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Naida Sutch Gillespie

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Naida Sutch Gillespie died Tuesday, Aug. 17, while asleep in her living room.

Naida’s education included high school in Lake Township, Ohio; a bachelors degree from Taylor University in 1945; a masters from Oberlin Graduate School of Theology in 1953; a M.Div. degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City in 1961; additional work at the Pastoral Psychology Service Institute in Cleveland and numerous other educational opportunities. She was ordained by the United Church of Christ in 1971.

From 1962 to 1965, she served as missionary-chaplain at a girls’ school sponsored by the United Church Board for World Ministry in South Africa, as a director of Christian education in several churches, including the Euclid Avenue and Mt. Zion UCC churches in Cleveland, and as minister at Brownhelm UCC. She was also a community organizer in the near west side of Cleveland, helping inner-city people improve the quality of their lives.

Besides her pastorates, work for UCC included Western Reserve Association moderator in 1974, Ohio Conference secretary 1977–79, delegate to General Synod, 1973 and 1975, vice president of Greater Cleveland Inter-Church Council, 1973–74, and associate association minister for the Northern Area, 1983–88. She served as interim association minister for the Central Southeast Association and moderator of the Western Reserve Association, Ohio Conference, and as pastor and interim pastor for several churches in southeast Ohio, sometimes with her husband, Mac. Naida was most recently a member of Highlands UCC Church in Springfield.

Naida leaves behind her husband, Malcolm, two stepchildren, a foster daughter, four grandsons and a large extended family who will miss her terribly. Naida donated her body to the Wright State University Medical School. In lieu of flowers, donations in Naida Sutch’s name can be sent to United Church Homes, 170 E. Center St., Marion, OH 43302, or Friends Care Nursing Home, 150 E. Herman St., Yellow Springs, OH 45387.


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