Notes about people

April 18, 2011

Yenwith (Yen) Whitney, a longtime Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission worker in this country and overseas, died April 12 in Sarasota, FL, after a long illness. He was 86.

A native of the Bronx, N.Y., Whitnery served in the elite Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. After the war, he graduated from MIT on the GI Bill and worked for a time in aeronautical engineering before entering PC(USA) mission service in 1956.

For 10 years he served in Cameroon as a teacher of math and physics. Upon returning to the U.S. in 1967 he then served as associate for educational services with the Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations (COEMAR) until 1977 when he became president of Boggs Academy in Georgia.

In 1980, Whitney was named liaison with Africa for the PC(USA) and after Presbyterian reunion in 1983 served as associate for southern Africa until his retirement in 1992. He moved to Sarasota in 1998.

Whitney’s first wife, Muriel, died in 1978. His second wife, Lorenza (Lori) died in 2008. He is survived by his daughters Saundra Curry and Karen Whitney; step-son Earl Tucker; son-in-law Donald Curry; grandson Peter Curry; a sister, Ada Robinson, and many nieces and nephews. Yen Whitney’s funeral was April 18 at First Presbyterian Church of Sarasota.

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The Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, moderator of the 218th General Assembly (2008) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has resigned as pastor of Mission Bay Community Church in San Francisco.

Founding pastor of the congregation 12 years ago, Reyes-Chow will conclude his service at Mission Bay May 31.

“After much prayerful discernment as to my role in the next stages of the building up of this community, it has become clear to me that Mission Bay Community Church has entered a new season of its life and, with that, the need for new pastoral leadership,” Reyes-Chow wrote in a letter to the congregation following the session’s action to accept his resignation on March 15.

Reyes-Chow said his “is not a decision made in response to any crisis, conflict or personal ambition.” He has no announced plans for what he will do next in ministry.

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The Rev. Mark Tammen has announced his resignation as director of the Department of Constitutional Services in the Office of the General Assembly to accept the call as general presbyter for the Presbytery of Long Island.

Tammen, who has been with OGA for 17 years, will conclude his service there on May 16. He begins his new work at the Commack, N.Y.-based Presbytery of Long Island on June 13.

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A funeral service was held April 8 at Batesville (Miss.) Presbyterian Church for the Rev. Paul David Snellgrove, who died April 6 at age 71.

Born in Gadsden, Ala. Snellgrove graduated from Columbia Theological Seminary in 1973 and was ordained by St. Andrew Presbytery. He served pastorates in Ripley and Batesville, Miss., before becoming executive of St. Andrew Presbytery in 1985. In 1989 he became synod executive for the Synod of Living Waters and served there until his retirement in 2004.

At the General Assembly level of the PC(USA), Snellgrove served two terms on the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission from the late 1980s until the mid-1990s. He was also a member of the Assembly’s Special Committee to Review Disciplinary Process that between 1992 and 1994 revised  much of the Rules of Discipline.

Survivors include his wife, Martha “Marty” Pettey Snellgrove; one daughter, Kim Renfroe Nix, and two sons, Al Snellgrove and Eric Snellgrove; a sister, a brother and a foster-sister; and six grandchildren and one stepgranddaughter.

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Neal Erwin Dunwoody, 83, an eighth-generation Presbyterian and father of Presbyterian Peacemaking Program Associate Debby Dunwoody Vial, died March 13 in Maryville, Tenn. A memorial service was held March 16 at Highland Presbyterian Church in Maryville.

He is also survived by his wife of 58 years, Patty Lou Stockebrand Dunwoody; his two other children, Dee Ann Dunwoody Ostby and Mark Dunwoody and their spouses; 10 grandchildren and one great-grandson; and caregiver, JoAnn Booker.  He was preceded in death by his youngest daughter, Janet Sue Dunwoody Cloutier.

Dunwoody served in the United States Navy from 1946-1948 and then earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Kansas State University in 1951. After a brief stint in the Kansas oil fields, he worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a project engineer from 1954 until early retirement in 1982. 

Ordained an elder in 1963, Dunwoody served the PC(USA) in many capacities, as well as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Habitat for Humanity and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. He was co-designer of the first water purification system that was used by the Living Waters for the World.

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