Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019
3:00 PM
Chapel at Homewood of Frederick
7407 Willow Road
Frederick, MD
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Reverend Robert Bruce Poynter

1927 - 2019
Reverend  Robert Bruce Poynter Obituary
Reverend Robert Bruce Poynter, of Frederick, Maryland, peacefully took his last breath on Sunday evening, June 30, 2019 surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Newark, NJ on March 5, 1927.

Bruce is survived by his Wife of 68 years, Karolyn Ruth Poynter, Sister Ruth (Poynter) Carrara, Daughters Michal Ruth Caldwell, Sara Karolyn Gallmann, Rachel Elisabeth Bennett, Rebecca Cleave Kirkner and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was pre-deceased by Parents, Reverend Matchett and Margeurite Poynter, Brother Reverend William Wallace Poynter, and Sister Rebecca (Poynter) DeMott.

Bruce was an Ordained Methodist Minister, an ordained Deacon in New Jersey in 1951 and an Elder in 1953 with the Baltimore-Washington Conference. As a Minister he served the following congregations: Teabo Methodist Church, Dover, NJ; Mount Hope Methodist Church, Rockaway, NJ; Thiells Methodist Church, Thiells, NY; Letchworth Village Chaplain, Thiells, NY; Lovely Lane United Methodist Church, Baltimore, Maryland; North Avenue United Methodist Church, Baltimore, Maryland; University United Methodist Church, College Park, Maryland; Bethesda United Methodist Church, Bethesda, Maryland; American University Methodist Chaplain, Washington, D.C.; Metropolitan Memorial Church, Washington, D.C. He also served as Vice President for Student Life at American University and Vice President at Wesley Theological Seminary, both in Washington, D.C.

Active in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's, Bruce participated in the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom" culminating in the famous "I have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Answering Dr. Martin Luther King's call to clergy in the country, he also marched with Dr. King in Selma Alabama's "March for Voting Rights".

Music was a defining part of Bruce's life. He was a talented musician thanks to his parents insistence of two hours of daily practice on the piano - for him and his three siblings. (They had 4 pianos in the house!) This was an important formative influence as he served as Pennington School's Chapel Organist at the age of 13. He played piano for a Trenton, NJ dance band, various jazz quartets, and "pick-up groups" for High School dances, weddings, etc. This allowed for many liberties not enjoyed by his schoolmates.

While at Navy Boot Camp, Bruce's talent earned him the position of Base Organist at Great Lakes Naval Training Center and Base Organist at Olathe, Kansas Naval Air Base. He was also the pianist in the Base Dance Band.

After his service in the Navy, he applied his musical talents as Organist and Choir Master at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Elizabeth, NJ; summer organist at St. Paul's (his Father's church); Organist at Drew Theological Seminary's Chapel, Madison, NJ; Chatham Methodist Church, Chatham, NJ; Substitute Organist at Metropolitan Memorial Church, Washington, D.C; Organist at Sibley Memorial Hospital Chapel, Washington, D.C.; and Organist at Centennial Methodist Church in Frederick, Maryland.

He was fortunate to have an opportunity to play the organ at Washington's National Cathedral. This was an unforgettable experience for him.

Most recently, Bruce joyfully volunteered his talents at Homewood's retirement community, playing for worship services, the nursing wards - The Meadows and The Willows, and various sing-alongs, celebrations and the like.

Bruce attended College after being accepted as a U.S. Naval flight cadet. He wanted very badly to become a fighter pilot. Navy Pilots had to first become commissioned officers, so he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, then Penn State University. He completed his undergraduate college education at Upsala College in East Orange, NJ and went on to Seminary at Drew University, where he met his beloved wife Karolyn.

His family and friends continue to be inspired by his passions for music, poetry and the performing arts. He passed along his deep love for the outdoors, animals and the natural world to his daughters. Most family vacations consisted of extended summer camping trips. There was always at least one dog and as many as four in the home, as well as numerous other family pets (mostly acquired/collected by him). Bruce, and his wife Kay, were generous supporters of Human and Civil Rights Causes and believed strongly in a life-long pursuit of education.

He will always be remembered as a kind, generous and loving husband, father, brother, uncle, grand, and great-grandfather.

Services: Thursday, August 29 at 3:00pm at the Chapel at Homewood of Frederick, 7407 Willow Road, Frederick, Maryland. Reverend Poynter donated his remains to the Maryland Anatomy Board for Medical Research.

Monetary donations will be gratefully accepted by The R. Bruce Poynter Endowment, Kay Spiritual Life Center, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D,C. 20016-8010; 202-885-3320 [email protected] You may also give online - please designate your gift to the R.Bruce Poynter Endowment. Your donations help us perpetuate Rev. R. Bruce Poynter's legacy of spiritual growth and community service. R. Bruce Poynter Foundation - Poynter Lecture Series https://www.american.edu/ocl/kay/poynter-lecture-series.cfm
Published Online in The Frederick News-Post from July 20 to July 21, 2019
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