Tributes in brief: Howard Garey, Eleanor Hutchens, Anthony Lewis, Rosalie Lopez, Diana Tufts, Monica Reller, Helen Sousa

Howard B. Garey, 97, Burlington, Vermont

Howard Garey served the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States for 33 years as a member of World Order magazine’s Editorial Board, helping shape its writing standards and contributing numerous editorials, articles, reviews, columns and translations. A polyglot, published scholar in linguistics and professor for four decades at Yale University, he passed away September 27, 2014.

In a letter of tribute, the National Assembly wrote, “His rich and full life of ninety-seven years, decades of which were spent in capable service to the Faith of God, is surely to be celebrated.”

World Order, established with the encouragement of Shoghi Effendi as a magazine addressing issues of broad social concern from a Bahá’í perspective, was originally published 1935–1949. With his Yale faculty colleague Firuz Kazemzadeh — a longtime National Assembly member — Howard was serving on the quarterly’s Editorial Board at its re-launching in 1966, and continued in that role through 1999.

As with all members of the Editorial Board, according to fellow board member Betty Fisher, Howard “solicited articles, read articles for acceptance or rejection, edited articles, consulted with the Board about the makeup of issues, proofread galleys on occasion, wrote editorials, wrote Interchange columns, wrote articles and wrote reviews.”

An obituary with more details on his varied academic accomplishments can be accessed here.

Eleanor S. Hutchens, 96, Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Eleanor Hutchens was a founding member of the Bahá’í Club of the University of Illinois in 1935 and longtime pillar of the greater Champaign/Urbana Bahá’í community. She served the National Spiritual Assembly for many years as a member of its literature reviewing committee as well as on editorial boards for The Bahá’í World, Bahá’í News and World Order magazine.

She passed away Sept. 28, 2014. An extensive obituary can be accessed here.

Among services not listed in that article, Eleanor was a delegate to the Bahá’í National Convention in 1948, 1970 and 1971. She served on the National Reviewing Committee 1951–1974, the World Order editorial board 1946–1948 (she also contributed a dozen articles), the Bahá’í News editorial board 1946–1947 and 1951-1952, and the The Bahá’í World committee 1954–1958.

Anthony M. Lewis Jr., 81, Winter Springs, Florida

Tony Lewis was an enthusiastic teacher and builder of Bahá’í community from the start of his 48 years in the Faith. Working as an educator in the health sciences, he served as a Bahá’í pioneer for five years in Jamaica, the land of his heritage. He passed away September 10, 2014.

A message of tribute from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States notes, “His devotion, conscientiousness, and many other qualities of spirit, and his wide-ranging, highly capable services to the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh … are warmly appreciated and will be fondly remembered.”

Educated at Columbia University, Tony accepted the Bahá’í Faith while in his 30s while living in the Teaneck area, New Jersey, and began serving on the Spiritual Assembly almost immediately. He was health careers director at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York in 1975 when he took a position in Jamaica’s Ministry of Education.

Just before the move he married his wife, Gloria, and they brought up children Wendy and Scott. He had the bounty of witnessing his wife and both his parents embracing the Faith during his sojourn in Jamaica. The Lewises returned to New Jersey in 1981, and moved to Florida later that decade.

Over the years Tony was elected as a delegate to the U.S. Bahá’í National Convention from two states. He served on the National Assembly’s United Nations Committee, regional teaching committees for New Jersey and Florida, and the New Jersey Schools Committee. His enthusiastic teaching of the Faith encompassed fireside and proclamation gatherings and support for university Bahá’í clubs.

Rosalie D. Lopez, 89, Okaloosa County, Florida

Rose Lopez served administratively at the Bahá’í World Center for many years after close to a decade at the Bahá’í National Center, serving part of that time in the key role of secretary of the National Teaching Committee. She also served with the National Spiritual Assembly’s Secretariat and helped develop the Office of Persian-American Affairs (now Persian Public Information Office). She passed away November 1, 2014.

In a letter of tribute, the National Assembly wrote, “Skilled and able, judicious and circumspect, dignified yet modest, warm, gentle, and engaging, Rose was liberally endowed with golden character traits that made her shine in every form of service she undertook.”

Brought up and educated in California, Rose was an artist, educator, social worker and office administrator. She embraced the Bahá’í Faith in 1965, followed soon by her husband of many years, Ernest, with whom she brought up three sons. She served on regional teaching committees before joining the Bahá’í National Center staff in 1974, working closely with then-Secretary-General Glenford Mitchell. She then worked at the World Center in Haifa, Israel, from 1982 until returning to California in 1998; the couple settled in Florida a few years later.

Diana J. Tufts, 77, Camas, WA

Diana Tufts traveled widely and moved to several localities in Alaska, Hawaii and the U.S. Northwest to teach the Faith; encourage fellow Bahá’ís, especially youth, in teaching; and help build communities. She passed away September 22, 2014.

In a letter of condolence to her husband, Raymond Tufts, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States praised her “devoted efforts in service to the unifying teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, over the course of several decades and in a wide range of roles. …”

Also, a letter from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Alaska — where Diana spent 16 years as a pioneer for the Faith — said in part, “Her energy, laughter, positive outlook and infectious enthusiasm charmed all who knew her, and she will be missed.”

A Westerner in upbringing, Diana found the Bahá’í Faith in Hawaii, where her lifelong pattern of organizing Bahá’í youth activities was formed. She brought two children with her to Kodiak Island, Alaska, in 1972. There she met and married Ray, and the family grew to total five children.

“Diana’s efforts for the advancement of the Cause included service as Secretary of her Local Spiritual Assembly, Secretary of the Southwest Alaska Teaching Committee, delegate to the National Convention, public speaker, youth camp counselor, Bahá’í parade float designer, cook and frequent travel teacher,” the letter from Alaska notes. “She and Ray continued to visit and travel teach periodically in Alaska even after relocating out of Alaska in the late 1980s.”

Education was her professional calling, and her home was a magnet for young people everywhere she lived. Settling in rural Alsea, Oregon, she was instrumental in summer retreats informally dubbed “Lobstock” — they took place in the Lobster Valley — that confirmed many young people as Bahá’ís and teachers of the Faith.

She and Ray moved to Washougal, Washington, the farthest northeast suburb of Portland, Oregon, and helped assure the establishment of its first Local Spiritual Assembly in 2000.

Monica A. Reller, 97, Fairfield, California

Monica Reller helped build and organize Bahá’í communities for many years in Colombia and the United States. She passed away July 15, 2014.

A teacher of English, diction and singing, Monica was in her 40s when she ventured from her home in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1959 to serve the Bahá’í Faith in Medellin, Colombia, relocating in later years in Cali, the San Andrés Islands and Bogotá. She traveled to numerous localities to find souls receptive to the Bahá’í teachings as well as to facilitate the formation of Local Spiritual Assemblies and assist the local believers in maintaining the administration. Except for three years living in Florida — during which she worked with the Deep South Teaching Project — she remained in Colombia through 1977. She moved to Arizona on first returning to the United States before settling in California.

Helen R.G. Sousa, 84, Amherst, Massachusetts

Helen Sousa provided a variety of services to the Bahá’í Faith over many decades, including production of the French newsletter Les Nouvelles Baha’is, serving on the board for Child’s Way magazine (the predecessor to Brilliant Star), helping edit publications of the Association for Bahá’í Studies, and serving on boards supporting operations of Green Acre Bahá’í School in Maine. Her home in Amherst was the scene of generous hospitality to international groups of students. An active teacher of the Faith, she served for a year on the state goals committee in Massachusetts.

She passed away September 19, 2014, after a long, debilitating bout with rheumatoid arthritis. A detailed obituary, including the story of her parents’ narrow escapes from turmoil in Russia and Germany, can be accessed here.


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