Rev. Donald Sevetson

The Rev. Donald J. Sevetson, who served for 16 years as Conference Minister of the United Church of Christ's Central Pacific Conference and pastored churches in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Hawaii, died in hospice care Wednesday, July 31, in Portland, Ore. He was 85.

Remembered as an advocate of the UCC's work for the public good and an expert in its history and polity, Rev. Sevetson also loved research and writing. In retirement, he authored books and articles on the Rev. George H. Atkinson, a Congregational missionary who started Oregon’s system of public schools.

A native of Hinsdale, IL, and a graduate of Macalester College and Chicago Theological Seminary, he served at First Congregational Church, Minneapolis; Parkview UCC, White Bear Lake; and as Associate Conference Minister of the Minnesota Conference, UCC, before moving to Oregon with his family in 1980. As the UCC's conference minister for Oregon and southern Idaho, he played a critical role in the growth and development of dozens of congregations and in the establishment of the denomination's insurance program, an achievement from which he took special pride. After stepping down in 1996, he took interim positions with UCC conferences in Connecticut and Hawaii and pursued his historical research.

A fan of the Trail Blazers, golf, and the works of James Thurber, he is survived by Mary Louise, his wife of 62 years; his son Philip (Deborah Lambert-Sevetson), his daughter Andrea (T.C. Evans); his daughter Erika (Tony Kugler); his grandchildren Jessica, Ian, and Clara; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and siblings-in-law.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25, at First Congregational UCC, 1126 S.W. Park Ave., Portland. Donations in honor of his life may be made to Macalester College, the ACLU, or the music program at First Congregational Church, Portland, Ore.

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