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Rev. Emmanuel M. Gitlin

June 13, 2017

Rev. Emmanuel M. Gitlin, 94, of Hickory, North Carolina, died June 13, 2017. He was an extension minister who was part of the Baltimore Conference in the mid-1960s, then withdrew in 1968. He spent most of his ministerial career as a professor and missionary. He was reinstated to the conference in 1991. His funeral service was held June 17, at St. Andrews Lutheran Church in Hickory, officiated by the Rev. Richard Fritz and Rabbi Dennis Jones.

He was born Nov. 9, 1922, in Zdolbunow, Poland (now in the Ukraine), the son of the late Moses H. Gitlin and Clara S. Pikman Gitlin. He completed his secondary education in Great Britain, and attended Columbia Bible College, Texas Christian University and Duke University, where he received his M. Div. in 1946 and a PhD in 1953. He was ordained in the Minnesota Conference in 1951.

From 1950 to 1957, he served several Methodist churches in Minnesota, Missouri and North Carolina. An avid reader all his life, he continued to accumulate degrees from various universities and held teaching appointments under Methodist Bishops at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1953-57; Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, 1947- 61; Bethune-Cookman College, Daytona Beach, Fla., 1961-63; University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., 1963-67. He served as a lecturer for Lutheran and Baptist seminary programs in Russia in the Russian language.

From 1968 to 1990 he was a professor of religion both in the United States and internationally, but spent most of it at Lenoir Rhyne University, under the Lutheran Synod, where he retired in 1991. Following retirement, he did missionary work in Croatia and Poland, where his father founded the Radisti seminary. He spoke eight languages.

“Dr. Gitlin was a tireless servant for God whom he knew from all angles,” commented Kenneth Harmon, one of his students, in a memorial note. “He taught religion and he did missionary work, but I’ll always remember that in Dr. Gitlin’s wonderfully cluttered office was some kind of short-wave or ham radio. He used it to communicate with oppressed people around the world, to pray with them and share the Good News.”

He was preceded in death by his wives, Ethel Barlow and Helen Edmiston Gitlin who died in 2008.

Survivors include his wife, Lidiya Dubchak; daughter, Sharon Jane Gitlin of Raleigh, NC; son, David Ernest Gitlin and wife of Tallahassee, Fla; step-sons: Elijah Dubchak of Charlotte, N.C., Vladimir Dubchak of Hickory, N.C., and their wives; three grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and five step-grandchildren.

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