The Living Church

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The Living ChurchDecember 17, 1995Retired Newark Bishop Rath Dies 211(25) p. 6

The Rt. Rev. George Edward Rath, seventh Bishop of Newark, died Nov. 18 in Massachusetts following a long illness. He was 82.

Bishop Rath had lived in East Orleans, Mass., following his retirement as Bishop of Newark. He had assisted bishops of Massachusetts from 1982 until 1994.

"He was a gentle man, a loving man and a kind man and a deeply committed Christian," said the Rt. Rev. John S. Spong, who succeeded Bishop Rath as Bishop of Newark. "He was also heroic, giving great support to the civil rights movement, the anti-Vietnam movement, the cause of the ordination of women in the church, prayer book reform and many other causes and issues of his era."

Bishop Rath was born in 1913 in Buffalo, N.Y. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University in 1933, and a master of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in 1936. He was ordained deacon in 1938 and priest in 1939 in the Diocese of New York. He served as a college chaplain at Columbia and New York universities until 1941, when he became vicar of All Saints' Church, Millington, N.J. In 1949, he brought that congregation to parish status and became its rector, serving until 1964, when he was elected Suffragan Bishop of Newark. He was elected bishop coadjutor in 1970, and became diocesan bishop in 1974, serving until 1978.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret, and two daughters.

At Bishop Rath's request, there was no burial service. The Diocese of Newark will hold a service of thanksgiving for Bishop Rath's life and ministry Dec. 31 at All Saints', Millington.