Charles H. Lockyear, the last survivor of the first three officers of the United Church of Christ and the first director of finance and treasurer, passed away on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 in Virginia Beach, Va. He was 93.
"Charles will be remembered for his gracious manner and his deep love and support of the United Church of Christ in its formative years," said the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, UCC general minister and president. "His diligent commitment to the ministry of financial stewardship, to which he devoted his life, was exemplary. On a lighter note, Charles will also be remembered fondly for his love of music and fine dining. He marched and played in the firefighter’s marching band, and he and his colleagues always knew where to find the best restaurants in any city. We thank God for blessing the United Church of Christ with the servant leadership of Charles Lockyear."
Lockyear became treasurer of the denomination in 1961, four years after the 1957 union of the Evangelical and Reformed Church and Congregational Christian Churches formed the United Church of Christ. He was previously an assistant treasurer and treasurer of the Evangelical and Reformed Church. Lockyear was the only surviving officer of the five final officers of the Evangelical and Reformed Church, and was the only survivor of the first three officers of the UCC.
"His stewardship [as] director of finance and treasurer of the United Church of Christ will stand as a permanent and treasured contribution not only in the church that he loved, but also in the ecumenical agencies that he also served with great devotion," said the Rev. Avery D. Post, UCC president from 1977 to 1989. Post and Lockyear both retired from the church in 1989, before the national offices moved from New York City to Cleveland.
"Since his retirement, Charles continued to be a visible presence in our denomination as a faithful and encouraging presence at General Synods. This year’s Synod is the first that he missed," Black said.
Prior to joining the national staff of the Evangelical and Reformed Church, Lockyear was an auditor for National City Bank of Evansville, Ind. During World War II, he worked with the U.S. Army’s Finance Department.
Born in Evansville, Ind., in 1920, Lockyear graduated from Central High School, and later studied at the Advanced Army Finance School, the American Institute of Banking and the National Association of Bank Auditors and Comptrollers School at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He earned his doctorate of humane letters in 1974 from UCC-related Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves, Mo.
Lockyear married his high-school sweetheart, Catherine Louise (Schlumpf), in 1943, and the two spent 70 years together. They have two sons, Stephen and Charles, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
The family has asked that memorial contributions be made to the Charles H. Lockyear Scholarship Fund at Eden Theological Seminary on the school's website. The fund was presented to Lockyear at General Synod 1989.