Tribute to Walt Hearn
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Tributes to Walt Hearn 12 R. Isaac To state that Walter Hearn had a unique and delightful personality and that he devoted his life to the American Scientific Affiliation and all who grappled with issues of science and faith would be a significant understatement. No one who met him was left unmoved by his humility and his commitment to serve God through his life and his words. Walt published at least 40 articles and comments in ASA publications besides authoring and editing well over a hundred issues of the ASA newsletter. His regular attendance at the ASA annual meetings and the Bay Area local ASA section provided ample opportunity to meet and talk with him in person. He was an avid evangelist not just for the gospel but for the ASA as well. He wrote many a letter to acquaintances urging them to join the ASA. When I was a young ASA member, it was Walt’s sense of humor and witty writing in the ASA newsletter that was my first awareness of him. Those writings shaped my impression of him until I was finally able to meet him, shortly after becoming the executive director. Walt was a tremendous resource and advisor to me at that time. He had a wealth of historical memory as well as a sense of strategic direction for the ASA. He could be counted on for honest feedback which was always constructive, whether positive or a gentle admonition. His focus on words and phrases was legendary and he seldom missed pointing out an editorial gaffe. Many peers marveled at the way in which he could walk away from a budding academic career in biochemistry to live a life of service in the field of science and faith. But it was his life that demonstrated the importance of living the Christian life in a way that integrates one’s faith and vocation. He wrote about it in his book, Being a Christian in Science, published by InterVarsity Press, donating all receipts to the ASA. His frequent lectures spelled out the importance of living a life that demonstrates Christ’s love in all respects. In the December 2005 issue of Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Walt wrote a thoughtful piece of remembrance of one of the ASA founders, F. Alton Everest. A photo of Walt presenting a plaque of appreciation to Alton is shown below. No one can match Walt’s eloquence and he himself will continue to share his thoughts with us in the article he wrote in advance for publication in the ASA journal God & Nature. He was a major shaping force behind that journal and guided the editor, Emily Ruppel, through the challenges of starting a new publication. Walt’s wit and words will always be with us, recorded for us and for posterity. His life was one of service and we are all inspired to follow his example.
by R. Isaac
Monday, June 5, 2017