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Assembly mourns two longtime leaders

Kyoji Buma, Dottie Hedgepeth pass away

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Two longtime Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leaders have died in the days surrounding the 219th General Assembly here.

Kyoji Buma, a native of Kyoto, Japan, who served in the PC(USA)’s world mission and ecumenical relations departments for more than 40 years, died in late June in Closter, N.J. 

After graduating from Yale Divinity School in 1955, he was called as the denomination’s executive secretary for the Office of Youth Affairs of the then Board of Foreign Missions. Between 1962 and 1964, Buma coordinated the PC(USA)’s work in Asia while living in Tokyo. In 1964, he and his family returned to New York, where for the next 25 years he served as executive secretary for interchurch relations for nine years and then as associate executive director for administration and coordinator of special projects for the General Assembly Mission Council. Buma retired in 1989.

Kyoji Buma is survived by his wife of 55 years, Nobuko, three children, Timothy, Makiko and Stephen, and three grandchildren, Elizabeth, Tadhg and Kyle.

Dottie Hedgepeth, a renowned Christian educator in the PC(USA), died in Louisville near the start of the Assembly.

Hedgepeth, a certified Christian educator, served as director of Christian education for First Presbyterian Church of Santa Barbara, Calif., and then as associate executive for Santa Barbara Presbytery. Later she served as coordinator for the Committee on Theological Education on the national staff of the PC(USA) until her retirement several years ago.