Recent Alumni/ae Deaths
Rev. Gerald Hartley Murphy(STH ’55, STH ’56), 87, of Meadville died Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, surrounded by his family at the Marquette Hospice House. He was born Feb. 10, 1927, in Newport, R.I., a son of Michael Martin and Alice Helen Raftery Murphy Sr. He married Mathilda Ruth Cunningham in the Baldwin-Wallace Chapel, Berea, Ohio, June 21, 1956, and she survives.
He grew up in Newport, graduating from its Rogers High School in 1945. He received his bachelor of science degree in business administration in 1949, his bachelor of sacred theology in 1955 and his master’s of sacred theology and social ethics in 1956, all from Boston University. He was ordained into the United Methodist Church in 1956 and served at the North Saugus Union Church, Saugus, Mass., from 1954 to 1956, the Third Street Methodist Church, Williamsport, from 1956 to 1963, Beaver Methodist Church from 1963 to 1966, Harmony-Zelienople United Methodist Church from 1966 to 1972, Fox Chapel United Methodist Church, Pittsburgh, from 1972 to 1985 and chaplain of Wesbury United Methodist Community from 1985 until his retirement in 1995.
He served on many committees of the Western Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church and pioneered a workshop for persons experiencing separation and divorce through the Center for Human Development in Pittsburgh, designed and conducted a workshop on ministering to older adults and a workshop on spiritual dimensions of aging while at Wesbury United Methodist Community. He was a Pastoral Care volunteer at Meadville Medical Center, a member of the Meadville Round Table, the Tuesday Morning Music Group and the Wesleyan Covenant Group of Stone United Methodist Church. In his youth he enjoyed spending summers at the family cottage on the shores of Narragansett Bay in Middletown, R.I., and more recently at the family home in the Chautauqua Institution. He built the family sailboat, JAMMR, in 1971. He also enjoyed the trip to Israel, Paris and Brussels that was a gift from the congregation of Fox Chapel United Methodist Church in 1986 and his 50th wedding anniversary trip to England, Wales and Ireland in 2006. He enjoyed jogging and more recently walking, music, reading, crocheting and singing in the Stone United Methodist Church choir. Survivors, in addition to his wife, Mathilda Ruth, of 58 years, include a daughter, Aimee M. Doershuk and her husband, David, of Streetsboro, Ohio; a son, Michael H. Murphy and his wife, Anne Marie, of Wilmette, Ill.; six grandchildren, Nicholas, Jennifer and Kyle Doershuk and Devin, Bryce and Teagan Murphy; and nieces, nephews and cousins. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a sister, Ellen M. Grauer; a brother, Michael M. Murphy Jr.; and a nephew, Robert M. Grauer.
Mrs. Stacy Renee Smith Autry (STH ’96) of Monroe, GA passed away on September 27, 2014. At the time of her passing, Autry was serving as the Director of Admissions for Westminster Christian Academy in Athens, GA.
Rev. Kenneth Bibbee (STH ’52) of Seabring, OH passed away on July 11, 2014. Prior to his time at BU, Rev. Bibbee went to Bible College and taught in a one-room schoolhouse. Rev. Bibbee was ordained in the UMC in 1952 and served in various capacities throughout Ohio until his retirement in 1989.
Rev. Dr. Thomas R. Merrill (STH ’62, STH ’89) passed away on July 8, 2014. He received his STB and Doctor of Divinity from BUSTH. He was an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and spent 55 years in active ministry in New England, spending most of that time in Maine. He was living in South Portland, ME at the time of his death.
Rev. Raymond Moore (STH’54) passed away on July 6, 2014 in Indianola, IN. Before attending college and earning a STB from BUSTH, Rev. Moore served in Okinawa. Upon graduation, he served nearly a dozen different congregations throughout the Iowa Conference. Even when he retired from the pastorate, Rev. Moore remained a part-time chaplain at his local VA Hospital.
Rev. Dr. John C. Haney (STH ’50, STH ’59) passed away on June 4, 2014 in Jacksonville, FL. After graduating from BUSTH–where he earned both a STB and a ThD–he served over 30 years as a Naval Chaplain. He served on bases from North Carolina to Cuba to Japan, in addition to on board numerous ships, and retired in 1988 with the rank of Captain. While memorialized in a traditional church setting, Rev. Dr. Haney will be buried at sea with full naval honors.
Dr. William E. Smith passed away on Thursday, May 8, 2014. He received a M.Div. in 1948 and a Th.D. in 1954. He was living in Southern Pines, NC at the time of his death.
Rev. Dr. Gerald “Jerry” Weiss (STH ’58, STH ’62) passed away on April 6, 2014. He received both his STB and ThD from BUSTH. After completing a thesis titled “The Canonical History of the Book of Revelations,” he served a parish in Cheverly, MD, participated in the 1963 March on Washington, and went on to do mission work in Uruguay and The Hague. In 1973, he returned to Maryland where he served in multiple Methodist churches, finally retiring in Catonsville, MD.
Harry Oliver taught at Boston University School of Theology for 32 years. He passed away on September 22, 2011 at the age of 80. In honor of the third anniversary of his death, one of his former students, Dr. Richard Hughes (STH ’66, GRS ’70), has written reflections about Harry’s life and legacy. You can read the entire article here. Additionally, here is an excerpt:
On the third anniversary of his death in 2011 I offer some reflections on the life and work of Harold Oliver at the School of Theology. As his first doctoral student, I shared many discussions and maintained a personal relationship with him throughout his teaching years and into his retirement. He had great analytic and technical abilities, intellectual brilliance, and a warm accepting personality. I fondly addressed him as Harry.
From 1957 until 1965 he taught New Testament at The Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina. Having grown up in Southern Baptist fundamentalist culture in Alabama, he expressed his analytic ability in New Testament studies, aided by the existentialist hermeneutic of Rudolf Bultmann. His Bultmann phase, which lasted 15 years, enabled him to transcend biblical literalism. In 1965 Harry was dismissed from Southeastern, and the charge was his teaching Bultmann. His dismissal was widely discussed in theological circles across the country.