Lindeman, Thomas

February 11, 2017

AMHERST – Thomas Henry Lindeman, 84, of Applewood, Amherst, MA died peacefully at Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Northampton, MA on February 11, 2017. 

Born in Duluth, Minnesota, son and first child of D. N. and F. Belle (Jones) Lindeman, he attended grade and junior high schools in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, and senior high school in Billings, Montana. He graduated from the University of Montana with honors in international relations in 1954. During his university years, he was active in the Student YMCA-YWCA, serving as chair of the Pacific Northwest Student YMCA, and also was active in the Methodist Student Movement.

He attended seminary at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, graduating magna cum laude, while serving student appointments in three churches. 

He was ordained in 1955 and 1958 in the United Methodist Church and began a career in ministry in higher education, working with the interaction of the church and higher education as a locus of social change. From 1958 to 1966, he served as the Methodist campus minister on the staff of the College Y/College Religious Center at Fresno State. 

During that time, he also served as Fresno District director of social concerns for the organizing years of Cesar Chavez’ United Farm Workers, and brought about the first face-to-face meeting between Chavez and churchgoing growers. He was state issues development chair in the California Federation of Young Democrats. 

From 1966 to 1974, he worked as a staff member of the United Christian Foundation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His work in organizing the Undergraduate Education Conference – a faculty movement focused on raising the priority of undergraduate education at a time when research and publication were being emphasized – helped drive the establishment of the UMass Center for Teaching and played a part in improving UMass Amherst’s standing among Commonwealth students. 

In 1972, he earned an M.A. in history from UMass, with emphasis on the interaction of religion and culture. 

During this time he was a member of the personnel committee of the New England United Ministries in Higher Education, conducting on-site evaluations of campus ministries across New England. Involved in Amherst-area adult faith education events and in white racism training events, he also participated in the on-campus Martin Luther King Jr. Social Action Council following the civil rights leader’s assassination. 

In 1974, he returned to parish ministry, with special emphasis on organizational development, leadership training, adult education and financial stewardship. 

From 1974 to 1981, he served as half-time pastor of historic St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Newport, RI, and half-time staff for the Rhode Island United Methodist Association, providing consulting for Methodist churches across the state and leadership for the Urban Ministries Division of the RI State Council of Churches. He was a member and sometimes co-chair of the Consultants Network, serving some 300 Methodist churches across Southern New England. St. Paul’s moved from half-time to full-time pastoral leadership during his tenure. 

From 1981 to 1988, he served as senior pastor of First Methodist Church, Westfield, Massachusetts. During these years, he was chair of the Southern New England Methodist Department of Ministry. 

From 1988 to 1995, he was pastor of the Arnold Mills Methodist Church in Cumberland, RI, and co-chair of the Faith and Order Commission and member of the governing board of the RI State Council of Churches. 

He “retired” from ordained ministry in 1995 and returned to Amherst, where he resumed friendships and activities with university faculty, staff and administrators. In 1996-97, he served as public events coordinator for the first effort at a Springfield-UMass partnership. In addition, he chaired the committee which created the first university-wide effort at a diversity program for UMass. 

During those years, he did organization development consulting with several UMass and Five College agencies. He was also active at First Congregational Church, Amherst, and then Goodwin Memorial AME Zion Church, and involved in community affairs. 

Beginning in 1996, he led a variety of learning experiences in Bible for adults, church school teachers, children and various church boards, the major one being a seminar for adult learners titled Exploring Scripture, which met weekly for 20 years. He became a member of the Society of Biblical Literature. 

Active in Jewish-Christian dialogue beginning in 1967, he expanded that work to Muslim-Christian relations in the 1980’s. 

Through it all, he maintained a long-time interest in jazz and gospel music, attending concerts and festivals throughout the region and building an extensive music collection. His family and friends also knew him as a careful listener, an engaging conversationalist with a ready laugh, and a quietly fanatical devotee of Mille Bornes and other games.

In 2010 he and his second wife Joan Wright Lindeman moved from their North Amherst home into Applewood, a small retirement community in South Amherst. Active in its life, he created a program series on discussions of religions, served as a steering committee member for a Black Lives Matter/Promoting Diversity initiative, and took up hiking and clearing trails in the nearby Holyoke Range. 

He is survived by his deeply beloved wife, and by other loved and admired family members: his sisters and their husbands, Kathryn and Gilbert T. Bremicker Jr. of Toledo, Ohio and Dorothy and Lauris Eek Jr. of Vienna, Virginia; by his three sons and their wives, Robert and Teresa Lindeman of Glenshaw, Pennsylvania and their children Thomas and Elinor, David Lindeman and Jennifer Werth of Columbus, Ohio and David’s children Magi and Alec, and Mark Lindeman and Lucy Miller of Kingston, New York, and their children Margaret and Harriet; as well as by Joan's children Susan Baust, Janet Stevens and her husband William, and Britt Godsell and his wife Stephanie, Joan’s grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, and Joan's brother Kenneth Wright and his wife Pamela. His first wife Margaret died in 1992. 

A memorial service will be held at First Congregational Church in Amherst at 2:30 pm on February 25, with a reception following. His body is to be cremated and buried at Wildwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions are suggested to the Peace Development Fund, PO Box 40250, San Francisco, California 94140.