Obituaries

We mourn the losses of these beloved members of our community in the past year. Whether  they are alumna, alumnus, staff, faculty, or trustee – each has left a mark on Pacific School of Religion as well as numerous family, friends, and colleagues.

If you know of other members of the extended PSR community who have passed away in the last year, please email Leslie Leasure, Director of Advancement and Alumni/ae Relations at lleasure@psr.edu.


Richard Knobel passed away on July 15, 2012 and was a United Church of Christ (UCC) minister. He is survived by two brothers, Charles and Philip, three nieces, two nephews and grand nieces and nephews. In 1960, Richard enlisted in the regular U.S. Army and learned Mandarin Chinese at the military’s foreign language school in Monterey, CA. He received a MBA from UC Berkeley in 1964 and a MPH from University of Hawaii’s School of Public Health in 1969. While living in Hawaii, Richard volunteered countless hours to non-profit organizations. He was a valued member of the PSR MDiv class of 2004 and was ordained a UCC minister in 2005 by Honolulu’s Central Union Church.

Arturo de Robles passed away in Miami, Florida on May 8, 2012 and his last days were spent ministering to hospice patients, particularly the Cuban-American community. He was born November 26, 1945 in Las Tunas, Cuba. He left Cuba at the age of 15 during the Cuban Communist Revolution as part of the Peter Pan program. This program was devised by the Catholic Church and the Central Intelligence Agency to bring children from Cuba whose parents were not able to leave the country to the US. He leaves an extended family still in Cuba. He was a valued member of the PSR MDiv class of 2009.

Maura Tucker passed away on May 1, 2012 and was an inspiration to all who knew her. She is survived by her spouse of 30 years, Patty, and their daughter, Brianna; a sister and three brothers; many nieces and nephews; and a long list of extended family including colleagues, neighbors and friends. She was a valued member of the PSR MDiv class of 1991 and served as the PSR Director of Contextual Education until the time of her passing. Read more about PSR’s mourning of Maura’s passing here.

Dane Olsen passed away on April 19, 2012 and was a member of the United Methodist Church. He is survived by his wife Ester and two sons, who are 26 and 22. He was a valued member of the PSR MDiv class of 2001. If you have more information about the life of Dane please email Leslie Leasure, Director of Advancement, at lleasure@psr.edu.

Anne Toy Chin passed away on January 5, 2012. She was an active member of the United Methodist Church and served on The General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits. She is survived by her husband, Jim; her son Curtis; her daughter Elise and son-in-law Lyndon Low; and her son Bennett and daughter-in-law Denise Yamamoto. Anne was a devoted grandmother to Brent, Garrett, and Marisa Low, and Krista Yamamoto-Chin. Anne is also survived by her sister Rose Toy; sister Lily and brother-in-law Ernest Sun; brother Bruce Toy and sister-in-law Deanna; as well as many cherished nieces and nephews. She was a valued member of the PSR PANA Institute (2005-2012) and former PSR Trustee.

Bonnie Ploeger passed away on September 16, 2011. She was a valued PSR Trustee (1987-1996). If you have more information about the life of Bonnie, please email Leslie Leasure, Director of Advancement, at lleasure@psr.edu.

E. Neill Richards passed away on July 15, 2011 and was a retired United Church of Christ Minister. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Jessie Marilyn, his three sons and their wives, six grandchildren, and an older brother. Many of his initiatives, along with his previous missionary work, continue to ensure that millions of people throughout the world receive food and care necessary to promote basic health care. He was a valued member of the PSR class of 1962.

Leontine Kelly passed away on June 28, 2012 and was a Retired United Methodist Bishop. She was the first African-American woman elected to the episcopacy by a major religious denomination. She was a teacher, pastoral leader, activist, and was considered a pioneer for her ministry of more than two decades. She was 92. She was also a valued PSR Trustee (1984-1988).

Steven Pratt passed away on June 9, 2011 and was a United Church of Christ Minister. He was a valued member of the PSR class of 1967. If you have more information about the life of Steven please email Leslie Leasure, Director of Advancement, at lleasure@psr.edu.

Robert Moon passed away on June 2, 2011 and was a retired United Methodist minister. He is survived by his wife, Doris, a daughter, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He was a valued member of the PSR MDiv class of 1958 and a PSR Trustee (1981-1990). If you have more information about the life of Robert, please email Leslie Leasure, Director of Advancement, at lleasure@psr.edu.

Thomas (Ted) Adams passed away on April 3, 2012 and was a retired American Baptist minister. He is survived by his wife, Junko; children, Nathan Adams and Suzanne (Jonathan) Sommers; his brother Carl (Hiromi); and his grandchildren, Jayke and Annabelle Sommers and Kanaya Adams. Ted spent most of his professional life working with university students and organizations. He served as Director of Student Activities at UC Davis for more than 20 years. (Read about his legacy.) When he retired, the Adams Student Leadership Award was established in Ted’s honor to recognize annually a UC Davis student who showed exemplary leadership. He also served on the Board of the Cal Aggie Christian Association and was dedicated to its mission of fostering interfaith understanding. Thomas was a valued member of the PSR MDiv class of 1965.