George Walter Fiske (1872 - 1945)

My grandfather George Walter Fiske was born in 1872 in Holliston MA, and died in 1945 in Framingham MA. He was educated at Hartford Theological Seminary and Amherst College and graduated in 1898 with both a BD from Hartford and an MA from Amherst - here's his graduation picture. He later got a PhD from Boston University in 1925. He was a Congregational minister for some years in Maine and Mass. before taking a position in 1907 as a theology professor (later dean) in the School of Theology at Oberlin College, where he stayed to retirement in the thirties. Then he moved back to Framingham MA, and died in the house I grew up in (see picture of back of the house).

In the teens through the forties he was a prolific author on theology. After retirement he continued to write, had an active lecture schedule, and gave many guest sermons, etc. as one of the best known protestant theologians of his day (and the teacher of many of the ministers). He was just returning home from giving a lecture in Boston when he collapsed and died.

The house I grew up in was full of his spirit. His office was still intact in the house, with thousands of books and his writing desk. There were many items around the house that were gifts from his friends, former students, and other contacts in various religions around the world, including menorahs, a Buddha, and many Jewish and Islamic brass pieces from the Middle East where he taught in Beirut for a semester in 1932 and for a year in 1937. I still have his Koran (in Arabic, don't know whether he could read it though I assume he read some Hebrew). He was a big early supporter and organizer of ecumenicalism and counted friends from a variety of creeds.

One of his students, Vernon Johns, was the predecessor of Martin Luther King at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. The Vernon Johns page at Oberlin discusses this early civil rights activist and includes a link to a letter from Reverend Johns to my grandfather.

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Updated 10/28/12