Teacher, historian and ecumenist Frank Eiji Sugeno dies at 84

January 7, 2009

The Rev. Frank Eiji Sugeno, professor emeritus of church history at Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas, died on December 27. He was 84.


A Seminary of the Southwest news release described Sugeno as "a teacher, historian, missiologist and advocate of ecumenism." He served as secretary of the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church and convener of the Seminary Consultation on Mission and the Conference of Anglican Church Historians.

Sugeno joined the faculty of Seminary of the Southwest in 1964. He moved to Alexandria from Austin in 1999 with his wife, Ruth, after retiring from full-time teaching five years earlier.

A native of Seattle, Sugeno is a graduate of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, the University of Chicago, and the Institute for Historical Research, University of London. He also taught at Virginia Theological Seminary, the Ecumenical Institute of the World Council of Churches affiliated with the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and the Graduate School of Theology at the University of the South. He has been awarded honorary doctoral degrees from Seminary of the Southwest, Sewanee and General Theological Seminary.

Sugeno wrote in the areas of ecumenics, missiology and Episcopal Church history. Toward the end of his teaching, he focused on the role of the church in modern history in both the Third World and the West. He helped organize pan-Anglican theology of mission symposia in Asia, Africa and Latin America that involved seminarians from Seminary of the Southwest, other Episcopal seminaries and throughout the Third World.

A memorial service for Sugeno will be held in the chapel of Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria on January 17.

Further information and tributes to Sugeno are available here.