David R. Gemmer
Dave is a grandson of H.C. Gemmer and has been on the board since 1977. David also serves on the Finance Committee. He worked in the Tampa Bay area of Florida to help the district attorney get criminals off of death row, but has now retired. Dave resides in St. Petersburg, Florida with his wife Marsha and their dogs.
Executive Vice-President & Treasurer
Elden Hartman, of Indianapolis, is a former attorney and retired federal law enforcement officer. He has a B.A. from University of Indianapolis (1976) and J.D. from Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis (1982). He has been on the board of directors and served as Treasurer of the H.C. Gemmer Family Christian Foundation since 1982. He has also served as the Foundation's Executive Vice-President since 1988, succeeding his father, the late Dr. Grover L. Hartman. Elden currently works for the Security Department of Indianapolis Power & Light Company.
Rev. John Hinant
John has been on the board of the Gemmer Foundation since 1995. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife Elyce.
board development committee
Worth Hartman, of Indianapolis, is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC) and currently serves as chaplain for Westminster Village North Continuing Care Community. He previously served as chaplain for St. Vincent Hospice, The Altenheim Community in Indianapolis, St. Francis Hospital, and St. Vincent Clay Hospital. He has a B.S. degree from Earlham College (1975), and M.Div. from Earlham School of Religion (1987). He was recorded as a Friends Minister in 1990. He is a Board Certified Chaplain, Mental Health Counselor, and Clinical Addiction Counselor. Worth has served on the board of the H.C. Gemmer Family Christian Foundation since 1988 and is also a member of its Board Development Committee. He has also served on the board of the Peace Learning Center, Church World Service Indiana Region, and the Indiana Network for Higher Education Ministries.secretary
Yvonne has been a member of the foundation board since filling her mother's seat in 2011, and also presently serves on the Board Development Committee. In the mid 1980s, she met the Gemmers through the Church of the Brethren as she advocated for peace in Central America. Yvonne’s passion for peace and sustainable international development is grounded in her experience as a Caritas volunteer working in Salvadoran refugee camps located in Honduras. She gave testimony to her eye witness experience of the war in the award-winning book “In Search of Refuge” published by Herald Press in 1984. In subsequent years she gave leadership to Witness for Peace and the Pledge of Resistance, then to the Church of the Brethren Latin America/Caribbean Office and through them with the National Council of Churches Committee on the Caribbean and Latin America. She served on several boards of non profit groups focused on peace in Central America. From 1999-2006 she lived and worked in rural El Salvador.
She currently lives in an intentional neighborhood in San Antonio, Texas and works with Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers in Mission Promotion and Education.
Rev. david vargas
Rev. David Vargas joined the Gemmer Foundation in 2013. He is President Emeritus of the Division of Overseas Ministries (DOM), Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada. For 28 years, Vargas served as a member of the executive staff of DOM. From 1983 to 2003, he was the Latin America and Caribbean Executive, and, concurrently served as Vice President of DOM from 1999 until 2003. As President of DOM, he was also the Co-Executive Officer of Global Ministries, a common witness with the Wider Church Ministries of the United Church of Christ (UCC).
In addition to his years of service to DOM/Global Ministries, Vargas served the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in a number of capacities during his 43 years of ordained ministry. He provided pastoral leadership to three congregations of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico; and served for five years as the Director of Program Services for Hispanic and Bilingual Congregations in the Division of Homeland Ministries (now Disciples Home Missions), Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). While serving with the Division of Overseas Ministries and Global Ministries in 1992-1993, Vargas also served for 10 months as the first National Pastor of Hispanic Ministries of the Disciples of Christ.
Rev. Vargas was ordained in February 1970 by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico, and currently has ministerial standing with the Disciples of Christ in Puerto Rico, the United States and Canada, and with the United Church of Christ.
Sandra Gourdet joined the board of the Gemmer Foundation in 2014, after her retirement as Area Executive for the Africa Office of Global Ministries, representing both the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ (UCC) to more than 40 partner churches, councils, and organizations in 14 African countries. Sandra was responsible for administering the full-time Disciples and UCC mission staff working on the African continent.
Sandra was born in Birmingham, AL and graduated from Miles College in Birmingham in 1972 with a B.A. in English and a minor in sociology. She received a certificate from the Teacher’s Education Program at University of Michigan in 1972 before doing intensive French language studies in France in 1972-1973 under the Disciples’ Division of Overseas Ministries (DOM). She received a B.S. degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Teacher Certification from the state of Alabama in 1986. Sandra completed an advanced B.Th. degree with the University of South Africa in March 1999 and was ordained by the Disciples of Christ Alabama/NW Florida Region in September 1999. She received a M.Th. degree from the University of South Africa in 2003.
Sandra began employment with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) DOM (1972-1975) as a Fraternal Worker assigned to the Disciples Community of the Church of Christ in Zaire, at Bolenge and Mbandaka, as an English teacher. From 1975 to 1979, she was assigned to the Disciples Community of the Church of Christ in Mbandaka, Zaire as a teacher. From 1981 to 1988, she taught at Bolenge. From 1988 to 1993, Sandra began work in formal and informal education. From 1993 to 1997, Sandra served in administration and teaching with the United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe, at Chokore. In October 1997, Sandra was appointed to the Zimbabwe Synod of United Congregational Church of South Africa (UCCSA), where she served working with the women as AIDs Orphan Coordinator and as a local pastor. Beginning in 1999, Sandra was appointed to the Zimbabwe Synod of the UCCSA, where she served as a consultant in education and women’s development programs until September 2002. Sandra and her husband worked in Haiti from 2003 to 2005.
tia manson, j.d.
Tia Manson is a special education and social studies teacher for 8th grade students in the Indianapolis Public School system. She is also the Director of Recruiting and a math & reading instructor for Teaching Our Posterity Success in Indianapolis. Additionally, Tia has been a math instructor for J. Scott Learning and the Indianapolis Algebra Project, as well as the Educational Recovery Clinic, all in Indy. Tia has also been recognized as the Teacher/Adult of the Month and In-Service Professional Development Speaker by T. C. Howe Community School.
Manson is a graduate of Howard University in Washington, D.C., with a B.A. in 1984 and a J.D. from the School of Law in 1987. She joined the Gemmer Foundation board in 2015.
Erick "Rick" Reisinger
Erick (Rick) D. Reisinger is president of Board of Church Extension, dba Disciples Church Extension Fund. He is also co-executive of Church Extension Financial & Missional Resources, Inc., reporting to the wider Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Reisinger became president of Disciples Church Extension Fund in January 2012 after serving Church Extension for more than 30 years in the areas of finance and operations, service development, asset and liability management, congregational consulting, Regional partnership, and, most recently as vice-president and treasurer. As president, he oversees the loan, investment and capital fundraising services that have been the primary focus of Church Extension for 130 years. In addition to his experience and expertise in accounting, securities compliance, financial operations and his lifelong relationship with many aspects and entities with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), he brings to the ministry a deep understanding of the intricacies of church lending and building/capital planning, especially as they pertain to the missional lives of congregations.
Reisinger holds a B.S. degree in business administration and economics from Culver-Stockton College in Canton, MO. He has served on boards and planning committees of the Denominational Investment and Loan Administrators organization of church extension funds, United Church of Christ Insurance Board, World Convention of Churches of Christ, and Wilshire Christian Church Foundation. He joined the Gemmer Foundation board in 2016 and serves on the Finance Committee.
Andrew McCutchan is the great-grandson of the founder, H. C. Gemmer, grandson of Rev. H. Robert Gemmer and Myran Jean Gemmer, and son of Jean Gemmer McCutchan and Larry McCutchan. He joined the board of the Gemmer Foundation in November 2017, after attending for many years with his brother, Eric McCutchan., whom he replaced on the board. Andrew is an Implementation Specialist at IOI Interlogic Outsourcing, Inc., and lives with his wife, Jessica, in Elkhart, IN.
Myrna Jean Gemmer
Myrna was the daughter-in-law of founder, H.C. Gemmer. and wife of his son, H. Robert Gemmer. Myrna served on the board from 1971 to 2010, replacing Edith Gemmer upon her retirement. She served as President of the board after the death of Rev. H. Robert Gemmer in 1992. Prior to becoming a Gemmer, she was a schoolteacher in northern Ohio. Myrna Gemmer passed away on May 16, 2018 in St. Petersburg, FL.
Annabel had been on the foundation for decades, first gaining a seat in 1988 and lasting until 2013. She was trained as an educator and has practiced that profession all her life. She shared with her family her love of nature when her boys were growing up. It has been told that she carried her bird, rock, mineral, flower, and wildlife books during the family's camping trips. Annabel received her elementary teacher's certification in the 1960s for geography and math. She taught adult basic education at a number of Indianapolis schools, including Arsenal Technical and Crispus Attucks. She also received a master's in adult education from Ball State in 1978 at age 62. She passed away on December 30, 2016 at the age of 101.
Rev. Judith K. Dunson
Judy Dunson was a retired Commissioned Minister with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indiana and is the immediate past Regional Director for Church World Service in Indiana/Kentucky. She retired from CWS in January 2011 after 32 years of ministry. She continued to be involved with CWS through the Greater Indianapolis CROP Hunger Walk through the transition to a new coordinator, a position she held for 28 years.
Rev. Dunson traveled abroad several times during her 32 years with CWS to see the work funded by Church World Service in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, West Africa, Southern Africa, and the India subcontinent. She was selected in 1989 by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ to serve as an election observer during the first free elections in Namibia.
Among her community activities, Rev. Dunson volunteered with WFYI public television and radio in Indianapolis and the Indiana Reading and Information Services (doing prerecorded programs for the reading impaired). She was a Trustee of the National Friends of Public Broadcasting. Judy volunteered with the Indy Humane Society, serving as a Feline Friend who got to play with about 60 cats each week!
As a professional clown named Pom-Pom, Judy entertained at non profit events, did programs on the history of clowning, appeared in parades, and led clown training and puppetry workshops. She enjoyed reading mysteries, traveling, playing with her two companion cats, Bootsie and Blackie, and using her computer skills to provide services to non-profit organizations.
Judy passed away on September 12, 2017.
Former secretary & webmaster
ERIC D. MCCUTCHAN, M.S.
Eric joined the Gemmer Foundation board in 2010 and ended his tenure in late 2017. In early 2012, he proposed the idea of giving the foundation a web presence by creating this website. He was elected to the secretary position in late 2012. He has years of experience in sports medicine at every level from middle school to professional athletics. He holds a BS in athletic training from the University of Indianapolis and MS in the same from Indiana State University.
A great-grandson of H.C. Gemmer, Eric lives in Fort Worth, Texas with his wife Katherine and daughter Kimberly.
Rev. Harold R. Watkins
Hal has served as a pastor, denominational executive, seminary administrator, author and consultant to congregations and church judicatories. Having begun his full-time ministry serving congregations in Tucson, Arizona and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, he joined the Board of Church Extension of Disciples of Christ as a general representative in 1958. He served as its president from January 1980 through March 1995 after serving in every executive position of the organization. In 2004 he was named president emeritus.
Mr. Watkins is author of two published books: Continuity, Conservation, Cutting Edge, a 122-year history of Board of Church Extension (2005--328 pages); My Life and Times, the Watkins/Earlywine family history (2011--313 pages). Mr. Watkins was ordained into Christian ministry in 1950 at First Christian Church, Wauseon, Ohio. He and his wife, Evelyn, currently reside in Indianapolis. Harold had been a Gemmer board member from 2006 through 2014 and also served on the foundation's Finance Committee. He passed away on December 2, 2015.
HIRAM CONRAD (H.C.) GEMMER
Hiram Conrad Gemmer started the foundation from money he had invested in land development along Post Road on the east side of Indianapolis in the 1930s. From that investment, he and his wife Edith began this foundation in 1956 with the intent of granting money to charities, and was elected its first secretary & treasurer. He served as an officer for Empire Life Insurance company on the near north side of Indianapolis through the 1950s. He died in 1962.
Past President Rev. H. Robert "Bob" Gemmer
Hiram Robert Gemmer was the original president of the foundation, the son of H.C. He had come up with the idea of granting money from the sale of the land on Post Road to charities. He served as president through the 1980s. Bob was instrumental in working with Jimmy Carter & Millard Fuller to start Habitat For Humanity International in the 1970s. He passed away on December 21, 1992. He is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.
FORMER EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT: Dr. Grover L. Hartman
Grover Hartman was executive secretary of the Indiana Council of Churches before being elected to the board to replace William Pearcy in 1966. He served as Executive Vice President of the Gemmer Foundation until his death in 1988.
Rev. William T. Pearcy
William Pearcy was executive secretary of the Board of Church Extension of the Disciples of Christ when he was elected as a board member at the very first meeting of the Foundation in 1956. He retired from the Foundation in 1966.
FORMER Secretary: Rev. Dr. Raymond E. Brown
Ray attended Jarvis Christian College, where he received the Bachelor of Arts degree and was ordained into Christian Ministry. The Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree was conferred upon him by Jarvis in 1977.
Ray served the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as the first president of the National Convocation, Sr. VP of the Board of Church Extension, the first African American vice-moderator of the General Assembly, and as the interim president of the Division of Homeland Ministries. He passed away October 30, 2012.
Rev. Dr. Richard Dickinson
Treasurer Cassius Fenton
Mr Fenton was added to the board in 1961 as Assistant Secretary-Treasurer, and assumed the full position upon H.C. Gemmer's death the next year. He was treasurer and business manager at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis.
Jean A. Gemmer McCutchan, Ph.D.
Jean began her tenure on the foundation board in 1977, when the fall meeting used to be held in December. She is a granddaughter of H.C. Gemmer.
Dr. McCutchan received her Ph.D. in child & family psychology from Andrews University in 1994. In 2008, she began her own private practice from her home as the last part of her long and successful career. She retired and lived in Elkhart County, Indiana with her husband Larry until her death on December 8, 2012. She is buried near her father in Crown Hill Cemetery.
Rev. Eric Brotheridge
Reverend Brotheridge was with the foundation 2006-14. He also had a seat in the Finance Committee. Eric resides in Noblesville, Indiana.