In Memoriam: Rev. Dr. Gary Wolfer

09-17-2013 by

B. Vaughan

Rev. Dr. Gary Wolfer spent his life working for social justice and helping the less fortunate. He worked for 45 years in ministry, serving as pastor of Denver’s Highland Park Presbyterian Church (1977-1993) and Central Presbyterian Church (1993-1994), as well as in Washington state, South Dakota, and Montana.

He advocated for educational equity and improved opportunities in NW Denver schools, as well as increasing public safety. He recruited neighboring churches to jointly offer summer vacation bible school and expanded learning opportunities for youth. Inspired by Christ’s example of serving the needy, Gary co-founded Metro Organizations for People (MOP) – now Together Colorado – which works for system change in healthcare, education and immigration, and Denver Urban Ministries, which provides food and other assistance to needy people. Gary’s call to the ministry was guided by a conviction to use the church as a vehicle to serve the powerless.

Gary earned degrees from Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash. and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and his Doctorate in Ministries from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Ill.

Passionate about current events, Gary never wanted to miss the hourly news headlines. When his health allowed, he enjoyed traveling and hiking with family, playing bridge, spending time with family and friends and attending cultural events. He had a dry sense of humor that often caught parishioners and friends by surprise.

Gary passed away July 10 with family at his side following a 20-month battle with cancer. He was a caring and loving husband, father and grandfather. He was born Dec. 29, 1943, to Glen and Elaine Fritz Wolfer in San Bernardino, CA. Gary is survived by his sister Evelyn Johnson and brother Daryl Wolfer; wife Janet; children Elaine (Bob) Tice and Jonathan (Karen) Wolfer; and grandchildren: Madison, Andrew, Ethan, Ryan, Brianna, Joshua and Aedyn.