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Graves, Kevern, Mauney, Whitacre

The Rev. Rena B. Graves, who worked at a stateside arsenal during World War II and built a career in electronics before her ordination to the diaconate, died May 21 at age 102.

She was born in Philadelphia and was a graduate of William Penn High School for Girls and, in her 80s, Geneva College and Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

After her high school graduation, she trained with the National Youth Administration and worked with the U.S. Marine Corps and the Frankford Arsenal. She then worked on electronics with International Resistive Co. and for 25 years at Honeywell International, becoming a circuit board line supervisor, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

She began studying for the diaconate while still working for Honeywell, and was ordained in 1985. She served as chaplain for Wissahickon Hospice for ten years, and was a weekend chaplain at Abington Memorial Hospital. She helped to run a food cupboard through the Share Food Program for 30 years.

Deacon Graves was a member of the Church of St. Martin in-the-Fields for more than a decade.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Preston Graves. She is survived by three nieces, 10 grandnephews, 10 grandnieces, 14 great-grandnephews, and one great-grandniece.

The Very Rev. Dr. John Robert Kevern, former dean of Bexley Hall Theological Seminary and a longtime priest in the Diocese of Chicago, died May 9 at 69.

Kevern was born in Dixon, Illinois, and was a graduate of the University of Illinois, General Theological Seminary, and the University of Chicago, where he completed a Ph.D. He did further graduate study at the Sorbonne in Paris. He was ordained deacon and priest in 1980.

He served at various parishes in the Diocese of Chicago, and led a campaign in the early 1980s to restore St. James Cathedral. He also served as a priest in Columbus, Ohio; Moundsville, West Virginia; and Rochester, New York.

Bishop Frank Griswold appointed Kevern to lead Affirming Catholicism in North America. He was a member of Episcopal dialogues with Oriental Orthodox churches and with Lutherans.

Kevern moved to Rochester to teach at Bexley Hall, and he served as its dean from 1996 to 2009. “The seminary plans to institute its own curriculum which correlates classical Anglican theology with modern liberation perspectives,” he told TLC after being appointed dean. “We want the teaching to be centered under the concept of spiritual formation. All students will be expected to develop a rule of life in conjunction with the faculty, which already has developed a rule.”

He is survived by his brother, a niece, and two nephews.

The Rev. James Patrick Mauney, who worked for more than 20 years on the global relations of the Episcopal Church, died May 19 at 80.

Mauney was born in Paris, Tenn., and was a graduate of Duke University and the Episcopal Theological School. He served four years as an officer in the U.S. Navy. He was chief engineer on the USS Harnett County during the Vietnam War.

He was ordained deacon and priest in 1972. He served at St. John’s Cathedral in Providence, Rhode Island, St. Paul’s Church in Wickford, and St. Martin’s Church in Providence. Then he moved with his wife, Mardi, and their son, Peter, to Brazil for five years, where he was pastor of the chapel of Santo André in Campinas and taught English and theology in Campinas and São Paulo. In the course of his life, Mauney lived in or visited over 100 countries and territories.

He earned a certificate in field botany from the New York Botanical Garden and volunteered for years as a conservationist at the New England Wildflower Society. He also served as a docent at Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich, Massachusetts, with a particular interest in its rhododendron collections.

The Rev. Dr. Rodney Whitacre, a New Testament professor for more than three decades, died May 22 at 73.

He was born in Des Moines, Iowa, and was a graduate of Gordon College, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Cambridge University. He joined the faculty of Trinity School for Ministry in 1983.

His books included A Patristic Greek Reader (Baker Academic, 2007), John, the fourth volume in InterVarsity’s New Testament Commentary series (2010), and A Grammar of New Testament Greek (Eerdmans, 2021).

“Rod was a beloved member of the Trinity community until the very end, and he will remain one of the giants among our emeritus faculty,” said the Very Rev. Bryan C. Hollon, Trinity’s dean and president. “He had a lasting influence on several generations of Anglican clergy and was beloved by all. Rod was creative, funny, brilliant, and deeply convicted in his faith.”

“He told me that music came from heaven, and for years he led a student group in playing ukelele and singing roots music,” said Dr. William G. Witt, Trinity’s professor of systematic theology and ethics. “He was that rare example of a scholar-priest who was able to seamlessly join learning and devotion.”

He is survived by his wife, a sister, his son, and two granddaughters.

Other Deaths

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