William Gillette Weinhauer, fourth Bishop of Western North Carolina, dies at 82

January 29, 2007

The Rt. Rev. William Gillette Weinhauer, fourth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina, died Friday, January 26 in Asheville, North Carolina, his home for the past 34 years. He was 82.

The second son of Nicholas Alfred and Florence Anastasia (Davis) Weinhauer, he was born in New York City December 3, 1924. He attended the public schools of New York and received a B.S. degree from Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, in 1948. He earned three degrees from the General Theological Seminary in New York: a Bachelor of Sacred Theology in 1952, a Master of Sacred Theology in 1956, and a Doctorate in Theology in 1970.

He also received two honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees, the first from the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, in 1974, and the second from Lenoir-Rhyne College, Hickory, North Carolina, in 1985.

He was ordained a deacon in March 1951 and was priested in October of the same year by the Diocese of Long Island, New York.

From 1951-1956, Weinhauer served several pastorates in the dioceses of Long Island and New York. From 1956-1960 he was Professor of New Testament at St. Andrew's Theological Seminary, Quezon City, Philippines, and from 1961-1971 he was Professor of New Testament at the General Theological Seminary, New York City. He was elected rector of Christ Church, Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1970.

In May 1973, the Diocese of Western North Carolina elected him bishop coadjutor, and he acceded as diocesan bishop in March 1975.

Weinhauer was active in ecumenical affairs, serving as a member of the Episcopal Church's Standing Committee for Ecumenical Relations for 12 years. He also was a member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic conversations for 10 years, and co-chair of the Lutheran-Episcopal Dialog (Series Two and Series Three, 1976-1991). He served House of Bishops' Committee on Theology for 14 years, and locally he was active in conversations with Baptists, Lutherans, Roman Catholics and United Methodists.

After retiring from the full-time ministry in January 1990, he served as visiting professor of religion at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina., and as adjunct professor at Seabury Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. He continued to be in demand as a popular teacher, preacher and spiritual director.

The bishop was a veteran of the U.S. Navy, serving in World War II.

He is survived by his wife, the former Jean Shanks; three daughters, two granddaughters and a brother.

There will be a celebration of the life and ministry of Weinhauer at Trinity Episcopal Church, Asheville, North Carolina, at 11 a.m. Saturday, February 3, with the current bishop of the diocese, G. Porter Taylor, officiating.