IN MEMORIAM: Bishop Andrew Wissemann ’53

WissemanThe Rt. Rev Andrew Frederick Wissemann (Class of 1953), the Sixth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, died at his home in Longmeadow, Massachusetts on Aug. 20, 2014.  He was also a former member of General’s Board of Trustees, and received an Honorary Doctor of Divinity in 1984.

Wissemann was born in 1928 in New York City and raised in Hartsdale, New York. He graduated from White Plains High School and Wesleyan University and attended Union Theological Seminary before receiving his Bachelor of Sacred Theology from General. In 1953 he married Nancy Whittemore, daughter of Bishop and Mrs. Lewis Bliss Whitemore of the Diocese of Western Michigan.

Wissemann served as curate of Christ Church in Greenwich, Connecticut, and rector of Christ Church in Unionville, Connecticut, St. James’ in Greenfield, Massachusetts, and St. Stephen’s in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.  He was elected bishop in December 1983, serving for eight years, and was praised for his pastoral style by those who knew him. He retired in 1992, and his wife Nancy, who had served as librarian for the town of West Springfield, retired from that position in 1994, after six years as a strong advocate for library funding and services. In addition to his wife, he is survived by four children and five grandchildren.

While he “loved the life of a parish priest,” Wissemann, at the time of his retirement, said, “My eight years as bishop have been a privilege.”

He was also known for “bringing people together as one congregation in Christ.”

The Very Rev. Earl A. Whepley, then dean of Christ Church Cathedral, observed at the time of Wissemann’s retirement: “We have never had this kind of unity in the diocese before. That is Andrew’s legacy: unity. But there is so much more to the man.”

The burial service was held at Christ Church Cathedral, Springfield, Massachusetts, on August 25.