Asbury Seminary Extends Condolences to the Dieter Family
There will be a memorial service for Dr. Melvin E. and Hallie A. Dieter on Thursday Dec. 27 at 1:00 p.m. at Parkway Wesleyan Church Staunton, Va. The 27th is the date of what would have been their 73rd wedding anniversary.
Dr. Dieter served at Asbury Seminary from 1975-1990 as the first Professor of Church History and for some years as Provost.
Dr. Dieter was the first General Secretary for Educational Institutions of the newly merged denomination, elected by the first General Conference of the Church. He was tasked with taking on oversight of the multitude of higher education institutions of the two small, now merged denominations and advising the General Church leadership on that work.He had the difficult job of closing down a significant number of those colleges to create a more financially sustainable and academically responsible structure of denominationally supported institutions.
His wife Hallie worked side-by-side with him for almost 73 years, assisting as a behind the scenes editor and counselor; advisor and chief, “hand holder” for hundreds of students in several different university communities; she also served as the assistant to author and professor Dr. Gerard Sloyan of Temple University’s Department of Religion and as the key support staffer to a number of secondary faculty in the graduate religion program there. She was also hostess and chief organizer of the hundreds of formal events and informal gatherings for which Dr. Dieter was responsible over his 50+ years in academia.
Melvin and Hallie were co-editors of the much beloved “God is Enough,” a daily devotional drawn from the writings, many previously unpublished, of Hannah Whithall Smith, a Phildelphia Quaker and a key leader in the 19th century Holiness Movement and known beyond the religious world as a leader in the feminist/suffragist movement of the time, and early leader in the temperance movement (tied to the abolitionist movement). Much of Dr. Dieter’s study and work on 19th century Holiness Revivalism served to inspire his ongoing support and promotion of contemporary activism and leadership by women in the church world at the highest levels.
Dr. Dieter served not only as a professor, lecturer, minister, author, and college and seminary administrator but was also a founder or co-founder of many key organizations and groups in the Wesleyan tradition. Less known by those in his Wesleyan circle of colleagues and friends, he was also a public service leader for many years in his home area, the Greater Lehigh Valley, Penn., as an officer of The Kiwanis Club, President of the Lehigh Valley Public Relations Association, and Officer on the Board of The Allentown School Board Authority, the organization responsible for initiation and oversight of all public school construction projects and the creation of all financial public bonds for that construction.
Dr. and Mrs. Dieter have one daughter, Judith and a son-in-law William. Also remaining is Dr. Dieter’s last remaining sibling Harold and his family along with Hallie’s last remaining sibling Glenna Carroll and her husband The Reverend Charles Carroll, as well as many nieces and nephews. The service will be conducted by The Reverend Douglas Gunsalus, a nephew as well as son of the late Reverend Doctor Russell Gunsalus, a well-loved pastor, district superintendent and past president of Eastern Pilgrim College.