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Honoring a Retiring Employee: Don Hooser

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Honoring a Retiring Employee

Don Hooser

He shares a personal reflection below:

“As a teen, I wanted to devote my life to a great cause. I decided that until I found that cause, I would just make as much money as possible. I obtained a mechanical engineering degree and got a job as an engineer. After learning about the Radio Church of God in 1962, I decided that God’s work would be that great cause! I quit my job, entered Ambassador College (AC) Pasadena in 1963, was transferred in 1964 to Big Sandy to be in the pioneer junior class, graduated, was hired as a ministerial trainee in 1966, and began serving in Akron, Ohio. I’ve never regretted the decision to quit that job to attend AC.

“Cincinnati was an exciting place to be from 1968 to 1974. In 1968, we had Cincinnati A.M. and P.M. and a third congregation in northern Kentucky. When a Church was established on the east side of Cincinnati in early 1972, I was appointed pastor of the new Cincinnati-East congregation and the Portsmouth congregation.

“In March 1995, I resigned from Worldwide Church of God. I had no idea what I would do to make a living. About a month later, I was thrilled to learn about the meeting near Indianapolis to form a new church. My wife Elsie and I attended that meeting!

“Additional responsibilities included serving on the Doctrinal Advisory Committee and serving at summer camps in six different states. In 1998, in addition to pastoring two churches, I worked as a reporter for a local newspaper. I enjoy writing and am grateful to now write full-time for UCG. That year with the newspaper gave me valuable experience (Romans 8:28 Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
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“My wife Elsie and I met at our first Feast of Tabernacles in Big Sandy in 1962. I knew almost nothing about the teachings of the Church of God but Elsie knew them well, so she taught me most of the basic doctrines. She was my first Bible teacher!

“I was transferred from AC in Pasadena to Big Sandy, and Elsie and I spent two years as fellow students in Big Sandy. I graduated on Friday, June 3, 1966, and we got married on Sunday, June 5. Our honeymoon was our road trip to Akron, Ohio, for our first ministerial assignment.

“Our daughter Amy was born in Akron, our first son Randy was born in a suburb of Cincinnati, and our second son Danny was born in Grand Island, Nebraska. Elsie and I have been grateful to God that our three children, their spouses and our granddaughter Rylie are members of God’s Church. Elsie’s mother, Eunice Hanson, and all three of my brothers were also members.

“In 2016, my beloved Elsie was diagnosed with lymphoma but with chemotherapy, she was soon in remission. Then she had a reoccurrence of lymphoma in 2020 and for a while, it seemed that she would recover again. But all the stresses weakened her and she died Aug. 21, 2020. My family and I miss her very much.

“Being in the ministry has had stressful and disappointing times, but Elsie and I were always grateful to God for the gratifying and joyful opportunity to serve in the ministry.”

Mr. Hooser was also managing editor for the online publication designed to help those struggling with addictions, titled Breaking Free. Peter Eddington expressed his thanks for the many hours spent by Mr. Hooser in editing this publication: “His dedication keeping Breaking Free online for those people fighting battles with alcoholism, drug addiction, same sex attraction, bulimia and other addictions provided a very needed service to this demographic. We thank him so much for his care- and heart-filled approach in this regard.”

Tom Robinson has worked extensively with Mr. Hooser on the Bible Commentary and other publications. He shared, “Don’s a really kind friend with a wonderful family. His work has been invaluable. He’s an out-of-the-box thinker willing to explore new ideas while remaining very grounded in what we teach. Discussing issues with him is a joy. Our outlook, understanding and approach are richer with him among us.” David Salek reflected on his work with Mr. Hooser in the Personal Correspondence Department: “I join many of his PCD correspondents who have expressed mixed emotions when they learned that Don will no longer write to them: feelings of sadness, love, appreciation and deep gratitude for the guidance and many ways he helped them. Thanks to God I have him just a phone call away. ¡Vaya con Dios, mi amigo!”

Correspondence department coworker Terri Eddington commented, “Don’s work and mine overlapped whenever we received difficult correspondence from hurting people. He exhibited the ability to combine genuine concern, love, straight talk and biblical guidance to those struggling with very complex matters such as homosexuality, gender issues, depression, suicide, various addictions, etc. What I have learned from him has enabled me to better help others and I value the many years we have worked together.”

President Victor Kubik commented upon Mr. Hooser’s retirement, “Don Hooser has been one of the most encouraging peers in the ministry! He had a practice of regularly writing fellow ministers notes of acknowledgment and appreciation of their work. If he would hear of hardship or something troublesome, he would cheer them up. He is a person without guile. I’m grateful to have known him and his wife Elsie throughout my career.”