Former Kansas City dean James Earl Cavanaugh dies at 77

August 12, 2007

The Very Rev. James Earl Cavanaugh, dean emeritus of Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kansas City, Missouri, died on August 9 aged 77.

Cavanaugh attended Temple University, Lycoming College, Drew Theological Seminary and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. He served 55 years in the ministry; five years in the Methodist Church in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area; 20 years in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and northern San Diego County; 20 years as dean of Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kansas City; and five years as Chaplain of Bishop Spencer Place.

In California, Cavanaugh served as president of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Los Angeles and other committees. In the Diocese of West Missouri, he assisted with the development of the Cathedral congregation, and on the construction of the diocesan offices, the redesign and rebuilding of the Cathedral nave, and the new building of Founders Hall.

Cavanaugh helped to establish the Kansas City Kitchen -- now the Kansas City Community Kitchen -- and was co-founder of Episcopal Social Services, a member of the Religion Task Force of "Harmony in a World of Difference," chaplain of the Harry S Truman Good Neighbor Award Foundation, a member of Concerned Clergy for Christian Fellowship, and a member of the U.S. Inter-religious Committee for Peace in the Middle East. He organized Aids Walks in Kansas City, and served on the Mayor’s Task Force on AIDS, and the Mayor’s Council on Homeless. He served on the Board of Drumm Farm and was co-founder of the Friends of C.G. Jung of Greater Kansas City.

On the national level, Cavanaugh served as deputy to nine General Conventions, and chaired the Committee on Social and Urban affairs. He was president of the General Convention Advisory Council, a member of the Committee on the State of the Church, and the Council of Advice for the President of the House of Deputies and for the Presiding Bishop. He was the recipient of Awards from reStart Inc., Ingram’s Community Leadership, Gillis Home, and the Bishop’s Award for Service and Leadership. He received the Yates Medallion for Distinguished Service from William Jewell College. He was awarded the Honorary Degree of Dr. of Divinity from William Jewell College.

Cavanaugh was married for 53 years to Nancy Gingrich of Philadelphia. He is survived by his wife, and by his daughter Helen Cavanaugh Stauts, son-in-law Paul Stauts, granddaughter Sydney, and three grandsons, Alexander, Ethan, and Jacob, who all reside in Northern California.

A memorial service and Eucharist will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 8, at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, Broadway at 13th Street, Kansas City. Inurnment will be in the Cathedral Memorial Garden. Friends may greet the family following the service in the Founders Hall of the Cathedral. A prayer vigil will begin at 8 p.m. Friday evening, September 7, in the Nave of the Cathedral. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Kansas City Community Kitchen c/o Episcopal Community Services, 11 East 40th Street, Kansas City, MO 64111; Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, PO Box 412048, Kansas City, MO 64141; or to Bishop Spencer Place, 4301 Madison Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64111.