The Rev. Dr. John Burton Wolf, 92, a Unitarian Universalist minister, father, and grandfather died on September 19, 2017 at Clarehouse, in Tulsa, OK.
Dr. Wolf, author of the book, "The Gift of Doubt" was the senior minister of All Souls Church in Tulsa for 35 years, before becoming the Minister Emeritus in 1995. Through his leadership, All Souls grew to become one of the largest Unitarian Universalist churches in the country and helped to establish two other Unitarian Universalist churches in Tulsa. Hope Unitarian Church was founded in 1969 and Church of the Restoration was formed intentionally as a multiracial congregation in the Greenwood District in 1988.
During Dr. Wolf's tenure at All Souls, he preached about civil rights, reforming the funeral home industry, the importance of public education, and the arts. His sermons were frequently covered by the media. In 1973, after Dr. Charles Mason, the Tulsa Public Schools superintendent at the time, boasted to the press that he did not "...know what the word integration means," Dr. Wolf's sermon "The Last Days of Dr. Mason" was printed on the front page of the Tulsa World. Dr. Wolf invited his congregation to join him at the school board meeting later that week. Dr. Mason resigned at the meeting and Tulsa Public Schools were integrated the following September. Another sermon that landed on the front page of the Tulsa World was titled "Tulsa is a Hick Town," in which Dr. Wolf advocated for the creation of a Performing Arts Center in downtown Tulsa. The Tulsa Performing Arts Center celebrated its 40th year anniversary this year.
An impassioned speaker, Dr. Wolf condemned racial prejudice and championed the rights of racial minorities, women, gays and lesbians, including women's reproductive rights.
In 1965, he hosted Tulsa's first interfaith and interracial worship service as a local response to the civil rights marches in Selma, AL. Following the service, he and other prominent representatives of Tulsa's clergy led a civil-rights march through downtown Tulsa.
During Tulsa's centennial year, Dr. Wolf was selected by Tulsa People Magazine as one of "The Hundred Tulsans Who Made a Difference." Dr. Wolf was inducted into the Tulsa Hall of Fame in 2015 and has received numerous distinguished awards from the interfaith community of Tulsa.
In the 1980's with the establishment of cable television, Dr. Wolf became a pioneer of television ministry among Unitarian Universalists. His "Faith for the Free" program began on local access stations and were eventually broadcast across the country.
Dr. Wolf was born in Bloomington, Illinois on Sept 6, 1925 to Walter and Helen (Young) Wolf. He graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1949 with a Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and earned his Bachelor of Divinity Degree from the Federated Theological Faculty of the University of Chicago in 1952. Dr. Wolf was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 1976.
He served churches in Racine, WI and Meadville, PA before coming to Tulsa in 1960. Dr. Wolf served on many denominational boards and commissions including terms as Vice President of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association and Trustee of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Dr. Wolf was a Navy veteran of World War II, serving as a signalman in the Armed Guard and in the Pacific. He was commissioned into the Navy Chaplaincy Reserves during the Korean War.
After retiring from the ministry in 1995 he remained in Tulsa with his wife Barbara N. Wolf. He remained active locally and nationally in causes for education and interfaith understanding.
Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Barbara N. Hudgins Wolf; their son John David Wolf (wife Anita Jacobson Wolf) of Claremore; their daughter Catherine Elizabeth Wolf of Tulsa; grandson Aaron Michael Wolf-Johnson (wife Kayla Wolf-Johnson); and great-granddaughter Willow Rose Wolf-Johnson of Tulsa.
The Rev. Dr. Ruppert L. Lovely died on May 3, 2012. He was 78 years old.
The Rev. Dr. Lovely was born in East Greenwich, RI on May 9, 1933 to the Rev. Napoleon W. and Doris Mae (Johnson) Lovely. Rev. Lovely attained his Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University in 1963 and his Bachelor of Divinity as well as his Doctor of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 1966 and 1998, respectively.
Rev. Lovely was ordained by the Countryside Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Palantine, IL on October 7, 1966. There, he held the office of parish minister for 35 years, not counting the 18 months he served as a student minister prior to accepting the full-time call to the pulpit. After his retirement from Countryside, he accepted an interim position with the First Unitarian Church of St. Louis, MO from 2001-2003.
Working together with Countryside UU church members to raise funds and devise a plan that resulted in the construction in of the beautiful Countryside Church in Palatine, was one of the highlights of Rev. Lovely's working years. It was a milestone in his life and in the life of the church.
Throughout his life, Rev. Lovely was a faithful Boston Red Socks fan. No daily activity ever took precedence over watching Red Socks games during baseball season. He was also an avid reader, John Irving novels being among his favorite books. He loved music, especially classical and jazz. He was even known to leave the stereo or radio on all day so that when he returned, he would be greeted by music.
A long-time member of Prairie Group, Rev. Lovely was known, loved, and respected by many. Described as "candid, big-hearted, humorously realistic, brimming with energy and enthusiasm for the ministry," Rev. Lovely's "gracious and generous spirit," as well as his "solid sense of tradition and firm voice" endeared him to many who came to call him a friend.
Rev. Lovely is survived by his wife, Patricia Mumm-Lovely; his daughter, Jessica Lovely and husband, Jason DeSwarte; daughter, Karen Lovely and husband, Michael Leach; Sister Alicia Lovely; and grandchildren, Eli Lovely; Elijah Lovely; Grace Umek; and Jordan DeSwarte. He was predeceased by son, Kirk Lovely; and brother, the Rev. Dr. Brandoch Lovely.
A memorial service for the Rev. Dr. Lovely was held at the Countryside Unitarian Universalist Church, 1025 N. Smith St., Palatine, IL 60067 on Saturday, June 16, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. Notes of condolence may be sent to Mrs. Patricia Mumm-Lovely, 933 W. Heritage Ct., Apt. 101, Mequon, WI 53092
The Rev. Dr. John F. "Jack” Hayward died on September 24, 2012. He was 94 years old.
Rev. Hayward was born in Winthrop, MA on May 8, 1918 to Catherine and Frank Hayward. He graduated with an A.B. from Harvard University in 1940. He went on to attain a B.D. from Meadville Theological School in 1943 and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 1949. Finally, in 1968, he earned a D.D. from Meadville Lombard Theological School.
Rev. Hayward was ordained on June 10, 1943. He served as a military chaplain in the United States Naval Reserve and later, in the Marines, from 1943-1946. He was called to serve as minister of the First Unitarian Church in Columbus, OH from 1948-1951. He then began his career in higher education at the University of Chicago, serving as an Assistant Professor of Religion and Art from 1951-1956 and as an Assistant Professor of Philosophical Theology from 1956-1961. He went on to work as an Associate Professor of Theology at Meadville Lombard Theological School from 1961-1968. In the years spanning 1968-1983, he served as the Chair of the Department of Religious Study at Southern Illinois University. He retired in 1983.A passionate writer on the power of the ongoing relationship between art, mythology and religious life, Rev. Hayward’s words were published in Through the Rose Window: Art, Myth and the Religious Imagination (Skinner House, 1980), a collection of sermons that span over 30 years. Earlier in his career, he also wrote Existentialism and Religious Liberalism (Beacon Press, 1962).
Rev. Hayward was a proud, founding member of Prairie Group. He served as the Scribe for over 20 years, and received Emeritus status from them upon his retirement from the group after 54 years.
Rev. Hayward’s chief delight while at Harvard University was being in the Harvard Glee Club. He sang in public concerts, including a few with the Boston Symphony. A life-long devotion to the arts – specifically classical music – led Rev. Hayward and his first wife, Muriel Sternglanz Hayward, to establish the Southern Illinois Chamber Music Society, which still performs at the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship today.
Regarding a performance of Hamlet that he attended when he was much younger, Rev. Hayward once wrote,
I can still see in my mind’s eye an almost totally dark stage where an invisible Hamlet was speaking with the equally invisible ghost of his royal father. All of heaven, hell, life, and death had to be visualized by the movement of Hamlet’s two small hands. Nevertheless, the eloquence was there to prove it possible that each of us, before we die, may hope to believe that life is beautiful, terrifying, and self-justifying, and that gratitude for life itself is our best way of saying farewell.
Rev. Hayward is survived by his loving wife, Lois Hayward; daughter, Miriam Hayward and her husband, Rick Herbert; son, David Goodward and his wife, Margaret; grandchildren, Megan Hayward, Zachary Hayward, Joseph Herbert, Gina Hayward, Gavin Goodward, and Jenna Goodward; and great-grandson, Jaden. He was predeceased by his sons, Peter Hayward and Steven Hayward; and his beloved first wife, Muriel Sternglanz Hayward. Notes of condolence may be sent to Lois Hayward at 1020 Villa Ct., Carbondale, IL 62901
Jack was a long-time memer of Prairie Group.
Prairie Group members will enjoy the pictures of Jack’s and Muriel’s home, also the Carbondale Church and the eulogy to Jack written by Ron Dirsmith, architect of North Shore Unitarian Church, the Hayward’s home and the new Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship. Jack spoke at the dedication of the sanctuary of North Shore Unitarian Church in 1969.