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The Rev. Dr. Gene March, a beloved Old Testament scholar at Louisville Seminary, dies at age 88

March had a remarkable career as a minister, educator and writer

by Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary | Special to Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Dr. Gene March

LOUISVILLE — The Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary community is deeply saddened to announce the passing of The Rev. Dr. Wallace Eugene (Gene) March, a distinguished theologian, beloved professor, dedicated administrator, and cherished friend. March died May 2 at the age of 88 in Louisville, Kentucky, with his beloved wife, Lynn, by his side.

March’s academic journey began at Austin College, where he earned a B.A. in 1957. He pursued a Bachelor of Divinity at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 1960 and completed his Ph.D. at Union Theological Seminary in 1966. He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1964, embarking on a remarkable career as a minister, educator and writer.

March’s tenure at Louisville Seminary began in 1982 when he joined the faculty as the A.B. Rhodes Professor of Old Testament. Over the years, he wore many hats, serving as the Director of Continuing Education, Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program, Assistant to the President, and ultimately, Dean of the Seminary. His dedication and impact on the seminary community were honored in 2002 when he was named an Honorary Alumnus of Louisville Seminary.

Among his numerous accolades, March was a charter member of the Caldwell Society, a member of the President’s Roundtable since 2011 (becoming a lifetime member in 2019), and the 2018 recipient of the Faithful Steward Award. He also played a key role on the Grawemeyer Selection Committee. His work as an academic and writer was widely recognized, with contributions to professional publications and books, including his notable works, “God’s Land on Loan: Israel, Palestine, and the World” and “The Wide, Wide Circle of Divine Love: A Biblical Case for Religious Diversity,” which explored the complex relationship between faiths.

Reflecting on March’s impact, the Rev. Dr. Debra Mumford, Dean of the Seminary, said, “Gene March’s service and dedication to Louisville Seminary not only includes the decades in which he was formally employed but well beyond — even during his retirement as a member of the President’s Roundtable and adjunct professor. He is treasured and respected by generations of Louisville Seminary faculty, staff, alumni, and friends. He will be missed.”

LPTS’ president, the Rev. Dr. Andrew Pomerville, echoed these sentiments. “Professor March was a remarkable part of the LPTS community. His consistent support of his colleagues, dedication to the Seminary, and genuine love of his students inspired us all. He was an integral part of LPTS for decades, and his death cannot be overstated. Please join me in offering prayers of thanksgiving for his life and legacy of faith in Jesus Christ.”

“Gene was good, kind, and faithful. His love of God and his students was evident in all that he did — teaching Hebrew, Old Testament, leading trips to the Holy Land, and serving as Dean. As an author, he was able to take difficult topics (diversity and conflict in the Middle East) and make them understandable to lay people. We will miss him,” said Elizabeth Clay, Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Dr. Amy Plantinga Pauw, Henry P. Mobley Jr. Professor of Doctrinal Theology, highlighted March’s compassionate spirit. “Gene was one of the first people I met when I came to interview at LPTS in 1989, and over the years, our two families developed many close ties. He was a wise and beloved faculty colleague and a popular and dedicated teacher. Beneath all his work and witness, both inside and outside the church, was a vision of ‘the wide, wide circle of divine love.'”

Interim Director for the Doctor of Ministry programs and Special Projects Coordinator to the Dean, the Rev. Dr. Dianne Reistroffer, said, “Dr. Gene March was a beloved professor and Dean of the Seminary. He was a caring and devoted mentor to students and new faculty members. For Gene, teaching and learning were deeply spiritual experiences, a lesson that generations of students have carried with them into ministry and into life.”

“I was blessed to be Gene’s student at Austin Seminary as well as his colleague, mentee, and successor at Louisville Seminary,” said Dr. Trisha Tull, former A.B. Rhodes Chair. “His universal kindness and genuine love for all people often broke his heart, but never his spirit. I will always be grateful for the privilege of watching him model the difficult balance of leadership, support, faithfulness, curiosity, and humility.”

The Louisville Seminary community extends its deepest sympathies to the entire March family. March’s legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of all those he touched through his work, faith, and dedication to education and spiritual growth.

Visitation will be at Pearson Funeral Home, 149 Breckenridge Lane in Louisville, Kentucky, from 3 p.m. through 7 p.m. Eastern Time on May 23. A memorial service will be held at Highland Presbyterian Church, 1011 Cherokee Road, beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern Time on May 24. To view the livestream, go here.

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