Search the Carroll County community newspaper archives


>> Click here to search for stories published AFTER 2011

>> Use this search box to find stories published prior to 2011.
Note: All Words is a more strict search. Implied operator is "AND."
Ex: Charles Dickens"
From
subscriber services email print comment


(Enlarge) The Rev. Dr. Ira Zepp

The Rev. Dr. Ira Gilbert Zepp Jr., professor emeritus of the religious studies department at McDaniel College, died peacefully at his home on Aug. 1. He was 79.

In a memorial tribute by McDaniel College president Joan Develin Coley, she recalled that Dr. Zepp “joined the faculty in 1963, first as dean of the Chapel, then as full-time professor of religious studies, and taught full time until his retirement in 1994.

“His electrifying courses on taboo topics like human sexuality, death and racism, and his serious scholarship on a wide range of subjects, from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X to the culture and religion of Islam, earned him much popularity and esteem.”

Coley’s tribute noted that Zepp “participated in non-violent activism and marched in Selma, Alabama, with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

After his retirement, Zepp taught an occasional “honors” classes at McDaniel and he continued to teach at Carroll Community College until 2008.

Zepp was born Nov. 15, 1929 in Madonna, Md,, the son of the late Ira G. and Nellie Katheryn (Foard) Zepp Sr.

He was the husband of 57 years to Mary Elizabeth (Dodd) Zepp. 

Surviving him, in addition to his wife, are children Alan P. Zepp and wife Noelle DeMars of Westminster, Karen P. Zepp of Columbia, Paul H. Zepp and partner Vincent Sargent of Van Nuys, Calif., and Jody K. Zepp of Owings Mills; granddaughter Rachael E. Carter; siblings Murray Zepp of Rising Sun, Patricia Mikkonan of Bel Air, and Dale Zepp of Montana.

He was preceded in death by a sister, Elsie Hutchison.

Dr. Zepp graduated from McDaniel College, then-Western Maryland College, in 1952. He went on to graduate magna cum laude from Drew Theological Seminary; after which he served a number of churches in Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey before joining the faculty at McDaniel. He earned a Ph.D. in 1971 from St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore.

Mr. Zepp touched many lives. He was a man of enormous charisma, wisdom, and compassion. He returned to Western Maryland in the 1960s after the community and the college had begun wrestling, in the mid-1950s, with race relations and the civil rights movement.

Teaching in turbulent times

The college has always been known as the first co-education college below the Mason-Dixon Line. However, integrating the college was a struggle. The Baltimore Colts began their summer practice at Western Maryland College in the late 1950s. Many local historians accept that it was the dynamic of having African-American athletes on the Baltimore Colts that provided a major impetus in the desegregation of Westminster - and the college.

From 1955 until the mid-1960s there were a series of trials and tribulations integrating McDaniel College and Westminster.  In a Feb. 3, 2001, correspondence, Zepp reported that the “first African-Americans to graduate were Charles Victor McTeer … and Charles Smothers. They graduated in 1969.”

Dr. Charles Collyer said he first met Zepp about 12 years ago. Collyer said Zepp “participated in, and freed others to participate in, the American civil rights movement.”

Collyer reiterated that Dr. Zepp “was one of the members of the clergy who went to Selma, Alabama, in 1965…  These efforts resulted in the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 which made barriers to voter registration and voting illegal — and Dr. Zepp was a part of that.”

It was not easy. In Coley’s tribute to Zepp, she wrote: “Daughter Jody Zepp said her parents’ advocacy of civil rights was unpopular in their Westminster neighborhood of the mid-1960s. The family received hate mail and dirty looks from neighbors who didn’t like the sight of black guests at their house.

“ ‘By virtue of taking stands you will have some people who are on the other side. I’ve made enemies, but I never think of them as enemies,’ Ira said. ‘I will love the hell out of them, or better yet, heaven into them.’ ”

Dr. Pam Zappardino, who along with Dr. Collyer were inspired and encouraged by Dr. Zepp to be co-founders of the Ira & Mary Zepp Center for Nonviolence and Peace Education, said, “I was a student at (then-Western Maryland) College in the late ‘60s, when change was all around us. Ira freed us as students to stand up for what we believed and to stand strong in the face of criticism. 

“He also taught us how to question and how to enter into real dialogue with folks with whom we disagreed. I learned from Ira, mostly by example, how to confront issues nonviolently. I came to understand by watching him that nonviolence is more than just a tactic, it is a way of life.”

Collyer and Zappardino recall that Zepp inspired generations of students to lead lives committed to service, activism and peace.

The author of a dozen books, Zepp viewed language as a tool for both shaping and expressing his ideas.  In 1981, he wrote “Sacred Spaces of Westminster.” 

In part of his introduction, he wrote, “This study is an attempt to suggest the religious significance of the large number of ‘natural’ and ‘secular’ symbols and areas of Westminster and in so doing to observe how the city reflects archetypical … human consciousness.”

In addition to his many professional accomplishments, for many Zepp was a trusted friend and advisor, a college professor, a foot soldier in the civil rights movement, an author and certainly the conscience and soul of McDaniel College and Westminster.

Although Westminster and McDaniel College are quick to claim Zepp, he was foremost, a citizen of the world. In the biographical notes from the book, “Sacred Places,” it says that Zepp “also studied at the University of Edinburgh, Gottingen, Harvard and at the Center for Intercultural Documentation in Cuernavaca, Mexico, as well as in India and Eastern Europe.”

Collyer observed that Zepp carried out scholarly research on Martin Luther King Jr., producing books such as “The Social Gospel of Martin Luther King Jr.,” “Search for the Beloved Community” with Kenneth L. Smith; and “Nonviolence: Origins and Outcomes,” which Zepp wrote with Collyer. 

Friends said Zepp leaves a legacy with which it is our responsibility to continue to build upon. Fortunately, he laid a foundation upon which we can work.

Zappardino notes that Zepp “was a critical partner with Walt Michael in the founding of Common Ground on the Hill, an organization in which the traditional music and art of many cultures brings people together in community.”

Collyer wrote that the Ira and Mary Zepp Center for Nonviolence and Peace Education is another legacy of Zepp. 

The center, said Collyer, “is a program of Common Ground that carries on Ira’s legacy by promoting greater knowledge of the civil rights movement and of the worldwide family of nonviolence traditions to which that movement belongs.”

Said Zappardino, “Ira was an optimist. In a very real way, I am who I am because I knew Ira ... and we often laughed about some of the trouble that’s gotten me into. I expect I’ll get into more trouble as I go along. And that Ira will still be cheering me on.”

Memorial service Aug. 29

A memorial service celebrating Zepp’s life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, at Big Baker Chapel on the campus of McDaniel College with the Rev. Carroll Yingling officiating.

Arrangements are by the Myers-Durboraw Funeral Home in Westminster.  The family will receive friends immediately following the service at McDaniel Lounge on campus.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Ira & Mary Zepp Center for Nonviolence and Peace Education, P.O. Box 552, Westminster, MD 21158.



user comments (0)


Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Baltimore Sun: Baltimore breaking news, sports, business, entertainment, weather and traffic
xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Learn more about subscriptions
Learn more about subscriptions
Advertisement
The attorney for Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said Thursday the Criminal Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice is pursuing perjury charges against her for her signature on documents.
Advertisement
Meet four young Baltimore-based activists that pivoted during the pandemic to continue to fight for racial and gender equity.
President Joe Biden will participate in a televised town hall in Baltimore on Thursday night. It will be his first visit to the city as chief executive. While details are still being finalized, here is what we know.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh announced Thursday that he will not run for re-election next year and will instead retire after two terms in the post.
Shopping patterns established during the COVID pandemic are here to stay, experts say, with further growth expected in home delivery, curbside pickup and online subscriptions of everything from pet food to coffee.
An Annapolis couple pleaded not guilty to charges of espionage related to the selling nuclear of secrets to who they thought were agents of a foreign country.
Comic book lovers and collectors alike will have the opportunity this weekend to see rare items and props, such as actor Chris Evans’ Captain America shield from the “Avengers: End Game” movie and hear from the likes of Marvel comic book artist Joe Quesada at the 22nd annual Baltimore Comic-Con at the Baltimore Convention Center.
Advertisement
Advertisement
To identify the best cities to live in, 24/7 Wall St. used data from the Census Bureau, FBI and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create a weighted index of 25 measures across four categories: affordability, economy, quality of life and community.
Wilson's time at the NSA took her from the American embassy in London, where she countered terrorist threats to the 2012 Olympic Games, to Maryland’s Fort Meade, where she addressed terrorist threats to the U.S.
Western Maryland state lawmakers have sent letters to officials in West Virginia, asking them to “consider adding us as constituent counties to the State of West Virginia.”
It’s the time of year when some of us are craving a good scare. Fortunately for us, Baltimore is home to many spooky stories.
About 56% Baltimore’s city employees have complied with the city’s requirement to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, city leaders reported Wednesday three days after the requirement went into effect.
A 41-year-old Baltimore County man faces federal wire fraud and theft of government property charges as prosecutors say he illegally collected more than $1 million in disability benefits while pretending to be a paraplegic for years.
A Baltimore Police officer assigned to the internal affairs unit is suing the department, alleging he was discriminated against and was wrongly accused of leaking information to the target of an administrative investigation.
The demonstration on Wednesday evening comes amid ongoing collective bargaining talks between the Hogan administration and public-sector unions over wages and working conditions.
Advertisement

Free Fun & Games

  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Daily Crossword
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Jumble Daily in color
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Daily Solitaire
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Bubble Shooter HD
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    2020 Connect
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Cookie Crush
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Butterfly Kyodai
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Classic Mahjong
  • Picturing Maryland: A photo a day for 2021 part 3
    Daily Sudoku
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

The Baltimore Sun Store

Advertisement

GAMES & TRIVIA

Advertisement