Tuesday, December 01, 2015 • 01:59

Gerry Slusser, 93, was author, minister, friend of libraries


August 07, 2013
Gerald H. Slusser, a 25-year resident of Valley Center died Wednesday, July 31 in hospice after several years of battling cancer. He was 93.

Dr. Slusser was an author, theologian and philosopher. He was for many years president of the Valley Center Friends of the Library, and helped start and was president of the San Diego County Friends of the Library for several years. Bob Lerner, Valley Center historian, credits Dr. Slusser with providing the impetus for building the Valley Center History Museum, which recently celebrated its ten-year anniversary.

As Lerner recalls, "When the County was building the new Valley Center Library, Gerry mentioned that the library had such a large collection of history in its files that there ought to be a museum to go with it. He asked me to write a proposal." The rest, as they say, is history.

Dr. Slusser was the author of several books, among them The Local Church in Transition: Theology, education and Ministry; The Jesus of Mark's Gospel (which he co-wrote with his late wife, Dorothy), A Christian Look at Secular Society and A Dynamic Approach to Church Education, Technology, the God that Failed, co-written with Dorothy Slusser and The Jesus of Mark's Gospel, also co-written.

Dr. Slusser was born June 13, 1920 in Willow Springs, Missouri. He started at Austin Theological Seminary in Texas and earned his PhD and master's of theology in 1943. During the WWII he flew for Braniff Airways, which was under contract to the government. After the war he decided to go into the ministry. He met his wife, Dorothy, while he worked for Braniff. She was a flight navigation instructor. They were married soon after.

After Austin his next sabbatical was Glasgow, Scotland. He got a job as a teacher of theology at Hartford Seminary, Conn. He later moved to Eden Theological Seminary, in Webster Grove, Missouri, where he was a teacher until he retired at 1984. He was a minister with Presbyterian Church all during his adult life and performed several weddings in the last five years.

In 1984 the Slussers moved to Valley Center where his son, Andrew, built his house for him. He became involved with the Friends of the Library in the 1990s. According to Andrew Slusser he was in the middle of writing his memoirs when he died. "That and the Friends of the Library were his projects," said his son.

"That's how he kept himself current and busy."

Survivors include his sons, Andrew (and wife, Virginia) of Valley Center, and Peter. A memorial is planned for next month. He wanted to be cremated and buried at sea, as did his wife, Dorothy, who preceded him in death in 2008.

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