Bud” Walters, who also predeceased her.
Marilyn was an active and dedicated member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Fayetteville, New York, and a long-time participant in the Lutheran Summer Gathering at Silver Bay. The church was a frequent beneficiary of her gifts of weaving and calligraphy. She calligraphied all ordination certificates for the synod for years. She participated in the Good Shepherd Book Club and frequently attended Bible Studies at the church. She rang in the church bell choir and continued to sing in the vocal choir until shortly before her death.
She was a beloved kindergarten teacher at Fayetteville Elementary School and continued her dedication to children throughout her retirement years.
Marilyn was the mother of three children, Marilee Guhl, Heidi Tsadilas, and Timothy Guhl.
A memorial service as held at Good Shepherd on February 20. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 236, Fayetteville, NY 13066.
Upstate New York Synod; Obituary and condolences Eaton-Tubbs Fayetteville Chapel
The Rev. Ray H. Hartman, BD 1954
The Rev. Ray H. Hartman, retired, peacefully entered the Church Triumphant on Thursday, March 10, 2016, at home at Kendal at Hanover, Hanover, New Hampshire after a struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. A private memorial liturgy was held on Saturday, March 12, in Hanover with interment in Arendstville, Pennsylvania, early this summer.
Pastor Hartman was born in Bethlehem, PA, and was a graduate of Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, and The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP). He was ordained February 28, 1954, after accepting a call as pastor at Gloria Dei, Philadelphia, followed by Trinity, Philadelphia. In May 1958, Pastor Hartman accepted a call to serve as pastor at St. Mark, Conshohocken, serving the congregation and community while continuing his education earning advanced degrees from University of Pennsylvania, LTSP, and Bryn Mawr School of Social Work. In 1968, Pastor Hartman moved from parish ministry, and through his retirement in 1984, served in various capacities as Consultant, Executive Director, President and CEO, certified Social Worker, licensed Nursing Home Administrator, and certified Retirement Housing Professional, including a call as Executive Director of Lutheran Children and Family Services, Philadelphia, PA. In 1992, he transferred to the New Jersey Synod and accepted a call from the congregation of Holy Trinity, Rockaway, as their interim pastor through December 1994. He then served as interim pastor of St. Timothy, Wayne, before again retiring and moving to New Hampshire.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Kathryn, their sons Kirk (Ellen) and Gregg (Jinny), and grandchildren.
Messages of sympathy and condolences may be sent to Kathryn Hartman at: Kendal 433, 80 Lyme Rd., Hanover, NH 04755.
Read the full obituary on the Ricker Funeral Homes and Crematory website.
The Rev. Terrence T. Mullins, BD 1945
The Rev. Terrence T. Mullins of East Falls, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,f ormerly of Norfolk and Waynesboro, Virginia, died December 22, 2015
Husband of the late Beverly (nee Schultz), he was the beloved father of Joanna L. Mullins. The funeral was February 6, 2016 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Philadelphia. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be given to Trinity Lutheran Church, 5300 Germantown Ave., Phila., PA 19144.
Read the obituary on the McIlvane Funeral Homes website.
The Rev. Joseph W. Schwartz, BD 1955
The Rev. Joseph W. Schwartz, age 85, of Wilmington, Delaware, passed away peacefully on Sunday, January 10, 2016.
Pastor Schwartz was born on May 5, 1930 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, one of eight children, and attended high school and the Brown Preparatory school there. He earned a B.A. degree at Muhlenberg D from Philadelphia Lutheran Seminary. He was ordained on May 26, 1955 at the St. John’s Lutheran Church in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, and just over a week later he married the former, Joanna Kavelek, who had recently graduated from nursing school. They attended the Kennedy School of Missions at Hartford, Connecticut. Joe was commissioned as a missionary in 1956, and first arrived in Liberia, Africa with Joanna on August 25, 1956. During his first term of service, Joe studied the Kpelle language and was assigned village evangelistic work. During his second term of service, he taught at the Lutheran Training Institute in Salayea. In early 1963, after seven years in Liberia, Joe and Joanna returned permanently to the United States.
Joe became pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Wilmington on March 1, 1963. During his 19 years at Holy Trinity, Joe was deeply committed to inner-city work. He initiated a concerted effort to take ministry to the surrounding neighborhood, particularly through a Vacation Bible School Program and later a tutoring program. Also during his time, Joe was heavily involved in the work of the Delaware/Maryland Synod of the ELCA. He served as chairperson of the Synod’s Stewardship Committee. He was also on the Synod’s executive board, and in the late 1960’s led a special synod-wide campaign. The campaign, Love Compels Action, raised funds for work in the inner-cities.
In 1982, Joe left Holy Trinity and assumed the responsibility of Executive Director of Lutheran Senior Services. He was in charge of Luther Tower I and II, supervising staff and caring for residents for thirteen years. Joe also faithfully served as Manager and Chaplain of Gilpin Hall for 30 years beginning November 21, 1983.
Since 1982, Joe was actively engaged in the life of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Wilmington. In addition to frequently preaching and leading leading, his commitments included Senior Choir Member, Soloist, Barbershop Quartet Member, Adult Sunday School Teacher, Stewardship Committee Member and Chairman, leader for several special giving programs, key member of the initial bond committee, and served as interim Pastor from June 2006 to December 2007.
He retired in 1995 to enjoy his hobbies, woodworking, reading, and his many grandchildren. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Joanna Schwartz; his four children, Sue, Jan (William), Paula (Ray), and Peter (Marie); his 13 grandchildren; 2 step-grandchildren; 6 great grandchildren; and 2 step great-grandchildren.
A memorial service was January 15, 2016, at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 1530 Foulk Road, Wilmington, Delaware.
In lieu of flowers, Joe requested donations in his memory be made to Gilpin Hall, 1101 Gilpin Avenue, Wilmington, DE 19806.
Read the full obituary on the Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Homes website; photo Spicer-Mullikin
The Rev. Henry Sheppard, BD 1953
On Tuesday, February 9th, 2016, Henry Sterling George Sheppard passed away at his residence in Hughesville, Maryland.
Pr. Sheppard was born on March 14th, 1927 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and as a young man joined the US Army, serving in World War II from 1945-1946. He subsequently served in the US Air Force as a military command chaplain from 1955 until retiring in 1980 with the rank of Colonel. He was a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America for over 50 years. Pr. Sheppard was a graduate of Wagner College, Staten Island, New York and The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. He pastored a congregation in Lake Jackson, Texas for four years, was interim pastor of four other churches, and served at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania until retirement from active ministry in 1998. He had a long, distinguished career serving the Lord in the military and the Lutheran Church, and is survived by his loving wife Joyce, his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He touched numerous people’s lives, was loved by many, and will be greatly missed by all.
A Memorial Gathering was February 13th, 2016 at Grace Lutheran Church, 1200 Charles Street, La Plata, Maryland,
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Henry Sheppard to the USO, PO Box 96860, Washington, DC 20077-7677 or at their website www.uso.org, and to Hospice of Charles County, 2505 Davis Rd., Waldorf, MD 20603.
Visit the memorial page on the Brinsfield Funeral Home website; photo Brinsfield Funeral Home
The Rev. Jack Traugott, BD 1957
The Rev. Jack H. Traugott, 83, of South Salem, New York passed away on March 2, 2016 after a short illness. Pastor Jack was born on January 2, 1933 in Rochester, New York to the late Jack and Dorothy (Griffey) Traugott. He graduated from the University of Buffalo in 1954 and from The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in 1957. He was ordained on June 19, 1957 at Zion Lutheran Church in Niagara Falls. He became the pastor of St John’s Lutheran Church, Bronx, New York, where he stayed for 15 years. During that time he also became a Pastoral Counselor and began counseling at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Pleasantville, New York. He was Associate Pastor at Emmanuel and became Senior Pastor until he ‘retired’ in 1996. After a short time, he realized he wanted to continue to serve and became Pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Greenwood Lake, New York, serving until his death. Jack was a runner, pilot, sports enthusiast, traveler, and wine connoisseur. He touched the lives of many and will be greatly missed.
Pastor Jack is the beloved husband of Helen M. (Murphy) Traugott and father of Donna Colucci, Jennifer and Patrick Hickey, Dean and Siobhan Hansen, Helen and Steve Johnson, and Christa Hansen. He is grandfather of fourteen.
The funeral service was celebrated March 7, 2016 at Emanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Pleasantville, New York. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Jack H. Traugott Seminarian Fund or the Emmanuel Library Fund. Both can be sent to Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 197 Manville Rd, Pleasantville, NY 10570.
Read the full obituary on Legacy.com; photo Emmanuel Lutheran Church
The Rev. Edward H. Wiediger, BD 1946
The Rev. Edward H. Wiediger died December 15, 2015.