The Reverend Gary Carroll Hauze of Salisbury, North Carolina, passed away peacefully on January 1, 2023, after several years of failing health.
Gary was born in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, in 1948. He was the eldest child of Donald B. Hauze, Sr. and Ruth M. Smith Hauze. Gary spent his early childhood in the care of his mother and a small army of doting aunts in upstate Pennsylvania while his father worked at Bethlehem Steel in Pottstown. Gary’s family relocated to Pottstown before the birth of his brother Donald Jr. in 1950. There, he attended public school, played football and piano, flirted with girls, worked at the Tropical Treat drive-in, and was mentored by the Reverend Doctor Paul Scheirer of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Stowe.
Gary worked construction and other jobs to put himself through Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina. At Catawba, he studied religion in preparation for the ministry and met his lifelong love, Linda Anne Young of Burlington, North Carolina. Gary and Linda married in 1969, and in 1972 Gary earned his Master of Divinity degree magna cum laude from Harvard Divinity School. He was ordained in the United Church of Christ shortly thereafter. Gary also studied toward a doctorate in Biblical studies at Duke University, but he left school to pursue his true calling: Christian ministry.
Before ordination, Gary served as a youth director and supply preacher in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. His early congregations included Mystic Side Congregational Church of Everett, Massachusetts and Damascus Congregational Christian Church near Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In 1974 Gary was called to serve Falkner Swamp United Church of Christ in Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania – the oldest continually existing church of the German Reformed movement in America. Gary was a gifted pastor, teacher, and historian; in 1975, for the church’s 250th anniversary, he organized a re-enactment of the first German Reformed Communion service in America and published an updated history of the congregation. He was also passionate about social justice and led the church in personally sponsoring, welcoming, and housing Vietnamese refugees.
A visionary leader, Gary relocated his family to Nebraska in 1979 to found a new congregation, which initially met in his home. In just three years he grew the church to build a cutting-edge passive solar sanctuary on Q Street in Omaha. Gary was soon called to join the leadership team of the UCC’s Missouri Conference, where he grew new churches and supported 59 existing churches and 89 pastors.
In 1985, Gary was called as Senior Pastor of Salem UCC in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, where he developed his gifts for resolving conflict and building interfaith relationships. In 1989, he was called to Union Congregational Church in Peterborough, New Hampshire, where he grew the congregation as a whole and its youth ministry in particular. In the wider community, Gary led local clergy in establishing the Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter, a youth center, and an extended day program for schoolchildren.
In his later career, Gary served churches in Annville and Exeter Township, Pennsylvania, and First Congregational Church in Whitman, Massachusetts. He was a congregational and fundraising consultant, recruited 10 new pastors into the ministry, and supervised a number of seminary students. After his retirement in 2010, he volunteered as an interim pastor, championed a number of social causes, and led an effort to launch the Yadkin Historical Museum in Spencer, North Carolina – a work in progress.
He was preceded in death by his father, his sister Lynda, and his brother Arlin. He is survived by his loving wife, Linda; his daughter Susannah; sons Jonathan and Andrew and their wives Liza and Emily; grandchildren Roger, Annie, Sam, and Charlie; his mother; and his brother Donald Jr.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, January 12 at 11:00 a.m. at Falkner Swamp United Church of Christ in GilbertsviIle, Pennsylvania. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made in Gary’s memory to Catawba College, 2300 West Innes Street, Salisbury, NC 28144 with “Campus Ministry” in the note or memo line.