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 Julie A. Clemens, Chief Advancement Officer at

John Berger died on July 12, 2015. A United Methodist minister, military chaplain, and performing musician, Berger is known for his extensive ministry to service members and their families.  After retiring from the Navy in 1982, Berger began to serve various congregations in California. An accomplished pianist and singer, Berger performed at churches and with "Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive"; a nonprofit honoring the legacy of the men and women who served in World War II.

Thomas Thresher died on July 9th, 2015. Thresher earned a BA in Economics at UCLA, a Masters in Economics and a PhD in Education from Stanford, and later his MDiv at PSR in 2001. An exeptional spiritual teacher and economist, he moved to Suquamish in 2003 to be the pastor at the Suquamish UCC, and became deeply involved in helping others with personal transformation. His written works include Reverent Irreverence. 

Sydnie Thomson Brown died in May, 2015. The widow of PSR faculty member Robert McAfee Brown, her interests included working for the rights and dignity of workers, especially women; forming coalitions between organizations and individuals; advancing environmental justice; and bolstering the church as a continuing agent for social justice. The Sydney Thomson Brown Memorial Fund supports innovative and ongoing programs at Pacific School of Religion that parallel the work of Sydney’s life. Learn more »

Anna Loofbourrow Rood died on April 15, 2015. Rood was the widow of the late PSR Religious Education, Theology, and Theater professor, Wayne R. Rood. She was a friend to countless students and faculty members, serving as costume designer and seamstress for Wayne's theater productions. The company of "Androcles and the Lion" spoke for many PSR thespians when they awarded her the Velvet Paw Award "for many services and much dedication without a credit line".

John William Steinitz died on February 26, 2015. Steinitz earned a MDiv in 1958. His career spans from work in  immunology and microbiology to development and fundraising. He was a wonderful father to seven children. He had a joyful, curious mind and soul, and enjoyed many things, including reading, racquetball, and volunteering at the YMCA.

Luise Schottroff died on February 8, 2015. Schattroff served as Professor of New Testament at universities and seminaries in Mainz, Kassel, Berkeley, and New York, including PSR. At Pacific School of Religion and The Graduate Theological Union she offered classes on the parables, the Eucharist, and 1 Corinthians from 2001 to 2005. She had a special love for teaching the course “Introduction to New Testament.” 

Alvin Zunkel died on October 19, 2014. He earned a Master of Sacred Theology in 1968 while serving as a pstor in Oakland. While working as a pastoral counselor in Columbus, he also was a national trainer of counselors in the use of transactional analysis techniques.He remained engaged in a lifelong spiritual journey with his reading, participating in discussion groups, and volunteer activities. 

Garard Larue died on September 17, 2014. Larue graduated with a PhD in 1953.  The first president of the Hemlock Society, Larue was a renowned scholar and author, as well as a member of the National Council of Churches’ Committee on the Use and Understanding of the Bible.

Richard Lee Gelwick died Sunday, June 29, 2014. Gelwick graduated with a bachelor’s of arts degree from Southern Methodist University in 1952; a master’s of divinity degree from Yale Divinity School in 1956; and a doctor of theology degree from the Pacific School of Religion in 1965. Gelwick was ordained as a minister in 1957. Throughout his life, Gelwick was a professor, a scholar of Michael Polanyi, a social activist and community organizer. Gelwick and his family were avid sailors, enjoying their home in Cundy’s Harbor in Harpswell, Maine.

George E. Furnival passed away February 18, 2014, in Lake Placid, Florida. A celebration of his life will be held at People's United Methodist Church, South Thomaston, Maine on May 10 at 2PM. UCC and Methodist clergy from several conferences will attend. Memorial gifts may be made to People' Church or PSR.

Donald G. Rogers died on February 5, 2014. He graduated in 1964 and served at Church of the Beatitudes in Phoenix AZ for 3 years. He then transitioned to Los Angeles County as a Social Worker and retired as the Head of Media Services there after 30 years, a position that combined his desire to work with persons in need and his passion for photography. 

Bishop Jack M. Tuell, retired Bishop, pastor and beloved spouse of Marjorie Beadles Tuell, died on January 10, 2014. He is survived by Marji and their three children: Jacqueline T. Joday of Chippewa Falls, WI; Cynthia D. Tuell of Upland, CA; and James Knowles-Tuell of Delmar, New York. Ordained in the PNW Conference, Reverend Jack and Marji Tuell served the Pacific Northwest Conference at Everett: Grace; Tacoma: Lakewood; as Puget Sound District Superintendent; and Vancouver: First. In 1972, Rev. Jack Tuell was elected Bishop and assigned to the Portland Episcopal Area from 1972 - 1980, followed by the Los Angeles Episcopal Area from 1980-1992. He retired in 1992 after many years of service. Read more about Bishop Tuell's contributions to the United Methodist Church here.

John W. Broad passed away peacefully at his home in Auburn, California, on May 17, 2013. After serving the Lord through the United Methodist Church (UMC) for 40 years, John retired from Auburn's Pioneer UMC in 2009. He was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2012 and fought a yearlong battle the same way he lived his life-with courage, joy, kindness and grace. The son of Jack and Clarene Broad, John grew up in San Bruno, California, and graduated from University of the Pacific in 1968 and Pacific School of Religion in 1971. He began his life's work in pastoral ministry as an intern with Rev. Franklin Scott, his mentor and friend, at age 22. He is survived by his loving wife of 44 years, Laurie Broad; their three children, Steven and wife Karen Broad, Julie and husband Joel Osterman, and Peter Broad. An active volunteer, John supported the Auburn Interfaith Food Closet, The Gathering Inn and The Salvation Army. He enjoyed opera and classical music, the great outdoors and spending time with family and friends. His family cherishes his inspiring example of Christian living, and rejoices that he is now home with the Lord.

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 John Aney, Associate Advancement Director, at

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 John Aney, Associate Advancement Director, at

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 John Aney, Associate Advancement Director, at

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 John Aney, Associate Advancement Director, at

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.