In Memoriam: Rev. Dr. Robert C. Lodwick

06-30-2016

April 22, 1928 - January 23, 2016

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Bob won positions and honors begnning in seventh grade when he was elected moderator of the Presbytery of Cincinnati Junior High Westminster Fellowship. He became a a synod officer and in 1947 an officer at the Westminster Fellowship National Council. In 1949, he became president of the Y.M.C.A. at the University of cincinnati, one of the largest in the country, and chairman of the Religious Emphasis Committee. He served as the Presbyteria representative on the World Student Christian Federation Committee. 

When a University sophomore, he spent a summer in Coloardo helping migrant workers pick cherries and visiting mining towns as a member of the interdenominational Lisle Fellowship. In 1947, he worked his way to Poland and Iceland on a UNRRA cattle boat. He came home toting one souvenir, a giant wicker rocking chair which he bought for 50 cents, and a lifelong passion to work and serve throughout the world. 

In 1948, he returned to Europe to work at Le College Cevenol in France and to tour Youth Centers and participate in World Council work camps in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and Holland. 

In 1949, he was awarded a cash prize tot he student who has done the most to promote interfaith amity in the life of the campus. He was also awarded the school's McKibbon award for Manliness.

He entered McCormick Theological Seminary, graduating in 1941 with a BD and in 1952 with an MA in Christian Education. During those years he met his future wife because of her unusal European name, Hedwig Nabholz. They were married in 1951. She worked in the First Presbyterian Church in Hammond, Indiana. Bob bacame the student intern there and in 1952 organized a trip into Appalachia with the youth group. During summer vacations, he labored in the blast furnaces in Gary, Inidiana to earn money to complete his education. 

He and Hedy applied to the Board of Foreign Mission and i 1953 were assigned to work with the French Reformed church's Cimade program in the North. Their station was in Coudekerque Branche, near Dunkerque, where its large beach had been a scene of mass evacuation during the war. People now lived in abandoned block houses and in barracks. Theirs was also a barrack and they heard stories of what the residents suffered. The rubble of the war had been cleared but rebuilding had hardly begun. Bob and Hedy continued the work that Foryer Cimade had begun at the end of the war. This included food aide, programs for youth, adults, and the elderly, as well as Bible study and worship services. Their two daughters, Margaret and Marion, were born during these years. Since Bob and hedy were both involved in the work of the Foyer, they realized that they had become a team in ministry. In 1958, bob found a position at Union Theological Seminary with the Program of Advanced Religious Studies (PARS) as assistant to the Professor. Because the professor had medical problems, Bob ended up in charge of the program for three years while also completing his doctorate. His doctorate work necessitated his visiting the schools and colleges in Egypt. As a result, he and Hedy were afterwards assigned to Egypt as long term mission workers. This was at the time of Egypt's nationalization of the schools. Bob's special assignment was to oversee the transfer of the schools and colleges from ownership of the Presbyterian Mission to the Coptic Evangelical Church. During this time in Egypt, Bob and Hedy made many lifelong friends who they were delighted to join in retirement at Monte Vista Grove. This assignment being successrully completed, Bob was asked to return to New York, eventually becoming Program Director the Education for the Presbyterian Church. They also returned with a son, Philip, born in 1964. This assignment had him traveling on six continents. He was usually away from homr for 1/3 of the year. During this time, he served a s president fo the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia. Hedy got a position as teacher in their church's preschool. 

In 1978, General Assembly issued a Definitive Guidance about homosexuals in the church. This caused a time of upheaval for the Lodwicks. Bob questions his call to ministry. Quite by accident, Hedy discovered Bob was gay. They had already been married 27 years. She found out now the answers to questions that had been troubling her. After reflection, she realized that love, family, and their joint calling as a team in ministry were too important to abandon. She joined a large group of women "in the closet." she and Bob continued their work for the presbyterian Church while silently working to bring gays to acceptable visibility in the church. It was helpful to discover that they had support in the staff! 

In 1978, a position as Presbyterian Representative in Europe opened up. Bob applied and was appointed. He and Hedy became the new Representatives, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. His travels were now mostly to Eastern and Southern Europe. Hedy worked with various women's groups throughout Europe during the time. These contacts were very much enjoyed, but another 15 years brought them to 1993 and time to retire. 

In 1993, McCormick Seminary honored Bob and Hedi as Distinguished Alumni. they were the first couple to be so honored, a team in ministry. 

Bob, however, coult not retire! Quickly he became an enthusiastic volunteer with the AIDS Interfaith ministry. Much was needed for those suffering and dying. At the same time and invitation came from Friendship Press for him to assemble a book on Europe. With the help of Hedy, he produced Remembering the Furutre, the Challenge of the Churches in Europe. Next he served for three years as coordinator for the Ceneral Council Meeting of the World Assiance fo Reformed Churches held in 1987 in Debrecen, Hungary. Several times before, he had coordinated the visitors' programs for the World Council of churches. Finally at Monte Vista, he served as president of the residents association for two years, as chair of convocation, on the Board of Trustees, and on the board of the House of Rest. When words began to fail him, Mae invited him to open incoming merchandise at 10,000 Villages. This he did happily until illness took him to the health center. 

Throughout his life, Bob loved flowers. He would bring home flats of flowers for Hedy to plant. He would then pick them and brighten people's days with bouquests of flowers, often miniature roses. he also collected bells from around the world and loved finding treasures from his travels to bring home to give to family and friends. He had a sense of humor which never left him even when words no longer came easily. He will be remembered for his wisdom, leadership, love of beautiful things, travel, family, and friends. 

Robert is survived by his wife, Hedy, still in Pasadena. His three children: Margaret and her husband Mark (North Dakota), Marion and her husband David (Washington), Philp and his wife Kathy (Minnesota); seven grandchildren: Lisa (California), Keith and his partner Carly (Utah), Scott and his wife Kelsey (Colorado), Jacob (Washington), Justin (Washington), Amelia, Ben; and two great grandchildren Emmeline and River. He is also sirvived by his sister, Peggy, and niece, Lea.