The United Methodist Reporter is offering the latest headlines in the RSS format.
Retired Bishop Duecker dies at age 85 Kathy L. Gilbert, Nov 4, 2011
Bishop Robert Sheldon Duecker
By Kathy Gilbert United Methodist News Service
Retired United Methodist Bishop Robert Sheldon Duecker died Oct. 28 in Fort Wayne, Ind., after a long battle with cancer. He was 85. The Rev. Roy A. Eaton of Fort Wayne said he and Duecker became good friends after the bishop retired. “From 1995 to today we spent every week together. There was a group of us who had lunch every Friday,” Mr. Eaton said.
“He was a good preacher, administrator and a tremendous friend,” Mr. Eaton said. “He knew he was dying, and the last time I saw him he said, ‘I don’t mind dying, but I dread the process.’”
Bishop Michael Coyner, who leads the denomination’s Indiana Conference, said Duecker had an “even more amazing ministry after his retirement.”
Bishop Coyner said Duecker served as interim pastor, headed a drive to raise funds for Africa University and was honorary chair of the conference’s camping ministry. A residence hall at United Methodist-affiliated Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe, was dedicated in his honor.
“I visited him a number of times and recently in hospice,” Bishop Coyner said. “He was ready to go, and we are grateful he had a peaceful passing.”
The UMC’s North Central Jurisdiction elected Duecker a bishop in 1988 and assigned him to the Chicago Area.
Duecker was ordained an elder in the former North Indiana Conference by Bishop Richard C. Raines in 1953. He served as an associate pastor of Kokomo Grace and as pastor at Dyer, Muncie-Gethsemane, Hartford City, Warsaw-First, Fort Wayne-Simpson and Muncie-High Street United Methodist churches. He also served as North Indiana Conference council director from 1973 to 1977 and as Fort Wayne District superintendent from 1977 to 1982.
Duecker was an elected delegate to four sessions of General Conference, the denomination’s lawmaking body, and to six sessions of the North Central Jurisdictional Conference.
He was the author of several articles and of one book, Tensions in the Connection, published by Abingdon in 1983.
Duecker was named a “Sagamore of the Wabash” by Indiana Gov. Robert Orr in September 1988. The award recognizes Indiana citizens who have made outstanding contributions to the state.
He and Marjorie Louise Clouse were married in 1948 and celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary this year. Other survivors include a daughter, Cristine Holman of Fort Wayne; and three brothers: Heyman of Marion, Ind.; Ronald of Wooster, Ohio; and Dennis of Medina, Ohio; three grandchildren, Carrie Haney of Atlanta, Robert Haney of Morristown, N.J.; and Lori Haney of Fort Wayne; and a great-granddaughter, Jaden Housman of Fort Wayne. He was preceded in death by a son, the Rev. Philip Lee, in 2000, and by two brothers, Sherrod and Victor.
A memorial service was held Nov. 5 at First Wayne Street UMC in Fort Wayne, where he served as bishop-in-residence after his retirement as bishop of the Chicago Area in 1996.