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In Memoriam: Dr. Allan C. Emery, Jr.

October 7, 2010

Trustee Emeritus Dr. Allan Comstock Emery, Jr., an esteemed leader, longstanding board member and great friend of Gordon- Conwell, died at his home in Weymouth Heights, MA, September 26, surrounded by his family.

Dr. Emery served on the board from 1969 until 2001, was Vice Chairman from 1975 to 1993, succeeded Rev. Billy Graham as Chairman and served in that capacity until 1995. He was also Chair of the Executive Committee, and on the Finance, Nominating and Financial Development Committees.

President Emeritus Dr. Robert E. Cooley worked closely with Dr. Emery during his tenure as president. He remembers Allan as “passionate about Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and about his service on the board,” a man who dedicated a great deal of his personal time to the seminary and supported it generously.

“Allan was also very passionate about an educated ministry, so he was very concerned at all times about the quality of the educational programs at Gordon Conwell. He spoke to that point oftentimes as we faced challenging situations, particularly when it came to balancing the budget and making strategic personnel appointments.”

Dr. Cooley says that as vice chair of the board “Allan stepped to the plate” when Billy Graham was Chair, providing quasi-chair service during the times Rev. Graham needed to be absent. And because Allan was simultaneously serving with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association during much of his tenure on the Gordon-Conwell board, he could be a bridge between the two organizations.

“Allan was very strong in his commitment to Christ and maintained the highest integrity in his leadership,” Dr. Cooley adds. “He was a master in moderating different points of view. He was able to blend viewpoints toward decision-making, which was a great gift to the board. He really was the consummate board member and board leader.”

According to Dr. Cooley, one of Dr. Emery’s greatest personal joys was the Weymouth (MA) Bible Club for high school students that he and his late wife, Marian, held in their home every Thursday night for 33 years. He was also instrumental in bringing Billy Graham crusades to Boston in 1950 and 1964.

Dr. Emery attended Wheaton College in Illinois, and worked with his father in the Boston woolen industry before enlisting in the US Coast Guard following the attack on Pearl Harbor. After the war, he returned to the woolen business, and ultimately was named President of Boston Wool Trade and the National Wool Trade Association. He subsequently served as President of ServiceMaster Hospital Corp. of Boston, and President and Chief Operating Officer of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Dr. Emery was also a trustee of Gordon College and Wheaton College and was honored with an LL.D degree by the latter institution. He served on numerous charitable and philanthropic organizations, including many years as President of the Evangelistic Association of New England (now Vision New England), President of the Boston Industrial Home-Union Rescue Mission and as a Life Deacon at Park Street Church, Boston.

Dr. Emery is survived by two sons and their spouses, Allan Comstock Emery III and his wife, Lynn; Arthur Hancock Emery and his wife, Karen; daughter Annetta Emery Thurber and her husband, Richard; six grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

A public memorial service will be held in the Gordon-Conwell Chapel at 10 a.m., on Saturday, October 23, 2010, followed by a reception in the Academic Center. Memorial donations may be made to the Allan C. Emery, Jr. Scholarship Fund at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, or to the Marian H. Emery Endowed Scholarship at Wheaton College.