Martha Roy, a Presbyterian mission worker in Egypt her entire adult life, died March 8 in Cairo, two weeks short of her 98th birthday. Services were held March 10 at Kasr Dobara Church in Cairo.
Born in Tanta, Egypt, of an American father and mother, Roy lived in Egypt most of her life, going to the U.S. only for college at Muskingum College in Ohio and graduate school at Columbia University in New York.
A gifted musician who spent some time in the U.S. as a young girl studying piano, Roy returned to Egypt immediately after earning her Master’s degree in music from Columbia and embarked on a teaching and missionary career that spanned more than six decades.
She first taught music, English and French at the mission school in Luxor for 20 years and then served for 15 years at the American College for Girls in Cairo, now known as Ramses College. She also taught music at Helwan University.
Roy was particularly renowned for teaching Egyptian folkloric music, including songs of the Egyptian heritage, she had collected herself, like Bafta Hindi, and many others. “Music is very elusive,” she said. “Once it is gone, it is gone forever.” Through her interest in music, she also became an expert in Coptic hymnology and liturgy.
Roy was frequently honored for her work ― first by Gamal Abdel-Nasser in the ‘60s, and later with the Decoration of Excellence by Anwar El-Sadat.
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The Rev. A. David Bos, a longtime peace and justice advocate in the PC(USA) and leader of Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care and of the national single payer movement, died on Feb. 12 following a brief illness.
With his friend Hal Sanders of Pittsburgh, Bos led the effort to win PC(USA) General Assembly support for single payer health care. He led workshops throughout the country to raise awareness and support for a single payer health plan for the U.S.
Bos, a committed ecumenist and community organizer, was active in the Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association, serving as co-chair of the Presbyterian Association for Community Transformation,one of PHEWA’s networks. He served churches in Olean and Rochester, N.Y., and was the founder of Smith Haven Ministries on Long Island, one of the first community ministries in the country, and later served St. Matthews Area Ministry in Louisville and Interfaith Community Ministry in New Albany, Ind.
He was a co-founder of the Louisville Metropolitan Housing Coalition and a founder of the national Interfaith Community Ministry network. He wrote two seminal books on community ministry ― A Practical Guide To Community Ministry (Westminster John Knox, 1993) and Bound Together: A Theology for Ecumenical Community Ministry (Pilgrim, 2005). At the time of his death he was writing a work on the issue of fair housing for the disenfranchised, tentatively entitled Sheltering the People.
He is survived by his wife, Johanna W.H.van Wijk-Bos, a professor at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary; a son, J.Martin Bos, daughter-in-law, Kimberly Bos, and granddaughter, Emma; a son, Stephen Van Kuiken and a daughter, Julianne Zinn, and their spouses and children; and brothers Thomas Bos and Philip Bos and their spouses and children.
A memorial service was held Feb. 18 at Louisville’s Central Presbyterian Church.
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The Rev. Perry Harvey Biddle, Jr., a Presbyterian minister and longtime leader in the Presbyterian Writers Guild, died Feb. 10 in Nashville, Tenn.
A memorial service was held Feb.19 at Second Presbyterian Church in Nashville.
Biddle is survived by his wife, Sue; his two children and their families, Perry Biddle, III, and Lindsay Louise Biddle; and by his sister, Stella Biddle Fitzgerald, and her family.
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J. Mahlon Buck Jr., 85, a Presbyterian elder and part-owner of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team, died of heart disease March 16, at home in Bryn Mawr, Penn.
In 1981, Buck and his two brothers were among the limited partners who bought the Phillies for $30.2 million. According to published reports, the Bucks’ share at the time was about 30 percent.
Buck was an elder at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, where his memorial service was held on March 19.