Monday, January 20, 2014
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William Wimer, III

William (Bill) Engels Wimer, III, a retired minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC), passed away Jan. 14, 2014. He was 96 years old and celebrated in late December his 70th wedding anniversary with his beloved wife, Alice. The couple met in 1942 when they both were students at Yale Divinity School and were married a year later.

Mr. Wimer was born in Philadelphia on Aug. 27, 1917. He received an A.B. with honors from Ursinus College in 1939 and a Bachelor of Divinity with highest honors from Lancaster Theological Seminary in 1942. Following graduate work at Yale, he was ordained in 1945 as a minister in what became the UCC, the church he served and supported for 69 years.

Among other positions, Mr. Wimer was pastor at the Immanuel Congregational Church in Beverly, Mass. and the Kingston Congregational Church in Kingston, R.I. From 1963-1981, he was the director of the Office of Audio Visuals for the Stewardship Council of the UCC, where he combined his artistic skills in filmmaking with his commitment to presenting the church's message in new ways.

Mr. Wimer was a committed liberal and pacifist, actively supporting the civil rights movement and opposing the Vietnam War. He was a conscientious objector during World War II and an early advocate for same-sex marriage.

An accomplished raconteur, Mr. Wimer had an exceptional gift for meeting people and putting them at ease. He was blessed with a keen sense of humor, an infectious laugh and a prodigious memory for names and details about those he met many years before. These abilities served him well in his profession and in his busy social life. He followed all the arts closely and was particularly devoted to the theatre and the opera, where he knew and could passably sing all the parts. He had a special affinity for the works of William Blake, Robert Motherwell and Richard Wagner, where his Brúnnhilde was not to be missed.

Bill and Alice had three children of their own and many surrogate children drawn to them over 70 years together. Their work led them to live in and adopt the influence of many locations, including Minnesota, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California and England. Following retirement, they were among the first residents of Edgewood in North Andover, where their outgoing personalities and ready cheer found an ideal home.

Mr. Wimer is survived by his wife, Alice H. (Godfrey) Wimer of North Andover, Mass.; children Allan Wimer (wife Robin Weiss) of Key West, Fla., William E. Wimer, IV, of West Yarmouth, Mass., and Alice (Wimer) Erickson (husband, Ken Erickson) of Gloucester, Mass.; grandchildren, Jeffery Wimer (wife Julie Braun Wimer) of Scotch Plains, N.J. and Christopher Wimer of New York, N.Y.; and great-grandchild, Alyssa Wimer of Scotch Plains, N.J.

A memorial service was held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 18 at South Church, 41 Central St., Andover, MA 01810. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to South Church.