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Seminary Remembers Beloved Faculty Member, Dr. John Walter Cason

November 10, 2014
Dr. John Walter Cason

Dr. John Walter Cason, church history and missions professor, passed away on November 3, 2014. Cason was a member of the Evangelical Theological Seminary (ETS) faculty in Naperville, Illinois and at the time of the merger became a part of the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary faculty in 1974. He was remembered as an avid reader and explorer of the new politics of liberation theology and the transformative role of church teachings.

Before joining the faculty at Evangelical Theological Seminary and later Garrett-Evangelical, Cason and his first wife Maidel Kittrell of Houston were Methodist Missionaries helping to reestablish Cuttington College near Gbanga, Liberia. He earned his PhD from Union Theological Seminary while serving as a missionary and nourished his life-long passion for education and exploring new fields of study. He later led a group class of seminarians to Peru where they focused on liberation theology.

After more than a decade in Liberia, Cason joined the staff of the Theological Education Fund of the World Council of Churches, working out of New York City and then London, England to support theological education in Africa. His work led him to travel throughout the African continent supporting seminaries and churches working for social justice.

With his second wife, Mary Smithies Cason of Bradford, England, he spent a sabbatical year in Zimbabwe on a research project. He later returned to teach for a semester at the University of Zimbabwe.

Cason and Mary retired to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in 1994 and immediately entered a new life of volunteer service working with the Orange County Rape Crisis Center where he served for a time as Treasurer on the Board of Directors. He also volunteered at Eyes, Ears, Nose and Paws.

A memorial service and celebration of Dr. Cason’s life will be held at the Church of Reconciliation on Saturday, December 6 at 2 pm.  The Church of Reconciliation is located at 110 N. Elliott Rd, Chapel Hill, NC  27514.  The phone number for the church is (919)929-2127.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to either: Eyes, Ears, Nose and Paws (PO Box 3443, Chapel Hill, NC 27515) or the Orange County Rape Crisis Center (P. O. Box 4722, Chapel Hill, NC 27515).