The Rev. Dr. Paul W. Zeckhausen, Jr. (1932 - 2009) 77, died unexpectedly at Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, MA, on Wednesday, February 25, 2009. Dr Zeckhausen had a long and distinguished career in ministry, serving for thirty years as senior minister of the Wilbraham United Church in Wilbraham, MA, from April 1967 until February, 1997. For eighteen years he served as the August minister at Union Chapel in Hyannisport, MA. After his retirement, he served as interim minister at several area churches, the longest being First Church of Monson. He most recently served as part time minister of Parish Care at First Church of Christ, Suffield, CT, from September 2002 until the present.
Paul was born in New York City, NY, a son of the late Paul W. Zeckhausen, Sr. and Elizabeth (McMillan) Zeckhausen. He began his ministry in The First United Church of Christ Congregational in Milford, CT, and went on to serve as pastor of Northford Congregational Church, Northford, CT, before coming to Wilbraham, MA He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Williams College in 1954, his Master’s of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in 1957, his Master’s of Sacred Theology from Yale Divinity School in 1961, and his Doctor of Ministry from Andover Newton Theological School in 1977. He founded the Wilbraham Counseling Center, and was a past president and still current member of the Church and Ministry committee of the Hampden Association of the United Church of Christ. He was active in many civic and interfaith organizations as well as in his denomination, the United Church of Christ. A book of Paul’s sermons, “ When Things Don’t Go Your Way “ was published in 1996. He served as sponsor and mentor to numerous men and women pursuing careers in ordained ministry, and was the guiding influence that inspired many people from his church to enter the ministry. Over the years, Dr. Zeckhausen performed hundreds of weddings, funerals, and baptisms. He was there through the joys and struggles of the lives of parishioners and friends, who were so dear to him and had a profound impact on all who were fortunate enough to have known him.
Dr. Zeckhausen was first diagnosed seventeen years ago and courageously faced treatment for prostate and later bladder cancer, beating the odds and enjoying many productive and happy years before being stricken yet again, not long after his 77th birthday. A 4-handicap golfer in his younger years, “Dr. Z” had a lifelong passion for the game, and had accomplished 5 holes-in-one. He was a member of Longmeadow Country Club and Hyannisport Country Club. At Manhasset High School, he played varsity football his junior and senior years. During each of his last three years as an undergraduate at Williams College, he hit over .400 on the varsity baseball team. He later played semi-professional baseball in the Cape Cod League. He had been an accomplished trumpet player in high school and beyond and played often during worship services over the years.
Dr Zeckhausen leaves his beloved wife of 50 years, Suzanne (Ross) Zeckhausen, and two children, Paul Wesley Zeckhausen, III of Springfield and Tracey Evelyn Zeckhausen of Coventry, RI, and three grandchildren; Benjamin, Alison, and Amanda Poole, and a brother, the Rev. Dr. William Zeckhausen. of Laconia NH; and several nieces and nephews.
A memorial service is Saturday March 28, 2009 at 11am at Wilbraham United Church, 500 Main St, Wilbraham, MA. There are no visiting hours and burial is private for the family. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Wilbraham United Church or First Church of Christ 81 High St. Suffield, CT 6078. Sampson’s Chapel of the Acres Funeral Home, 21 Tinkham Rd, Springfield, MA has been entrusted with these arrangements.