Tuller Sr. , Dr. Rev. Edwin H. 95
Dr. Rev. Edwin H. Tuller Sr., DD, LLD, DST, 95, of Cheswick, died Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009. Ed Tuller was born in 1913, in Hartford, Conn., the second son of an active Baptist family. He was a Phi Beta Kappa magna cum laude graduate of Brown University, where he was the editor of the university yearbook, member of the governing board and won six athletic letters in soccer and lacrosse. He graduated from Colgate Rochester Divinity School in 1938. In 1958, Brown University awarded him an honorary DD degree. Dr. Tuller served as the Assistant Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., from 1939 to 1944. He was the Director of Christian Education and Assistant Executive Secretary of the Connecticut Baptist Convention from 1944 to 1950, when he became Executive Secretary of the Connecticut State Council of Churches, a position in which he served until 1955. In 1955, Dr. Tuller returned to denominational work as Executive Secretary of the Massachusetts Baptist Convention, where he helped revitalize the church extension (church planting) program. In 1957, he became Associate General Secretary of the ABC/USA, in which capacity he directed the Convention's fund raising program. Dr. Tuller served as the second General Secretary, the ABC/USA's top leadership position, from 1959 to 1971. During his tenure, he steered a steady ship as the denomination and the entire country went through a period of unprecedented turmoil and transition. Dr. Tuller presided over the completion of the ABC Mission Center headquarters ("the holy donut"), in Valley Forge, and the dedication and initial occupancy of the building in conjunction with the annual Convention in Philadelphia in 1962. Dr. Tuller positioned the American Baptist Convention in the leadership of the movement for civil rights in this country, often participating in public advocacy efforts, and sitting behind Dr. Martin L. King Jr., at his famous "I Have A Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. Dr. Tuller often ventured outside the Valley Forge compound to meet with American Baptist constituents and to dialogue with them about the witness of the denomination. In response to the organization of the American Baptist Black Caucus in 1968, Dr. Tuller helped open the doors for greater participation by people of color in the ABC, which is today the most racially diverse Protestant denomination in America. Dr. Tuller also worked with the Commission on Denominational Structure (SCODS) authorized by the Convention in Boston in 1972. SCODS laid the framework for our denominational structure and governance which has lasted from 1973 to the present day. During much of his time of service to the national denomination, Ed made his home on a farm in Flemington, N.J. He was married to his wife, Rose Catherine (Walker) Tuller, and they had four children, Edwin H. (Gail) Tuller Jr., Joan Elizabeth (Joshua) Jensen, James Gordon Tuller and Katherine "Kittie" Verdolini (Thomas) Abbott. He was the grandfather of eight; stepgrandfather of two; and great-grandfather of four. After leaving the position of General Secretary, Ed and Rose were appointed as Special Service Workers of the Board of International Ministries, with Ed serving as Pastor of the American Church in Paris, France, the oldest non-government American institution established on foreign soil, until his retirement from active ministry. For the past five years Ed lived in the Pittsburgh area where he continued to be an active American Baptist as a member of First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh. Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday in First Baptist Church, 159 N. Bellefield Ave., Oakland, with the Rev. Gary W. Dennings officiating. Private interment will be in Prospect Hills Cemetery, Flemington, NJ 08822. Arrangements are under the direction of ELMER L. HERMAN FUNERAL HOME, John N. Bauer, Funeral Director, 5204 Second Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15207.