M. Fred Himmerich

The Rev. Canon M. Fred Himmerich, who “led a life filled with music, faith, justice, friendship, and family,” died at his home at St. John’s on the Lake new home community in Milwaukee on January 29 at 90.

Himmerich grew up on farms in South Dakota and Washington, and felt a call to the priesthood from an early age. He began his ecclesiastical work as assistant organist at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Aberdeen, South Dakota, while still a teenager.

He earned degrees in literature and classics from Macalester College and the University of Minnesota before training for the priesthood at Nashotah House. He later earned a doctorate in theology from Marquette University.

He was ordained in 1962, and was first assistant rector at St. Paul’s Church in Beloit, Wisconsin. Three years later, he became rector of St. Paul’s in Watertown, Wisconsin, which he served until his retirement 30 years later.

A highlight of his ministry was helping the 1969 Welfare Mothers’ March organized by the Rev. James Groppi of Milwaukee, a Roman Catholic priest and political activist. Several hundred mothers marched nearly 90 miles from Milwaukee to Watertown and then to the State House in Madison, where they protested planned cuts in public assistance.

In defiance of a ban by Watertown’s city council, Himmerich opened St. Paul’s to the marching mothers. With members of the congregation, he fed them and helped them find overnight accommodations.

He later founded Bread and Roses, a free community meal and a daycare center in Watertown, and joined many civic organizations.

Himmerich baked bread for St. Paul’s Sunday Eucharist for years, and made altar wine from grapes he grew in his back yard.

He remained active in ministry in retirement, serving as interim dean of All Saints’ Cathedral in Milwaukee in 2007, attending daily Evensong at St. John’s on the Lake, and leading a Bible study there until his death. He is survived by five children and nine grandchildren.

 

Charles McGinley

The Rev. Charles R. McGinley, a veteran of World War II and the Korean War who served parishes around the country, died peacefully on January 8 at 94.

McGinley was born in Hagerstown, Maryland, and served in the Navy during World War II as a member of the gun crews of several Merchant Marine ships in the Atlantic and Pacific.

He earned a degree in radio broadcasting and public relations from Boston University, honing a dramatic voice that would mark his later ministry.

After graduating from college, he was called into active duty during the Korean War and served on the USS Union in 1950 and 1951. He served as a Navy Reserve chaplain for 32 years, retiring as a commander.

He prepared for ministry at Virginia Theological Seminary, graduating in 1957, and served parishes in Richmond and Kempsville, Virginia; San Jose, California; and Newton, Kansas. In his final ministry, McGinley served for 11 years as rector of St. Paul’s, Sharpsburg, and St. Mark’s, Lappans, Maryland.

He and his wife, Katherine, served on the board of the Hagerstown Free Clinic for many years, and he volunteered with Meals on Wheels.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 68 years, and is survived by three sons, four grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

 

LaVeta Wafer

LaVeta “Ann” Wafer, who had a decades-long ministry of spiritual counseling and prayer, died at Thomas the Apostle Center in Cody, Wyoming, on February 4 at 88.

She was born in Clodine, Texas. As a young woman in Houston, she became involved with the Church of the Redeemer, a leader in the charismatic renewal that began in the the 1960s. She was part of a communal household and served as a spiritual counselor and leader of Bible studies and prayer groups.

Wafer became a member of the Community of Celebration, a religious order founded by Redeemer’s rector, the Rev. Graham Pulkingham. She moved with the community to Coventry, England, in 1974. Wafer followed the community to Great Cumbrae, Scotland, and back to Houston, where she continued as a lay leader at Church of the Redeemer.

In 1990, she moved to the Thomas the Apostle Center, a retreat ministry founded by Daphne Grimes, whom she had met while living in England. Wafer served as its business manager and executive director.

She was a member of Christ Church in Cody for 30 years and assisted with the ministry of the Diocese of Wyoming, especially as a spiritual director, for the rest of her life. She is survived by her daughter, Darlene Wafer.