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Friday, July 2, 2010

Sad News

My longtime friend and mentor, Merle C. Hansen's wife Audrey died last night. She was in her eighties and had been in declining health in recent years as has Merle. Merle and Audrey were members of All Saints' Church in Aliquippa in the early 1980s while Gale and I were new members there. We were in a house group that met in their home and have stayed in touch ever since. The Hansens were used to moving. They moved 25 times while Merle was a naval officer and at least a half a dozen times since. He was the skipper of a diesel submarine in the 1950's and commanded the last submarine division comprised of diesel boats. He was also the officer in charge of designing the rescue of the USS Mayaquez, a merchant marine ship taken captive during the Vietnam War. He tells great sea stories.

The Hansens moved to Aliquippa because Merle was tasked with moving the Brotherhood of St.Andrew Inc. office from York PA to Ambridge in 1983. He was the Executive Director of the Brotherhood after retirement from the Navy. Christopher Leighton the rector of All Saints' convinced them to move to Hopewell Twp rather than Sewickley and become members of All Saints' rather than St. Stephen's -- quite a coup for young Fr. Leighton!

Merle was my mentor and trainer in Evangelism Explosion(EE)and recruited me to serve as his successor as the BStA Executive Director. We often taught the Brotherhood Evangelism Program "Articulating Our Faith (AOF)" side by side with a little help from Christopher Leighton -- the Three Musketeers or Three Stooges -- take your pick. Audrey and he were married for 55.5 years and last lived in a retirement community in Groton CT. Their son Mace was also a submariner (nukes) and now works for Electric Boat in Groton overseeing construction and refitting of submarines.
Christopher will be conducting a memorial service on July 17 at the retirement community.

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