Brethren in Christ Author Passes Away

D. Ray Heisey, author of the 2004 book Healing Body and Soul: The Life and Times of W.O. Baker, passed away on May 20, 2011, following a three-month battle with thyroid cancer. He was 79.

A professor emeritus and director emeritus of communication studies at Kent State University in Ohio, Heisey was also an ordained minister in the Brethren in Christ Church, having served as pastor of the Valley Chapel congregation in Canton, Ohio, from 1954-1955.

Heisey also served as a speech professor at Messiah College from 1957 to 1968. (Messiah was also his alma mater.) In addition to his work at Kent State, Heisey served as president of Damarvard College in Tehran, Iran, and also taught in Belgium, Sweden, Estonia, and China.

Heisey’s 2004 book, published by the Brethren in Christ Historical Society, was an historical biography of W.O. Baker, a nineteenth century physician and Brethren in Christ church leader. In his endorsement of the book, fellow Brethren in Christ author and American historian Paul Boyer said, “Healing Body and Soul restores to Brethren in Christ history a fascinating figure who loomed large in his own day and has been undeservedly neglected. The work also adds nuance and complexity to our understanding of church history spanned by W.O. Baker’s career.”

Read Heisey’s obituary here.


About Devin Manzullo-Thomas

Father to Lucas. Husband to Katie. Prof and administrator at Messiah College. PhD student at Temple University. Member of Grantham BIC.
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3 Responses to Brethren in Christ Author Passes Away

  1. Harriet Bicksler says:

    So sorry to hear this. Dr. Heisey was my speech professor at Messiah back in the 60s, and even though speech was not my favorite subject, I really enjoyed him as a teacher.

  2. Loretta Krause says:

    I had the privilege of knowing Ray for most of my life. His personal life and spritual life were outstanding. In spite of all his learning and awards he was a humble man, always treating others as his equal. The world has lost a great man but heaven has gained a person to praise god, sing and have fellowship with all those that have gone before him.

    • Devin Manzullo-Thomas says:

      Loretta: Thank you for this stirring tribute. I did not know Ray personally, but I knew him as a scholar, and respected him for his insights and energy. Clearly, he touched a lot of people over the years.

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