CARLTON LELAND "LEE" UDELL

THE REVEREND CARLTON LELAND "LEE" UDELL - SHELBURNE - The Reverend Carlton Leland "Lee" Udell, Episcopal priest and hospital chaplain, 82, of Shelburne, died peacefully on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, at the Arbors, surrounded by his family. Fr. Udell was recently honored for his many years of hospital ministry and teaching by being named, Supervisor Emeritus, by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. He was also a Certified Chaplain in the College of Chaplains. Fr. Udell was born on Oct. 29, 1930, in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Carlton and Martha Udell. Lee grew up in Briarcliff and Ossining, N.Y., graduating from Ossining High School in 1948, and from Hobart College in Geneva, N.Y., in 1952, where he was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Following his graduation, Lee had many jobs he heartily enjoyed, including spending a summer in Utah as a gandy dancer for Union Pacific Railroad and later working in the office of New York Central Railroad. Lee was active all his life in various clubs, groups and preservation societies for the Adirondack, White and Green Mountain ranges, hiking whenever time allowed since he was a boy. A practicing Presbyterian when he began his studies at Union Theological Seminary in 1953, Lee found his home in the Episcopal Church and entered the ordination process in the Diocese of New York. After he received his Master's of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in 1957, he was sent by Bishop Horace W. B. Donegan to General Theological Seminary in New York City for a year of Anglican studies. Fr. Udell then taught at City and Country School, and worked at Church of the Resurrection, both in Manhattan, where he met and married his beloved wife, Susanne Udell, in April of 1960. He was ordained into the diaconate in November 1960 by Bishop Donegan, and to the priesthood in May 1961, celebrating his first Solemn High Mass on June 11, 1961. Church of the Resurrection had a ministry at Sloan- Kettering Cancer Center, where Lee discovered a love and a gift for hospital ministry. As part of his Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) training, he had further training at Hartford Hospital and the Newington Hospital for Children. After six years, Fr. Udell left Resurrection to work as a chaplain at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, and to train to become a Certified ACPE Supervisor. In 1971, Chaplain Udell accepted the position as the first Director of Clinical Pastoral Education at Fletcher Allen Hospital (then known as the Medical Center Hospital of Vermont), starting the first nationally certified program in Vermont. He also taught classes of medical students in his appointment as a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UVM School of Medicine. Lee was also a member of the Burlington Area Ministerial Association (BAMA) for decades. In 1972, as part of an effort to achieve a closer working relationship with the clergy of Vermont, New York and New Hampshire, Reverend Udell started a series of workshops designed to answer the question: "How can the clergy best cooperate with the medical staff of a hospital's Intensive Care Unit for the greatest benefit to patients and their families?" In 1974, he and Toba Gladstone, RN, MS, psychiatric nurse clinician, held the first of numerous workshops on Death and Dying that went on for years. According to Reverend Udell, "The universal experience of death and dying creates a special need for medical and paramedical personnel, in the area of relating to and communicating with patients and their families." Also in 1974, he was a guest on a national CBS series, "Practical Health for the Layman," where he spoke on his efforts in his work on the Medical Center Hospital's Committee for the Improvement of Patient Services, spearheading efforts to clarify and implement the American Hospital Association's "Patient's Bill of Rights." In 1977, Lee became a Board Certified Chaplain by the Association of Professional Chaplains. In addition to the CPE program he directed at the hospital, Chaplain Udell also led the efforts that established annual CPE Days at Andover Newton Theological School and the Episcopal Divinity School. As chair of the Seminary and Judicatory Committee from 1995 to 2000, he helped write a new version of the National ACPE Professional Ethics procedure. He was also on the National Judicial Committee for ACPE, and chair of the Northeast Region in 1991 and 1992. In the 1990s, Chaplain Udell led the effort to formally establish an archive for the historical papers and documents for the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education Northeast Region at Harvard Divinity School's Andover Harvard Theological Library. Fr. Udell was also a member of both the Vermont Freedom to Marry Action and the Episcopal Diocese Accessibility Committees. After his retirement in 1995, from the CPE program he had founded at FAHC, Lee experienced tremendous joy and satisfaction in continuing a teaching role in at the hospital, at the invitation of his successor, the Rev. David Hamilton. Lee remained an active member of the CPE supervisory staff for many years. Always interested in spiritual direction, Fr. Udell had become more involved in this area as he got closer to retiring from the hospital. His own spiritual counselor for over 15 years was Fr. Henri Nouwen, noted author and lecturer, who believed that, "Each of us is the beloved of God." Echoing Henri's sentiments, Lee worked to achieve such understanding in those he counseled and carried this mission into his weekly hour-long call-in television show, "Struggles of the Spirit," produced at VCAM, which ran from 1998 through 2010, and is now available on YouTube on the Reverend Lee Udell channel. In 2010, Lee received the Director's Award from VCAM, in recognition of his dedication to the principles of Public Access Television and his continuing contribution to VCAM Channel 15. On April 12, 2012, the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) presented Reverend Udell with the Supervisor Emeritus award. In addition to this recognition, the Spiritual Care Department of Fletcher Allen Health Care will initiate The Rev. Lee Udell Symposium in 2013 to honor its first director of Pastoral Education and Director of Pastoral Care. This symposium will facilitate a dialogue between spiritual care and medical professionals. Reverend Udell is survived by his wife of almost 53 years, Susanne; son, Nathaniel and wife, Meghan Udell, of Chelsea, Mass.; daughter, Lili and husband, James Fiore, of Essex Junction; and grandchildren, Esther, Brian, and Mark and wife, Christin Fiore, of Essex Junction, Waterford, Mich., and Charlotte, N.C., respectively. He is also survived by his brother, Dan and wife, Mary Udell, of Taghkanic, N.Y.; niece, Seanne and husband, James Jersey, and their children, of Sterling, Mass.; nephew, Brian and wife, Collin Udell, and their children, of West Hartford, Conn.; niece, Moira Oliver and their children, of Davie, Fla.; and nephew, Kevin and wife, Ashley Udell, and their children, of St. Simon's Island, Ga. Words cannot express our thanks to Dr. Frank Ittleman, whose brilliant corrective Marfans heart surgery gave us 14 additional years we would not have had otherwise. We must also thank Dr. Phil Aitken, who came to practice in Burlington in 1977, and tirelessly took care of Lee's glaucoma and other vision problems, throughout the rest of Lee's life, constantly working to maintain what little vision Lee had. Additionally, we cannot thank the staff of The Arbors enough for the tender and loving care they gave him during the last year-and-a-half of his life. They took amazing care of him throughout his continual physical decline and did a beautiful job of keeping his active and sharp mind stimulated and supported. We also wish to thank Home Instead caregivers, Isaiah Kiley, Michael Winter, Jess Derick, Beth Chambers, Linda Wirts, and many, many others, including Armistead and Bayada hospice staff, for their loving care. Lastly, we thank the tireless efforts of Nancy Scagnelli and Annemarie Miner of Elder Care Connections of Vermont, whose creativity and brilliance helped all involved with Lee's care to give him the highest quality of life possible for his last six months. A Requiem Eucharist to celebrate Lee's life and ministry will be held at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, 2 Cherry Street, Burlington, on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, at 1 p.m. The Rt. Reverend Thomas C. Ely, Episcopal Bishop of Vermont, will preside, and the Reverend David Hamilton, Supervisor ACPE, will preach. A reception immediately follows the service, with burial to be at a later time. Arrangements are under the direction of Elmwood-Meunier Funeral Home in Burlington. Reverend Udell's family has requested that memories be shared at the online Legacy Rev. C. Leland Udell Guest Book. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to L'Arche USA. Please make a note on your donation that the gift is in honor of the Rev. C. Leland Udell Memorial Fund. For more information, please contact Andrew Callahan at andrew@larcheusa.org, or call (503) 282-6231.


Published in The Burlington Free Press on Jan. 13, 2013