William Gay, 89, Lincoln, died September 11, 2009 at Eastmont Towers. William was born on 4/4/1920 to Frederick Parker Gay and Catherine Mills Jones Gay in Berkeley, Caif. He was the Valedictorian of his class at the Loomis School in 1937 and graduated from Harvard College in 1941, where he majored in Greek and Philosophy. As a conscientious objector during World War II, William served in the 253rd Medical Battalion in New Guinea and the Philippines. Following the war, he volunteered with the American Friends Service Committee, helping to ferry pregnant mares to Poland.
He attended Columbia University, where he earned a M.S. in comparative religion, and Union Theological Seminary, New York City, where he earned an M.Div. William served as a pastor in the United Church of Christ for 33 years in four parishes in Ohio. In the 1960s, he was the Moderator of the Ohio Conference of the United Church of Christ, and served as President of the Miami Valley Mental Health Association. After retirement, he taught Greek and Hebrew at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. With his wife, Annabeth (whom he met at Union Seminary), he wrote a number of hymns. One, "Carol of Hope," has been published in a variety of hymnals including those used by the Catholic, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches, as well as the Pilgrim Hymnal of the United Church of Christ.
William is survived by his wife of 60 years, Annabeth; his son, Timothy and daughter-in-law Chris, all of Lincoln; as well two grandsons, Frederick of Laguna Niguel, Calif., and Bertram, of Los Angeles. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sisters, Louisa and Lucia, and his brother, Parker.
A memorial service will be held September 19 at 2 p.m. at First-Plymouth United Church of Christ in Lincoln. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Mission Boards of the United Church of Christ through First Plymouth Church. Condolences and personal reflections may be left online at www.roperandsons.com.