Rev. Duane Angel, former Minister of Pastoral Care at First Congregational Church of Akron, who helped so many people find peace in passing on to eternal life, passed peacefully to his own reward June 28, 2019 at the age of 74 at Ohio Living Rockynol.
A memorial service will be held Wednesday, July 3 at 11 a.m. at the church at 292 E. Market St., Akron 44308. Duane’s family members will greet friends at a reception there following the service.
He is survived by his wife of 18 years, Patricia McKay. Between them they have five children: Mark (Misty) Angel of Mt. Solon, Va.; Lisa (John) Kovacs of Upper St. Clair, Pa.; Andrew (Vanessa) Angel of Anchorage, Alaska; Beth (Jeffrey) Matheny of Akron; and Jay (Sandy) Barton of Winder, Ga., and 12 grandchildren.
He is also survived by his five siblings, all living in or near Dover, Ohio: Patricia (Ellwood), Plain City; Phyllis (Karling), Zanesville; Holly (Klar), Dover; David, Dover; and Donald, Strasburg.
Duane Angel was born in Dover on Jan. 30, 1945 to Donald and Helen Angel. His mother was an only child and yearned for siblings. That was not to be, but she and her husband made up for it by bringing six children into the Angel clan. Duane’s parents are deceased, but the siblings remain a loving, close-knit family.
Duane’s generosity to others showed itself early. As a curious four-year-old, Duane found a cashbox his father kept on his desk and began distributing the cash to people in the neighborhood. One of the recipients, however, called Duane’s mother, who stopped the little philanthropist in his tracks and, contrary to Dr. Spock, spanked him all the way home! News of this humorous incident reached the Associated Press and resulted in a story that ran in papers all across the country in 1949. Duane kept a framed copy of it.
Duane had a happy and fulfilling childhood. He learned self-reliance, good work habits and the value of money by delivering not one but three newspapers on his route — the Akron Beacon Journal, Canton Repository and (Cleveland) Plain Dealer.
Duane graduated from Dover High School in 1963, where he played varsity football as on offensive center for the “Tornadoes” and center on the basketball team. He spent a year at The Ohio State University and then transferred to the Kent State branch in New Philadelphia. It was the unsettling time of the Vietnam War. Duane enlisted in the local Army Reserve artillery unit and trained at Fort Knox and Fort Sill, but his unit was not activated for federal service. It was about this time, after much soul-searching, that Duane decided that his calling was the ministry. Moving to Houston, Texas, he enrolled in Gulf Coast Christian University, graduating cum laude in 1970 with a bachelor of arts in education and a bachelor of theology degree. In 1981 he earned his master of science in community development, cum laude, from the University of Louisville.
His first ministerial experience was in 1967 to 1970 as Associate Youth Minister at the First Church of God in Houston. He had a life-expanding experience in 1969 through a summer internship that took him to Church of God mission stations in primitive areas of Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama. Not speaking the language, he preached through the use of an interpreter. Duane said that the time between his comments and the interpretation taught him to think more clearly about what he had to say and to be observant.
In 1971, Duane accepted the call to become senior minister of the First Church of God in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, which had 125 members. While there, he was appointed to the Wyandot County Sheltered Workshop board. He developed a Boy Scout program for mentally handicapped adolescent boys, personally adapting all BSA materials and programs for this special population.
In November 1973, he moved to Toledo, Ohio, as senior minister of the Dorr Street Church of God, an urban church of 500 members. He led the congregation through a special fund drive to retire debt on the sanctuary and became involved in human rights work and spiritual/social outreach to migrant workers.
From 1978 to 1982, Duane served as senior minister of the First Church of God in New Albany, Indiana, which had a congregation of 1200, a full-time staff of four and 20 kindergarten/daycare workers. He served on the initial Oversight Board of the organization that eventually became The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Duane also was chaplain of the New Albany Police Department, and a member of the Floyd County Hospice Board and the county’s Children Protective Services.
Although Duane had a highly successful ministerial career at that juncture, he began questioning his conservative faith and ended his pastorate in New Albany.
He worked in real estate in Park City, Utah, then moved to Akron and joined the Aegis Funding Corp. of Houston, Texas, in 2000, developing and maintaining a new mortgage broker business.
He met Pat McKay, a community leader and owner of an insurance agency, who had attended First Congregational as a teenager, and they started going to services there. They fell in love, but Pat Insisted they wait six months before considering marriage. To the day, Duane proposed, and they married in September 2001, just before 9/11.
Duane’s latent yearning to return to the ministry blossomed at First Congregational and soon he was asked to succeed the retiring Minister of Pastoral Care. His empathy and counsel helped many ill and dying, as well as their families. And he was known for well-researched and beautifully delivered pastoral prayers.
He cared deeply about people and often thought of community improvements, starting with the founding of “Living the Legacy,” a community outreach program that is now its own nonprofit. He helped start the “Feed My Sheep” garden, whose vegetables go to the food bank, and collaborated with a fraternity to assemble food bags for distribution to kids on Fridays. He built on the church’s relationship with Mason Community Learning Center, with pizza parties for good grades.
His work was honored by the County of Summit, and in 2011 he received the Humanitarian Award from Legacy III Inc. for dedicated service to the Summit County community.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in honor of Rev. Duane Angel may be made to Living the Legacy, Inc., 292 E. Market St., Akron, Ohio 44308 or a charity of your choice.
Services in care of The Billow Funeral Homes & Crematory, 85 N. Miller Road, Akron, OH 44333.