Ronald H. Haines, the seventh Bishop of Washington, dies at 73

March 25, 2008

Ronald H. Haines, the seventh Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, died on Good Friday, March 21, at his home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Haines, 73, was the bishop of Washington from 1990 until he retired in 2000. Prior to becoming the diocesan bishop, he was elected suffragan bishop in 1986 and served in that role until the sudden death of Bishop John Walker. He was elected diocesan bishop in July 1990.

He was a tireless advocate for the ordination of women priests and defender of gender equality in the church. Regarding racism as one of the greatest sins of modern America, he confronted it with passion. He listened as a pastor to those who disagreed with him, believing that people of good will and shared faith may differ but remain in communion
with each other.

"I remember Ron as a very unassuming, down-to-earth individual," said Washington Canon to the Ordinary Paul Cooney, who served as Haines' chancellor for many years. "In the days following the untimely death of Bishop Walker he provided gentle, yet firm, pastoral leadership to a diocese that was in grief.

"During his time as bishop of Washington, he provided leadership that helped the diocese address challenging issues relating to its financial affairs. He had the courage of his convictions and a passion for justice. He will be remembered also for his openness toward and support for the participation of gay and lesbian persons in the ranks of ordained persons. Behind the scenes he displayed a wonderful sense of humor and a lively, almost mischievous side that was evidenced in a twinkle in his eyes."

A memorial service will be held at St. James' Episcopal Church in Lancaster at 1 p.m. on March 27. Retired Suffragan Bishop of Washington Jane Dixon will be the celebrant and
Central Pennsylvania Bishop Nathan Baxter, who is a former dean of Washington National Cathedral, will preach. The family will receive friends and visitors in the Chapel of St. James from 11:30 a.m. until the time of service.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Francis Episcopal Church, 408 North Main Street, Rutherfordton, NC 28139.

In 1956, Haines married Mary T. Terrell, who has been in residential Alzheimer's care for several years. He leaves six children: two daughters, Jennifer Haines Tozier of Advance, North Carolina, Alicia Haines Pearson of Tacoma, Washington; four sons, Ronald Gregory Haines, also of Tacoma, Washington; Thomas Jeffrey Haines of Kittery Point, Maine; Jonathan Andrew Haines of Portland, Oregon; Peter Joshua Haines of Rockville, Maryland; and longtime friend and medical care companion, Erica Brown Wood. Haines also leaves 16 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at Washington National Cathedral on Saturday, April 26, at 2 p.m.

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