In Remembrance: George S. Heyer Jr. ’56BD, ’63PhD Died on October 10 2015

George S. Heyer Jr. passed away at home in Austin, Texas, on October 10, 2015.  He was 85. He taught at the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary from 1964 until retirement in 1993, focusing on the history of Christian doctrine.

A full obituary was published in the Houston Chronicle on October 14, 2015.

1 remembrance

    NORMAN E THOMAS, 6:16pm July 10 2017 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    George S. Heyer, Jr. ’56 B.D.

    George Stewart Heyer, Jr. was born September 19, 1930 in Houston, Harris County, Texas, the son of George Stewart and Jane Gregory Heyer. The Heyer family had deep connections in Austin that go back to 1869. Ancesters included Earnest Nalle, who constructed the Paramount Theatre, and Thomas Watt Gregory, George’s grandfather, for whom Gregory Gymnasium at the University of Texas at Austin is named. George grew up in Houston where his father worked in the oil business. He spent most summers at the family home in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

    George attended Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and went on to Princeton University, where he played soccer, was a member of the senior council, and served as associate editor of The Daily Princetonian. George won the Westminster Fellowship and was a chapel deacon. He received his B.A. in Religion at Princeton in 1952. The following year George spent studying theology as a Woodrow Wilson scholar at the New School of the University of Edinburgh. In 1953 he returned to the United States for studies at Yale Divinity School, and earned his Bachelor of Divinity degree at YDS in 1956.

    George was ordained February 15, 1956, by the Mid-Texas Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church, USA. He served as an assistant minster of the First Presbyterian Church in San Angelo, Texas, for two years between his B.D. and Ph.D. studies at Yale. Heyer remained in active connection as an ordained minister throughout his years of teaching. The Grace Presbytery in Texas made him an Honorably Retired Member on January 1, 1994.
    George finished his education at Yale University, earning his PhD in Religious Studies in 1963. Throughout his studies George took meticulous notes that are archived in the Stitt Library, Austin Theological Seminary. They include the privately-printed manuscript, “Lectures on the History of Christian Doctrine,” by Robert Calhoun, his major professor at Yale.

    Heyer began his teaching career at the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (APTS) in January 1964 as an assistant professor. The courses he taught focused on the history of Christian doctrine. His courses and lectures were popular with students, to whom George was very committed. Many remained his lifelong friends. Heyer was inaugurated as a Professor of the History of Doctrine at APTS in November 1987. In 1995, the seminary established the George S. Heyer, Jr. Distinguished Lectureship to honor his career.

    Heyer retired from teaching at the seminary on December 31, 1993.
    Professor Heyer’s published works included his doctoral dissertation, Rectitudo in the Theology of St. Anselm, book reviews for The Yale Review, articles in the Austin Seminary Faculty Bulletin, an essay in Texts and Testaments: Critical Essays on the Bible and Early Church Fathers, and the book Signs of Our Times: Theological Essays on Art in the Twentieth Century (1980).

    George married his wife Hallie Ball Dewar on December 28, 1973 in Austin, Texas. He was age 43 and she age 38. Upon marriage to Hallie, George gained a large family of step-children whom he loved very much.

    George had a deep interest in fine art, including serving as vice-chair and chair on the Texas State Commission on the Arts and Humanities, as a trustee of The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, and as the chair of the Advisory Council for the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. With the University Art Museum of Austin staff, he co-authored in 1972 Not so long ago: Art of the 1920s in Europe and America.
    One of his other great joys in life was fishing and hunting. He particularly enjoyed wing-shooting, a passion instilled in him by his father and passed on to his sons and grandchildren.

    George died at his home in Austin, Texas, on October 10, 2015 at age 85. Family members and close Houston friends attended his graveside service on October 20 at Glenwood Cemetery in Houston, Texas. His memorial service took place in Austin on October 28, followed by a reception at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary where George taught throughout his career.

    George was predeceased by his sister Jane Heyer Tallichet (1963), his wife Hallie Dewar Heyer (1990), his son Gregory Stuart Heyer (2001), and his stepson and ever-present companion Jamie Dewar Ferguson (2014). He was survived by his daughter Jennifer Parmelee Heyer and Brad Richardson, his son William McIver Heyer and his wife Connie, his nephew Henri Lucien Tallichet and his wife Janet, his nephew George Stuart Tallichet and his wife Marisue, stepson Scott Ferguson and his wife Kelly, stepdaughter Hallie Ferguson, stepson Jody Ferguson and his wife Mila, his grandchildren Nicole and Will Heyer, and eight step grandchildren: Rachel, Walt and Claire Ferguson, Alex, Paulina and Phillip Ferguson, Hallie Fei Smith and Max Chester.

    George's life was marked by the joy he found in humor and his deep and abiding love for and commitment to his many lifelong friends. He was also the cornerstone figure in his extended family, providing a source of stability and support. He will be remembered for his love of ice cream and chocolate, his signature chardonnay and ice, his love of travel, and his penchant for bestowing unique nicknames like "Doodle Bug", "Wompus", "Foofie" and "Superstar" on family members.

    By his will George’s select, thoughtful, and internationally respected collection of English silver was gifted to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston for the enjoyment of the public. Over more than twenty-five years, Professor Heyer collected items generally made by London's finest silversmiths between 1660 and 1760.

    Among the tributes to George at his memorial service were these:
    What a marvelous human being! Kind, caring, sympathetic, intelligent, he was a true gentleman in every way. (Stephanie Wilson, Hobe Sound, Florida)
    George was a great friend, and will always be a role model for me as the right and proper way to live a life. He made a positive difference in the lives of so many. The world is poorer for his absence, but so much greater for his having been here. (David Aylsworth, Houston, Texas)

    Yale University / YDS Convocation & Reunions / 1956—60th Reunion Class / [Class Composite Photo] at
    Princeton Alumni Weekly, "Memorial: George S. Heyer, Jr., '52," April 6, 2016, at
    George S. Heyer Papers, 1952-1989, Austin Seminary Archives, Stitt Library, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, at Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997;
    Texas, Birth Certificates, 1903-1932;
    Texas, Marriage Collection, 1814-1909 and 1966-2011;
    U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current

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