Notes about people

December 8, 2010

Longtime Presbyterian Christian educator Geraldine Mary Jones died in Savannah, GA on Nov. 2. She was 83.

A native of New Braunsfel, Texas, Jones was a graduate of Trinity College in San Antonio and the Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, VA. She served the PC(USA) for many years as director of Christian education at churches in Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas before joining the faculty of PSCE in 1969 and serving as dean of students from 1974-1982.  

Jones then served as director of Christian education at Myers Park Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, N.C., and First Presbyterian Church in Savannah, from which she retired in 1992. An ordained elder, Jones served as moderator of Savannah Presbytery in 2002. She was also an honorary life member of Presbyterian Women. 

Jones is survived by her sister, Bonnie Thompson of San Antonio.  A memorial service was held at First Presbyterian Church, Savannah on Nov. 5.

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Elizabeth Currie Williams of Dallas will become interim president and CEO of the Texas Presbyterian Foundation (TPF), effective Jan. 1. She will succeed Daniel W. Klein, who is retiring at the end of the year after more than 15 years as the foundation’s president and CEO. A search committee of the board, led by Board Chair Carl Stuart of Austin, Texas will continue its work to identify a permanent successor to Mr. Klein. 

Williams retired at the end of 2008 after serving for 19 years as a financial officer of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, initially as vice-president for business and finance, and later as treasurer, responsible for the university’s endowment portfolio. 

An elder at NorthPark Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Williams previously served nine years on the TPF board of trustees, much of that time as chair of the Investment Committee. She is currently on the board of trustees of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, one of the foundation’s principal client institutions, and chairs its Investment Committee. In January, Williams also begins a term as moderator of Grace Presbytery.

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The Presbyterian News Service has just learned of the death of  the Rev. Virgil Ambrose Cruz, who died May 23 of this year in Castricum, The Netherlands, where he and his wife Margot had been living since his retirement in 1996.

Born in New York City in 1929, Cruz attended Houghton College and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Following his graduation in 1956, he served two rural churches in upstate New York, becoming one of the first black pastors in the former United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. to lead an all-white congregation.

Cruz completed his Ph.D. in 1973 after two stints at the Free University in Amsterdam. He taught at Dubuque Theological Seminary, Western Theological Seminary (Reformed Church in America) in Holland, Mich., and finally at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary beginning in 1986.

He was part of the team that persuaded the 1987 General Assembly to establish the national offices of the PC(USA) in Louisville in 1988 and served on the General Assembly Council during the late 1980s.

Cruz is survived by his wife Margot; his children, Miguel and Isabel; and his grandson, Santiago.

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The Rev. Harvey Henry Walters — a pioneering journalist, Presbyterian minister, staunch civil rights advocate and anti-war activist — died Sept. 25 in Santa Fe, N.M. after a brief illness. He was 89.

Born in Helena, Ark., Walters served in the U.S. Army in World War II before concluding that war is not the answer. After the war, Walters and his wife, Mary Frances moved to Richmond, VA where he worked for the Board of Christian Education of the former Presbyterian Church in the U.S. He was named director of public relations for that denomination in 1949 and while in Atlanta graduated from Columbia Theological Seminary.

In 1953, he became secretary-manager of the Georgia Press Association, then business manager of the California Newspaper Publishers Association in 1962. In 1963 he was honored by the National Editorial Association for his efforts to help smaller newspapers find advertising. He was also honored by the City of Atlanta’s Community Relations Commission for his findings and recommendations to help settle an extended strike of garbage collectors. 

Walters served as organizing pastor of St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church, Altamonte Springs, Fla. in 1970, and later served as director of pastoral counseling for Moorings Presbyterian Church, Naples, Fla. until he retired in 1987.  After retirement, he served churches in Georgia and Virginia.

In addition to his wife, Walters is survived by his daughter, Lee Walters Wylie; his son, John Paul Walters; and grandchildren Luke Bernard Walters Wylie, Grayson Lee Walters and David Jordan Walters. A memorial service was held Sept. 29 at St. Jerome’s Episcopal Church in Chama, N.M. 

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