Monday, November 11, 2013

Requiescat in Pace: The Right Rev. Douglas Edwin Theuner

The Integrity board and staff are saddened to share news of the death of the Right Rev. Douglas Edwin Theuner, eighth Bishop of New Hampshire, on November 8th, 2013.  He was 74. Bishop Theuner was receiving hospice care in Concord, N.H., when he died peacefully in his sleep.

Bishop Theuner's death was announced on the diocesan pages of the current bishop, the Right Rev. A. Robert Hirschfeld. He recalled for the Concord Monitor a voice mail which Theuner left him shortly after his consecration. "He said, 'Number 10, this is Number 8. I’m not going to give you any advice, but don’t be timid. If there’s one thing I regret from my time as bishop, it was that I was too timid.' Of course, everyone will say the words 'timid' and 'Theuner' don’t belong in the same sentence. He was never afraid. He embodied this kind of fearlessness that can only come when you’ve become soaked in the love of God."  Theuner was instrumental in getting the Episcopal Church and his peers in the African church to face the AIDS crisis.

The Right Rev. Gene Robinson, who came out as a gay man while serving as Theuner's Canon to the Ordinary and succeeded him as Bishop in 2003, told the Monitor, "Doug Theuner is the reason I have a life in ministry. He was one of the boldest defenders of justice I’ve ever known."

Born in New York, Bishop Theuner graduated from Bexley Hall and served congregations in Ohio and Connecticut before being consecrated bishop in 1986.  He continued to work after retirement, despite facing a number of physical ailments.

Despite his passion for his work, he had an irreverent side. "He was always poking fun at the pretentiousness at the church in general, and at the bishops specifically," Robinson told the Monitor. "When people asked what they should call him, he would always say, 'Why don’t you call me Doug, because that’s what God will call me when I go to heaven.'"

God called, and Doug answered.

The Burial Office was read this morning at St. Paul's: Concord, and a requiem Eucharist was held this afternoon at the Church of the Epiphany in Newport.

Bishop Theuner is survived by his wife Jane "Sue"; his two children Elizabeth Susan DiTommaso (Frank), Nicholas Frederick Kipp Theuner and his wife Charlotte Driver; his grandchildren Amy Carmela DiTommaso and her husband Jarrod Manzer, Alexandra Marie and Mariana Teresa DiTommaso, Dakota Jean and Megan Nicole Theuner; and great-granddaughter Ophelia Manzer DiTommaso. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

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