Saturday, August 26, 2017

In Memoriam: Virginia K. Hearn 1930-2017

A sad end to a long life: my friend Ginny Hearn died last Saturday, August 19, at age 87.  She had suffered pneumonia and also a stroke.

Ginny was a member of the SF Bay Area Chapter of Evangelical Women's Caucus back in the 1970s and 1980s and attended several national conferences.  See I believe she also edited the EWC Update, a newsletter, for a few years.  

"Of course, we know it was a broken heart," writes her step-daughter, Christine Hearn.  Ginny's husband Walter had died on April 11, four months earlier.  He was four years older, born in 1926.

Ginny wrote and/or edited several books, including Our Struggle To Serve: The Stories of 15 Evangelical Women in 1979.  Reta Finger, Ruth Schmidt, Virginia Ramey Mollenkott and I are among those who wrote about the problems of trying to use our gifts in the church.

She was an adjunct professor of communications at New College, Berkeley, for 10-20 years; teaching journal writing was her specialty.  See the tribute on the New College site:
She also worked as an editor at His Magazine (InterVarsity Press), the Christian Medical Society, and Tyndale House Publishers before launching a book editing business with her husband.

I visited Ginny on July 11-12 in Berkeley when I was in town briefly to deliver my daughter's dog to her in Oakland (after caring for it while my daughter was traveling). 

Ginny repeated, "I am disconsolate.  I am broken-hearted.  Walter was the best of men."  She hadn't left her home more than a few times since April.  Food was brought to her.  Friends from First Pres Berkeley came (one per day), to check up on her, as organized by Christine, her step-daughter, who spent most of Saturdays and Sundays with her.

Ginny also said, "I just don't know what to do with my life."  "The future is a blank."  "Why am I still living?  God could have taken us both."

I argued with her, "That would be hard for God to do.  I don't think God could really do that."

"Yes, he could," she argued.

I asked her what the Westminster Catechism says about what we are supposed to do with our lives.

She answered correctly "We're to glorify God and enjoy him forever."



Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God,[1] and to enjoy him [sic] forever.[2]

Thus she still had her long-term memory even though she had gotten confused about some things and had very weak short-term memory.  Her sister Millie (b. 1932) had died of Alzheimer's a few years ago in a care center in Colorado.

Nevertheless, Ginny was seriously depressed and could not summon up enough energy to carry on in a new phase of her life.  I did pray with her and tried to point out small steps she could take.

When I asked her to name things she was grateful for, she said, "This sister K.J." [Katherine] and "51 years with Walt."

The service will be at First Presbyterian Church, Berkeley, in a few weeks.  

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