The Rev. Dr. Jane S. Gaeta, a Lutheran pastor, chaplain, and spiritual director who served several Episcopal institutions in a long and varied ministry, died February 9, at 79.
Gaeta was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and worked as nurse in hospitals in different parts of the country before answering a call to ministry. She studied at Trinity Lutheran Seminary and New York Theological Seminary, and served parishes of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in New York and New Jersey, including a shared ministry with her husband, the Rev. Dr. Gerald Gaeta.
She was staff chaplain at St. Luke’s Hospital in Manhattan and Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, and ministered to victims and emergency workers on September 11 at Ground Zero. She earned a degree in spiritual direction from General Seminary, and was a guide to many in the closing decades of her life. She taught spiritual direction at the Diocese of Long Island’s Mercer School of Theology and at General. Since 2011, she was a priest associate at Trinity Episcopal Church in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Gaeta is survived by her husband of 57 years, two children, Gregory Gaeta and the Rev. Susan Gaeta, and two grandchildren.
The Rev. Canon John Rettger, a priest with a passion for social justice who served parishes across Minnesota, died peacefully on February 13, at 87.
Rettger grew up in Washington, D.C., and after studies at Carleton College prepared for the ministry at the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad in Regina, Saskatchewan. He was ordained as a priest of the Anglican Church of Canada in 1960, and served parishes in Saskatchewan for three years before moving to Minnesota to become rector of St. Luke’s Church in Willmar.
He was rector of the Church of the Resurrection in Spring Lake Park for 24 years, and helped to develop ministries for the mentally ill, a parish food pantry, and a preschool; and was one of the founders of Habitat for Humanity in Anoka County.
He marched with Martin Luther King in Selma, and was appointed as a chaplain to gay and lesbian people in the diocese in 1978. Rettger served on numerous diocesan boards and was camp director at Lake Cass Episcopal Camp.
He was active in interim and supply ministry in retirement and became canon pastor at the Cathedral of St. Mark in 2000. Rettger had a great love of teaching, preaching, and travel, and led numerous pilgrimages to the Holy Land and religious sites in Europe.
Rettger is survived by Eudora, his wife of 68 years, their three children, four grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by one son.
The Rev. Canon Jervis S. (Jerry) Zimmerman, who served churches in the Diocese of Connecticut for 53 years, died February 27, at 99.
Zimmerman was a native of Illinois, and earned degrees from the University of Illinois, McCormick Theological Seminary, and the University of Chicago. He served as a Presbyterian minister in his native state for eight years before moving to Connecticut to be the chaplain at Norwich State Hospital.
He was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1953, and began his ministry as rector of Christ Church, West Haven. He joined the staff of the Diocese of Connecticut in 1967, serving first as director of Episcopal Social Services in Bridgeport, and then as canon for clergy deployment. He retired in 1983 and devoted the next 24 years to supply ministry across the diocese. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of the history and staffing of Connecticut’s 160 parishes.
Zimmerman loved singing, pancakes, roses, a daily swim, and a good laugh, and traveled the world with Eleanore, his wife, who died in 2003. He was the author of An Embattled Priest: The Life of Father Oliver Sherman Prescott, about one of his predecessors in West Haven, an early Anglo-Catholic. He is survived his three children and a grandson.