Remembering the Paines, by Brad Hershey

Last week University Church received a gift of $67,000 from the estate of Bob and Jane Paine.  Our church is so grateful for endowment gifts like this one and it will be added to our current endowment funds which are approaching a total of one million dollars. Our church uses earnings from this endowment to help with our expenses, to expand our mission outreach, and to maintain and improve our church home.

But this financial gift is only a small part of the legacy left behind by this wonderful couple who dearly loved being part of this congregation. Bob and Jane were married 64 years and they, their three children and later three of their grandchildren, sat right over there nearly every Sunday.

Bob was a doctor. The kind of doctor that goes to Harvard when he was 16 years old, graduates with a Bachelor degree in 1942 and receives his MD 2 years later. Bob served in World War II and then returned to St.Louis with a fellowship in Cardiology at Washington University. He joined the staff of St. Lukes Hospital in 1951 and eventually became head of Cardiology at St. Lukes. He was our church doctor. He was always interested in how you were doing. He could help you with the most complex of heart problems. Or, he could carefully remove a splinter from our little girl's finger and then call her the next day to check up on his patient. He was a lifelong educator, a researcher, a scientist, and a doctor who truly cared for his patients. But, most importantly to me, Bob was an absolutely wonderful human being. When you talked to Bob, he looked directly at you and listened to every word you said as if it was the most important thing he was likely to hear. 

Bob’s concern for others led him to establish the Health Protection and Education Services organization that was initially run out of our church. We still support this organization with volunteer financing and person power. Bob, along with Martin Braeske, ran a class called Crosstalk for over a decade which probed many of the perplexing issues of our time. 

And then there was Jane. Jane was passionate about Social Justice, supporting families and advocating for children. Her early work in childhood programs led to the model for Head Start.  She helped build the Parents as Teachers Program. She was the executive director of the Conference on Education and served as an education consultant to the Danforth Foundation.  She started the preschool right here in our own church. Jane weaved people and their talents together and made good things happen. Jane made a difference in countless children’s lives.  But Jane must have been proudest of her “Bob” and her own children. She gave them all a passion for loving, learning and doing. 

If you want to set some really tough goals for your life, hopefully you can find a Bob and Jane to set an example for you. If you want to make a real difference in this world, become a Bob and Jane and carry their passion for Social Justice into our world so that someday we can truly call it the Kingdom of God.