ACPE Retired Educator Larry VandeCreek

ACPE Retired Educator Larry VandeCreek died on January 6, 2022. He lived at a retirement community in Grand Rapids, Michigan with his wife Celia. He fell and broke his leg. Due to his Parkinson’s they couldn’t do surgery to repair the leg. As his wife said, he went downhill very rapidly. 

After graduating from Calvin Seminary (1963), Larry served a small rural Christian Reformed church in Western Minnesota for four years, preaching, teaching, and providing pastoral care. He then entered CPE in preparation for specialized ministry in health care chaplaincy and pastoral counseling. After certification, he served as a hospital chaplain and provided pastoral care to patients and family members at Methodist Hospital of Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1971, he joined the University of Indiana Medical Center and was certified as an ACPE Educator. He spent the next four years supervising seminarians and parish pastors as they learned to provide ministry in a hospital context. In 1975, he expanded his pastoral care and counseling ministry by accepting a position at The Ohio State University. While there he sought to enhance the ministry of chaplains by scientifically examining the function of the patient's religion and spirituality during illness, hospitalization, and the dying process.

Larry was a Retired Fellow of AAPC; and one of the earliest members of the pastoral/spiritual care & counseling community who knew the importance of Research - serving on the AAPC Research Committee out of which came his Research Primer for Pastoral Care & Counseling (1988 - JPCP Publns Inc).

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ACPE Retired Educator Donald Dinsmore

ACPE Retired Educator Donald Dinsmore 84, passed away peacefully Friday, December 17, 2021. He grew up on the south side of Chicago, followed by divinity studies at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, where he was ordained by the United Methodist Church.

At 35, Don felt a strong calling to focus his life on those grieving from illness or loss of a loved one. He went back to school at the University of Virginia Hospital to be certified as a supervisor of clinical pastoral education (CPE). In Jackson, Mississippi, he served at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, while he also shepherded the flock at Fondren Church, taught at Millsaps College and provided private grief and emotional counseling. Don later returned to Wausau, where he was Director of Pastoral Care at Aspirus Hospital for over 20 years.

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ACPE Friend Jim Wyrtzen


Former AAPC President Jim Wyrtzen died on December 12, 2021 in Carlsbad, California. James Wyrtzen, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend to many passed away following complications relating to a fall. Jim loved academia and being a part of the community at University of California-San Diego.

On Saturday January 8th, we invite friends and family to join us in remembering and celebrating Jim. Andy and Sofia will be opening their home to guests as an informal opportunity to connect. Feel free to stop by anytime between 2 and 6pm. Please come as you are and dress casually, comfortably, and for cold weather. We plan to make use of Andy and Sofia's backyard, including a heated and ventilated tent,  so that everyone can spread out and gather as safely as possible.  If you do come inside the house, we strongly encourage you to wear a mask. If you are not vaccinated, we ask that you consider getting tested before attending. If you have any reservations about coming due to COVID, please put your safety first. We can make plans to connect another way. Let's be safe and take care of one another. These are the important details once again:

Saturday January 8th
2-6pm (come any time between those hours)
Andy and Sofia's Home
519 Melrose Ave.
Middlesex, NJ 08846

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ACPE Emeritus Educator Stuart "Stu" Plummer

ACPE Certified Educator Emeritus Stuart “Stu” Plummer died on December 15, 2021. Originally certified as a CPE Supervisor by the Council for Clinical Training in 1961, Stu is one of the founders of what we know today as ACPE. He touched generations of educators and students, served faithfully as a regional director, and also served as the executive director of ACPE. His work with ACPE’s foundation shaped much of the success it enjoys today. One need not look far in the world of spiritual care to find those who say proudly, “I am where I am today because of what I learned from Stu Plummer.”

Current ACPE Board Chair Melissa Walker-Luckett said, “We are diminished by the loss of Stu Plummer, bereft of his initiative, wisdom, and generosity. We are mindful of the bereavement for his family and friends. We each, in our way, hold them in our heart with care and love.”

We will share news as we learn more about funeral arrangements. In the meantime, please hold Stu’s wife Agnes, the Plummer family, and all those blessed to know Stu in your heart and prayers.

Read full obituary 

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ACPE Spiritual Care Professional Robert Wendel

ACPE Spiritual Care Professional Rev. Robert Alan Wendel reposed in the Lord on December 3, 2021 in the Washington Health System—Greene Hospital. He had suffered all his life from cerebral palsy, which gave him very limited use of his legs. For many years he was able to move around effectively using his crutches, but in the last two years he was confined to a wheelchair. 

Robert studied at Princeton Theological Seminary, where he received a Master of Divinity degree in 1979. He was ordained as a pastor in the American Baptist Churches in 1984, and was married in that same year to Kathryn. (They were divorced in 2002.) He worked at a number of social service positions from 1984 until 1994, when he began to serve as pastor of Baptist churches in New England and New York. After studies at Ashland Seminary, Ashland, Ohio in 2005, he started working as a hospital chaplain at the VA Medical Center in Beckley, WV. While working there he was active in the First Baptist Church in Beckley. After he moved to Waynesburg in 2015, he was active in the Waynesburg Ministerium and attended many meetings of the Greene County Commissioners as their unofficial chaplain. 

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ACPE Retired Educator Rev. Dan Austin McRight

ACPE Retired Educator Dan Austin McRight, 81, of Davidson, NC died on October 19, 2021. His career focus was that of training hospital chaplains through ACPE. Dan served in Atlanta, Tampa, Miami, and Nashville. This training was provided to pastors and students of many faith groups. A Celebration of Dan’s life of service will take place on Saturday Nov. 13 at 2 pm at the Davidson College Presbyterian Church. View Dan McRight's memorial with memories from three of his students with appreciation for ACPE.

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ACPE Emeritus Rev. Timothy Little

ACPE Emeritus Rev. Timothy Little passed away on the morning of October 12, 2021 in Sacramento, CA. 

After seminary, Tim served as the lead pastor of Hyde Park Presbyterian Church. His true calling as a chaplain was revealed when he and Sandy moved their three children to Mount Pleasant, Iowa where he served as the Chaplain at the Mount Pleasant Mental Health Institute. As a Chaplain, Tim embraced the idea that faith comes in many forms and that honoring people and their self-selected religious views is essential to a more peaceful and just human family. After a few years in Iowa, he had an opportunity to serve as the Director of Chaplaincy Services and training at the Georgia Mental Health Institute until 1988. He served 10 years as a Theological Consultant to the Tuskegee VA Medical Center, an originating board member of Paideia School in Atlanta, Georgia, and a long serving member of the Presbyterian Synod of the South. After 18 years of service in Georgia, Tim and Sandy moved to Sacramento where Tim was given the opportunity to develop and direct the newly formed program Clinical Pastoral Services, to train post graduate chaplains in a clinical setting and meet the needs of patients and staff at the University of California Davis Med Center. Throughout his professional career, Chaplin Little warmly touched many lives including patients and their families, but most importantly to him, his students who have continued his legacy of care, compassion, and concern for patients in hospitals, mental health clinics, prisons, and other institutions.

Chaplain Little served tirelessly on several national boards for clergy including the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, the Association of Mental Health Chaplains, the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, the Association of Mental Health Clergy, the Association of Professional Chaplains, and the Presbyterian Health and Welfare Association. His leadership and commitment to civil rights and mental health issues were called upon to participate in challenging conversations regarding medical and mental health ethics. He participated and supported disability awareness, diversity and inclusion, Interfaith Unity, social justice and peacemaking, and served on bioethics and ADA committees. Tim was known for his steady, calm nature and was honored with numerous awards including the prestigious Boisen Award from the Association of Mental Health Clergy.

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ACPE Friend Dr. James Edward "Jim" Hightower, Jr.

Dr. James Edward "Jim" Hightower, Jr. passed away suddenly on Friday, September 3, 2021. Jim was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He devoted his life to helping others as well as to spreading God's love to all those whose lives he touched. A native of Fort Valley, Georgia, Jim attended Shorter University and later earned his EdD from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. A devoted minister, Jim most recently led the congregations of Little Farms United Church of Christ in River Ridge, LA and Long Beach Presbyterian Church in Long Beach, MS. Jim touched the lives of so many through his beloved career as a family counselor, minister, and pastoral counselor. The Funeral service will be on September 18, 2021 at Central St. Matthew UCC.

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ACPE Retired Educator Rev. Dr. Jasper N. "Jap" Keith, Jr.

ACPE Retired Educator Jap Keith died on July 28, 2021. Jap was a founding father of ACPE, former president, distinguished service award recipient, long time regional director of the former southeast region, and a pillar of our association.

"Jap" Keith, Jr.'s memorial service was held on Saturday, August 28, at 11:00 am at First Presbyterian Church of Gainesville, 800 S. Enota Drive, NE, Gainesville, GA 30501. The service was livestreamed on the church's website.

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ACPE Retired Educator Reverend Joseph (Joe) Arthur Roberts

Joe looking at camera

Reverend Joseph (Joe) Arthur Roberts, passed from this world on Father's Day, June 20, 2021 in Dallas, TX from a sudden illness. He was born in Dallas on December 30, 1947.  He has joined his parents John Woodrow Roberts and Margaret Lucille Tresp and his brother John Leo Roberts on the other side.

He leaves behind siblings Mary Kathleen Roberts Dickey (Bill) and Christopher Allen Roberts (Klaudia). His daughter with his former wife Camille,  Elizabeth Kathleen Roberts, her son, Tristan Jacob Roberts, as well as his grandson Gabel Landon Falcon.  He had two children with his first wife, Dianne, Gina Dawn Roberts and Troy Marcus Roberts.

He is survived by his spouse, Reverend Patricia (Pat) Roberts (Cox) of Dallas, Texas. They married  in Salt Lake City, Utah on December 16, 2011. He was a devoted, loving and wonderful husband. Together, he and Pat were co-conspirators of ministry and mayhem. 

Joe was originally ordained in the Church of Christ. He received his BS from Dallas Christian College in 1998 and after graduating with a Master's of Divinity at Brite Theological Seminary December 2001 he became a minister in the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. He then became a chaplain and a chaplain educator, in Texas and in Indiana. He and Pat then co-pastored two churches, Milton Christian Church and Summerville Christian Church in Nova Scotia Canada. Joe was passonate about people and loved almost everyone he ever met. He touched many lives and was loved by many. He was intelligent, witty, and felt things deeply. He had a love for ministry and a zest for life. He was an introvert and appreciated the works of theologian Frederick Buechner.  He loved teaching and loved his students and watching their accomplishments in life. 

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ACPE Emeritus Harvey Berg

Harvey and Shirley looking at camera

Rev. Harvey M. Berg of Neenah, Wisconsin passed away on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at the age of 92.  Harvey died peacefully with family at his side.

Harvey was born in Whitehall, Wisconsin on January 27, 1929 to Melvin Berg and Mabel (Norlyn) Berg.  He graduated from Arcadia High School in 1946, St Olaf College in 1950, and Luther Seminary in 1954.   He subsequently earned a Masters in Theology from Luther Seminary and a Doctorate in Ministry from Andover Newton.  On the same day in May 1954, he graduated from the seminary, was commissioned into the army, and became engaged to Shirley Lois Utech, whom he married on February 15, 1955.

Harvey served as director of the Pastoral Care Department at St Luke’s Hospital in Milwaukee.  After his retirement in 1998, Harvey raised a substantial amount of money for an endowment to sustain the Pastoral Care Department into the future.  Harvey remained a chaplain in the US Army Reserve, rising to the rank of Colonel, and serving with various units in Wisconsin and Illinois.  He served his country for 38 years.

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ACPE Retired Educator Richard O'Donnell

Fr. O'DonnellFr. Richard Joseph O’Donnell, M.I. passed away at age 85 on May 18, 2021. He was a Priest for 57 years of the Ministers of the Infirm (Camillians), USA Camillian Delegation. Born in Brooklyn, New York, he was the third of four children.

His work included Vocation/Formation Director, ACPE Certified Educator for the CPE Program on the St. Camillus Campus for over 15 years, Director of Pastoral Care and Provincial of the North American Province. In 1995 he was elected Vicar General of the Order of St. Camillus stationed in Rome, Italy until 2001. He then returned to the USA taking up his role of Provincial of the North American Province. In 2013, Fr. Richard retired from his formal roles, but still remained active in ministry by visiting and praying with the sick and saying masses. He also continued to work as ACPE Certified Educator until he fully retired in 2017.

His last days were of comfort to him living in the environment he knew where he was surrounded by those he loved-his community. His father, mother, two brothers and sister preceded him in death. He is survived by his loving nephews and nieces. He will be dearly missed by all his Camillian confreres. A funeral Mass will be held at San Camillo, 10200 W. Bluemound Rd., Milwaukee, WI on Saturday, May 22, 2021. Visitation begins at 9:00am with Mass at 10:00am. He will be buried that afternoon in the Camillian cemetery at Our Lady of the Pines in Baraboo, Wisconsin. May his soul rest in peace.


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ACPE Emeritus Max R. Maguire

Max Maguire looking at camera

The Reverend Max R. Maguire, age 92, died peacefully at home on May 11 in North Oaks, MN. He was born in Dwight, Kansas, in 1928 in the telephone office where his family lived and worked on Main Street. In his early years Max developed a natural affinity for visiting with others. As a child he would often walk up and down Main Street, conversing with shopkeepers and passersby.

From his father Max inherited a strong moral compass which would guide him throughout his life. He recalled how his father would recognize Ku Klux Klan marchers by their boots and call out their names as they walked by. After college and seminary, plus two more years of study in clinical pastoral education (ACPE), Max was certified for his career as a hospital chaplain and educator. He served as president of both ACPE and the College of Chaplains. The merging of Abbott and Northwestern Hospitals brought him to Minneapolis in 1971, where he opened a chaplaincy department with students training for chaplaincy, pastoral care and counseling.

He is survived by his wife Martha, daughter Kimberly and son-in-law Dr. Peter Kahn, son Kenton and grandchildren Matthew and Megan Maguire. The memorial service is at 2 o'clock Saturday, June 19 at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. Memorials may be directed to the Westminster Counseling Center at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2200 Marquette Ave., Minneapolis, MN, 55403.


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ACPE Retired Educator David Hurst

David and Edie looking at camera

David Hurst, retired ACPE Educator and retired AAPC Pastoral Counselor, died on April 27, 2021 after a protracted illness. He had been in nursing care at University Living in Ann Arbor, Michigan for several weeks and was finally placed on hospice where he died soon after.

David was interviewed for CPE in the late 1960s by the late Ed Thornton while David was a patient with bipolar disorder in a state mental hospital.  Ed was insightful enough to know that David was getting the help he needed, and that his hospitalization would yield deep insight into the human condition, similar to the experience of Anton Boisen, an early founder of CPE. David's early CPE was supervised by Ed and by Al Meiburg at the Crozer Chester Medical Center.

After moving to Ann Arbor he established Pastoral Care Services of Southeastern Michigan where he saw clients in the late 1970s at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church of Ann Arbor. He was also a CPE educator for a time at University of Michigan Hospitals in the early 1980s, filling in after CPE educator Herb Hillebrand left. During the 1990's David served as a CPE educator at William Beaumont Hospital just north of Detroit with Carl Buxo. Overlapping many of those years he ran the Dearborn Pastoral Counseling Center located at Cherry Hill Presbyterian Church just west of Detroit. 

In his last years, David and Edie and his daughter Lorel alternated Sunday worship between Ypsilanti First Methodist and Ann Arbor First Baptist. He and Edie had three sons - Emil, Gary, and Karl - and several grandchildren. A husband, father, and grandfather – David leaves behind many in whom he invested his life – both personally as a friend and family member and professionally as a clinical educator and counselor. A small, private memorial service was officiated by the Rev. Dr. Paul Simpson-Duke, co-pastor of First Baptist Church of Ann Arbor.

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ACPE Retired Educator Roland Jack Follis

Roland looking at cameraAfter a nine-year battle with dementia, Dr. Roland Jack Follis passed away April 23, 2021, in Rush Foundation Hospital with family by his side. While working on his doctorate, Jack organized the training program in pastoral care at Orleans Parish Prison. Upon completing his degree, Jack was hired as Chaplain of East Mississippi State Hospital where he organized the Department of Pastoral Care to train ordained ministers to counsel people in crisis. After moving to Meridian, he became the softball coach at the First Baptist Church for several years.

 In 1993, Jack retired from the hospital and took a position at Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, Miss., to organize and oversee their pastoral care training. He received a divinity fellowship in 1996 at Harvard University in Boston, Mass. He officially retired in 2003 to spend time with his family, support Sylvia's hobbies, enjoy his personal library, and write about his life in ministry. A funeral service will be held Wednesday, April 28, 2021, at First Baptist Church of Meridian at 10:30 a.m., with visitation at 9:30 a.m. The graveside service will immediately follow at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Cemetery, in Newton, Miss. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Jack's name to First Baptist Church of Meridian (, Disabled American Veterans (, or Alzheimer's Association ( Friends may view the online register and sign the guestbook at

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ACPE Retired Educator David F. Carlson

David looking at cameraACPE Retired Educator David F Carlson died in Minnesota on February 3, 2021, at the age of 82. He served as a Lutheran pastor, chaplain, ACPE educator, and then as creator of the Minister of Health program at Iowa Lutheran Hospital (Des Moines, Iowa) in the 1980’s.  He ran CPE groups for the Ministers of Health while he was in Des Moines. He was also a collaborator with Granger Westberg in the vision for the Parish Nurse program.  Dave served parishes in Wisconsin, then as a chaplain in mental health, prison and hospital ministry.  He became a certified ACPE supervisor in the mid-80’s and worked at Iowa Lutheran until moving to Meriter Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin; then to the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview in Minneapolis and later to Allina CPE program in the Twin Cities. Dave was an innovator with vision and optimism. His legacy continues in the ministry of his students and the Health Ministry Association he founded.


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ACPE Spiritual Care Professional Paul S. Park

Paul looking at camera

ACPE Spiritual Care Professional Rev. Paul S. Park, 68, of Peoria, formerly of Morton, passed away on Sunday, December 29, 2019, at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, from long-term complications following cancer. He was born on October 15, 1951, in Rockford, Ill., to Richard and Ruth (Ehmen) Park. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Rosalie "Rosy" (DeWall) Park, who he met while teaching at the Mt. Morris School District. They married in Forreston, Ill., on June 7, 1975.

Prior to meeting his wife, Rosy, Pastor Paul traveled to India, Thailand and Japan. His Asian experiences were unique in that he served in the Christian Mission Field in India, was involved in Agriculture in Japan, and was an Ordained Theravadin Buddhist Monk in Thailand.

During his 35 years in Peoria, Pastor Paul served as a chaplain at OSF St. Francis Medical Center and was the former Director of Spiritual Care at Lutheran Hillside Village. Knapp-Johnson Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Morton is handling arrangements. To leave an online condolence for the family, visit

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ACPE Emeritus Thomas H. Cole

Tom Cole looking at camera

ACPE Emeritus Thomas H. Cole passed away on Saturday evening, April 3rd, 2021 after a very fulfilling 96 years. Chaplain Cole was preceded in death by his wife of almost 60 years, Eleanor Ophelia Cole, RN and parents Rev. Walton R. Cole ThD and Inis F. M. Cole and brother, Rev. Kenneth Cole of Walton, KY.  He is survived by his brother, Charles D. Cole of Granville, OH. 

As ACPE Resident with the Institute of Religion in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Tom Cole was assigned his clinical practice at the Memorial Baptist Hospital System in 1960. That same year he joined the Pastoral Care Department and soon became its Director. As an ACPE Supervisor he began the first autonomous ACPE Residency in the expanding Memorial Hospital System. Tom retired in 1989 having served more than 29 years. He returned often to Memorial to serve as adjunct ACPE Supervisor over the next decade and more. Tom has been a mentor and supervisor to many of the ACPE supervisors and certified chaplains who have served across the nation.

Committal Service will be held on April 17, 2021 at 11:00 am at Hillside Cemetery, 900 N Valley Street, Cuero, TX

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ACPE Retired Educator George West

George smiling at camera

ACPE Retired Educator George West of St. Stephen, SC, entered into eternal rest on Saturday, March 13, 2021.

Those left to cherish his memory are: his wife, Mrs. Mary L. West; daughter, Rosalind (Marcus) Culver; grandchildren, Marcus, Jr. and Tina; siblings, Flora W. (Joseph James) Gethers and Sarah L. West; aunt, Alberta Montgomery; brother-in-law, James (Rosalind) Hall; sister-in-law, Doris Davis; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by: his parents, Reverend Peter L. West and Mrs. Louise Jager West; brother and sister-in-law, Bishop James C. West and his wife, Miriam; and sister, Reverend A. Rebecca West

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ACPE Retired Educator Mary Wilkins Mary Wilkins looking at camera

ACPE Retired Educator Mary Murton Wilkins of Ashburn, Virginia, beloved sister, aunt, and friend to many, passed on Saturday morning the 27th of February. Mary was born in Quicksburg, Virginia on October the 4th, 1939 to parents Gilbert F. and Mabel H. Wilkins.

Following seminary, she was appointed by the Bishop to serve as the minister of two small churches, thirty-five to forty miles south of Washington, D.C.  It was during this assignment, which included working with complex family problems, that Mary became engaged in and developed a passion for pastoral counseling.  This introduced her to opportunities in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), and eventually led her to a career with Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center and later with Swedish Covenant Hospital, both in Chicago, Illinois.

She is survived by sisters Phyllis Hughitt and Barbara Bonner, and brother Ed Wilkins, and their extended families.  Mary will be deeply missed by her family, and remembered by a close friend who said “she drives like the devil and preaches like an angel.” Arrangements are by Adams-Green Funeral Home, 721 Elden Street, Herndon, VA. Visitation will be Saturday afternoon, March 6th at 1 pm followed by a private service at 2 pm.  Burial will be held at Zirkle Cemetery, 1001 River Road, New Market VA on Sunday afternoon, March 7th at 1 pm.

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ACPE Retired Educator Ruth Walsh

R Walsh

ACPE Retired Educator Ruth Dimock Walsh, 79, of Manassas, Virginia, beloved mother, grandmother and friend, passed away peacefully at Virginia Hospital Center with her daughter by her side on Thursday, January 21, 2021. Ruth crossed over into heaven due to complications from COVID. Ruth is survived by her daughter, Julia Ruth Vaughn, son-in-law Patrick Vaughn from Manassas, VA and their children Alexandra “Allie” Grace Vaughn and William Joseph Vaughn. 

Ruth became an ACPE Certified Educator in 2008 and went on to teach Clinical Pastoral Education to priests, chaplains and professional caregivers to help them give their best spiritual support to those in great need at their end of life.

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