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Rest in Peace, Rise in Glory: October 19, 2022


John R. Neilson

The Rev. John R. Neilson, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of the Korean War, died May 4 at 89.

Born in New York City, he was a graduate of Lycoming College and Philadelphia Divinity School. He was ordained deacon and priest in 1961, and served parishes in New Jersey for all of his ordained ministry. He was named rector emeritus of All Saints Episcopal Church, Scotch Plains, after serving as its rector from 1969 to 1997.

Among his involvement in many church and civic groups, he was an oblate of the Order of St. Benedict and a prelate of the Order of the Noble Companion of the Swan, an international order of Christian chivalry and knighthood.

Fr. Neilson is survived by Sandy, his wife of 59 years; his sister, Anne; a son; and two grandchildren.


Nancy Grace Van Dyke Platt

The Rev. Canon Nancy Grace Van Dyke Platt, whose ministry focused on pastoral care, died September 14 at 84.

A native of Kane, Pennsylvania, she was a graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. She worked as a medical technologist before pursuing ordained ministry. She was ordained deacon in 1975 and priest in 1980.

After completing seminary, she served at Church of the Epiphany and Bishop Anderson House in Chicago. She became rector of St. Matthew’s Church in Hallowell, Maine, in 1984, and remained there until retiring in 2004.

Her writing on pastoral care included “Betrayal and Healing: The Aftermath of Judas’ Kiss,” in The Journal of Pastoral Care (with Richard H. Hall), and the books Pastoral Care to the Cancer Patient and So You Think You Don’t Know One? Addiction and Recovery in Clergy and Congregations. Bishop Chilton Knudsen designated her as a canon upon Platt’s retirement.

She is survived by two sons, a daughter, and seven grandchildren.


Diane L. Rhodes

The Rev. Diane L. Rhodes, whose second-vocation calling as a priest was marked by generosity and care for the poor, died September 14 at 73.

Born in Pittsburgh, she was a graduate of the University of Chicago and worked in management with the Illinois Bell Telephone Co. for many years before sensing a call to ordained ministry.

In 2004 she completed seminary at Drew Theological School. She was ordained deacon and priest in 2005. She became rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Harrington Park, New Jersey, in 2007, and remained there until her retirement 14 years later.

The mayor of Harrington Park expressed gratitude for her years of service to the borough, including assistance to homeless people.

An obituary prepared by the family noted wryly that her compassion extended to a National Football League team: “She will be remembered by many, young and old, for her passion and compassion, as well as her support of all those in need (including the Pittsburgh Steelers, of whom she was a dedicated fan).”

She is survived by a sister-in-law and two nephews.


Harry Steadman Tipton

The Rev. Harry Steadman Tipton joined a church at 13 because of the kindness Christians showed him after his mother’s death. He died September 10 at 85, after many years of repeating his favorite saying: “Ain’t Jesus good?”

Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, he was a graduate of Louisiana State University and Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. He was ordained deacon in 1965 and priest in 1966. After seminary, he was priest in charge at Holy Comforter Church, Lecompte, and Trinity Episcopal Church, Cheneyville, Louisiana.

He joined the U.S. Air Force as an officer and chaplain, serving 21 years and retiring as a major. He received many honors, including the Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters. His years in the Air Force took the family to Osan, South Korea; Adana, Turkey; and several cities in the United States.

After retiring from the Air Force, Fr. Tipton served as rector of Church of the Epiphany in Crestview, Florida. He was passionate about prison ministry and served as a chaplain in the Florida state prison system for 10 years.

Fr. Tipton is survived by his former wife, five children, and 15 grandchildren.


James Malcolm Warrington

The Rev. James (Jim) Malcolm Warrington, who served in the Army during World War II and the Air Force during the Vietnam War, died August 17, one month shy of 96.

Born in Boston to parents who moved frequently during the Great Depression, he attended Virginia Military Institute (VMI) for one semester before he was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II. After the war, he was deployed to Munich, where he worked on securing and rebuilding the city.

When his Army enlistment was over, Warrington completed his studies at VMI and then joined the newly created U.S. Air Force ROTC program. After graduation, he served in the Air Force Reserve while working in the Department of Defense and the National Security Agency (NSA).

After five years working at the NSA, he sensed a call to ordained ministry. He completed a degree at the University of the South’s School of Theology, and was ordained deacon in 1960 and priest in 1961. He served as an assistant priest in Tenafly, New Jersey, and McLean, Virginia, and earned a master in business administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1966.

Fr. Warrington enlisted in the Air Force as a military chaplain during the Vietnam War. His desire to serve as a military chaplain was inspired by his having known the Rev. George L. Fox, one of the four Dorset Martyrs, who perished on the SS Dorchester.

At the end of his military career, Fr. Warrington settled in northern Virginia, living for decades in Falls Church. Until he entered a senior living facility in 2010, he lived a simple life without television, internet, or air conditioning. His life was filled with God, books, friends, pet cats, and his collection of model trains.

He is survived by a nephew, two nieces, and a grandniece.


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