In memoriam: Rev. Daniel Livingston Aprá (1915-2010)
Reverend Dan Aprá, retired United Church of Christ minister, died at the age of 94 on June 11, 2010 at Piedmont Gardens in Oakland. Aprá graduated from seminary at Colgate-Rochester Divinity School in 1940, and received a master of sacred theology in contemporary worship from Pacific School of Religion (PSR) in 1968. Aprá and his first wife of 50 years, Ginny Sanchez (1916-1993) and his second wife, Joy Palmerlee Aprá were generous supporters of PSR, donating to the chair for Christianity and the Arts and sponsoring two annual scholarships for Latino and African-American students at the seminary. Aprá was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of PSR in 2006.
Rev. Aprá was born in Oakland to an Italian father and Mexican mother on September 23, 1915. His father Augusto Aprá was pastor of the Italian Congregational Church in San Francisco. After receiving his divinity degree, Dan Aprá served churches in Illinois, California, and Wisconsin. As a voice for social justice, he supported the grape strike led by Cesar Chavez, took a strong stand against the war in Vietnam, and was an early voice in the Open and Affirming movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender inclusion in the United Church of Christ. Aprá served in the Bay Area as a minister of visitation at First Congregational Church of Berkeley from 1980-1994, where he started an AIDS ministry and a weekly farmers’ market to benefit a local women’s shelter, and also led outreach to Latino populations in the East Bay. He was the first chaplain at Alta Bates Hospice in Berkeley and helped create the Greater Richmond Interfaith Project (GRIP).
Aprá noted in a 2006 PSR newsletter that his father donated 15 percent of the family’s income to the church, reasoning that the first 10 percent belonged to God, and the other 5 percent would be the family’s contribution. Dan Aprá continued in that family tradition through generous donations and endowments to Pacific School of Religion, Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, First Congregational Church of Berkeley, and other causes too numerous to name.
"Dan Apra was far and away the most generous person I have known," says PSR president Bill McKinney. "He has inspired my own philanthropic efforts and those of countless others. I give thanks to God for the joy his gifts have brought to others and for his generous and loving spirit."
A memorial service, followed by a reception, was held June 20, 2010 at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA. For more information, contact the church at 510/848-3696.
Memorials in memory of Rev. Aprá can be given to the Aprá-Palmerlee Scholarship Fund at Pacific School of Religion.
Updated October 26, 2010