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In Memoriam



Edith Lydia Blumhofer, 69, entered into her heavenly rest on March 5, 2020 after battling pancreatic cancer with faith and courage for three-and-a-half years.

Edith joined the OMSC Board of Trustees in December 2009 and was elected president in June 2014. She served as president until her death, offering OMSC a steady hand as the board was faced with momentous decisions, including most recently to sell its New Haven campus and relocate to Princeton Theological Seminary. Tom Hastings, OMSC executive director, commented, “During an exceptionally difficult time for OMSC, Edith stood in the gap as president of the trustees. Without her decisive leadership, faithful prayers, and unconditional support, we could never have made the strategic decisions needed to place OMSC onto the sustainable future trajectory we are now envisioning through our new partnership with Princeton Theological Seminary. Since starting as executive director in August 2016, Edith has been my strongest supporter and wisest counselor. I give thanks to God for her witness, fortitude, and integrity.”

Professor of history (1987–95 and 1999–2017) and director of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals (ISAE) at Wheaton College in Illinois, Edith’s research focused on the history of Christianity in post–Civil War America and on the history of Protestant hymnody. As ISAE’s project director  and then director (1999–2014), she and her colleagues studied the impact of the foreign missions movement on North America, the financing of American evangelicalism, evangelicals’ relationship to the mass media, and the legacy of evangelist Billy Graham. Previously, she was a religion grant officer for the Pew Charitable Trusts and an administrative director for the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion at the University of Chicago. A Brooklyn native, Edith also enjoyed cooking at a summer camp for inner city children in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. A consulting editor for Christianity Today and Christian Century, Edith was author of Restoring the Faith: The Assemblies of God, Pentecostalism, and American Culture (1993), “Her Heart Can See”: The Life and Hymns of Fanny Crosby (2005), and many other titles. She was coeditor of Music in American Religious Experience (2005) and Sing Them Over Again to Me: Hymns and Hymnbooks in America (2006).

Edith is survived by her husband, Edwin, their three children, Jonathan (Rebecca), Judy, and Christopher (Stephanie), and six grandchildren: Chloë, Lydia, Marika, Benjamin, Angel, and Isaac.

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