Harold Germer, Former Board of Educational Ministries Staff Member, Dies in Florida

ABCUSA > Latest Features > Harold Germer, Former Board of Educational Ministries Staff Member, Dies in Florida

Harold Germer, Former Board of Educational Ministries Staff Member, Dies in Florida

VALLEY FORGE, PA (4/15/16)—Dr. Harold (Hal) D. Germer, who served the American Baptist Board of Educational Ministries (BEM) in the 1980s, passed away at Baptist Medical Center, Jacksonville, Fla., on April 7. He was 80.

As director of Collegiate Education Services for BEM, Germer coordinated the American Baptist Association of Colleges and Universities (ABACU). “Hal did great work with the ABC-related colleges and universities as staff to ABACU,” says Dr. Jean Kim, former BEM executive director. “I made several trips with him to campuses; he was well known and respected by the presidents and deans. I very much appreciated his sense of humor and the energy that Hal brought to his work.”

From 1992-2000, Germer was president of American Baptist-related Ottawa University, Ottawa, Kan. He is credited with establishing the university’s Milwaukee campus, initiating renovation of several campus buildings and implementing university-wide procedures for tenure and promotions.

Previous to his work with BEM, he served Ottawa University as assistant professor of Religion, university dean and founding dean of the Phoenix Center (now the Phoenix campus) for adults completing baccalaureate degrees.

Germer spent six months after his retirement at the Centre for Baptist History and Heritage at Regent’s Park College of the University of Oxford, Oxford, England, researching sixteenth century Baptist influences on American churches.

During his student days at Andover Newton Theological School, he was president of the Baptist Student Movement. He served as the assistant of the Memorial Chapel at Harvard University when he was a graduate student studying theology in the university’s school of arts and sciences.

Germer received an honorary doctorate from Alderson-Broaddus University, Philippi, W.Va.

Dr. Don Ng, past president of American Baptist Churches USA, who worked with Germer at BEM, says, “Thanks be to God for enabling us to know such a man of faith and vision. May God be with his wife and family at this tender moment.”

He met his wife, Laura, at The Baptist Student Conference in 1956 at the Green Lake Conference Center, Wis., where Germer’s ashes will be scattered. Laura’s father, Dr. Luther Wesley Smith, was key in acquiring the conference center, in the 1940s when he was executive secretary of the American Baptist Board of Education and Publication.

His wife survives Germer, along with his sons, Paul and John, his daughter, Elizabeth, and his grandson, Cole. Send expressions of sympathy to Laura Germer, P.O. Box 15837, Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach, FL 32035.

A memorial service on April 11 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Amelia Island, Fla., honored Germer’s life.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial gifts designated for the “Hal Germer Memorial Fund” at Ottawa University—1001 S. Cedar St., Ottawa, KS 66067—to support needs of the newly constructed Gangwish Library. A specially designated research and reading area will honor Germer’s legacy. Contact Vice President Paul Bean (785.248.2330, paul.bean@ottawa.edu) with questions.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies—the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA—ministers as the caring heart and serving hands of Jesus Christ across the United States and Puerto Rico through a multitude of initiatives that focus on developing leaders, equipping disciples and healing communities.

American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.