Hugh Wesley Severance

Hugh Wesley Severance, 70, passed into eternity on Wednesday, April 29, 2015. Hugh was born in Highland Park, Mich., on Dec. 10, 1944, to Aaron Earl Severance and Erma Lucile (Wagoner) Severance. He grew up in the Wayne, Mich., area.

He graduated from Wayne Memorial High School in 1963 and spent time in summer stock theater in Wooster, Ohio, before attending Henry Ford Community College, Dearborn, Mich. He graduated with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration- Accounting degree from Eastern Michigan University in 1968.

Hugh was an accounting intern with the Army Tank Automotive Command in Warren, Mich., before being drafted into the Army. He served at Fort Knox, Ky., from 1969-1971. He returned to the accounting field in Warren, Mich., until transferring to the Military District of Washington at Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C. He also worked at the Army Materiel Command in Alexandria, Va., and in Indianapolis at the Defense Finance & Accounting Service, retiring in 2000.

Hugh became a lay speaker in the United Methodist Church in 1992 and led church services for campers at the KOA Campground near Mt. Comfort. He then trained and served as a bi-vocational United Methodist local pastor and worked for the Lord at Charlottesville UMC and Mt. Lebanon UMC in Hancock County, finally retiring in 2010. Hugh continued to do what he enjoyed best: substitute preaching for other county pastors who needed vacation time and helping out at Mohawk UMC.

He loved the Greenfield community and volunteered many hours to the original board of Hope House, serving as a volunteer chaplain at Hancock Regional Hospital, helping with the jail ministry at the Hancock County Jail, being the treasurer of the Greater Greenfield Ministerial Association, being a kettle runner for the Salvation Army and working the polls during elections. Hugh also served on the Central Indiana District Council on Ministry, to prepare and guide United Methodist ministerial candidates, as well as on a committee on racial justice.

Hugh married Leslie Thompson on May 6, 1972, in Rochester, Mich., and they raised a beautiful daughter together, Megan Severance Shaner, who survives him.

His passion was participating in work missions at Native American churches in Anadarko, Okla., Carnegie, Okla., and the Crow Creek and Rosebud Reservations, S.D. He also went on work missions to the Appalachian Work Project in Kentucky and the Midwest Mission Distribution Center in Chatham, Ill., and helped with flood cleanups at Cannelton, Ind., and in Illinois.

Another passion was working as a Do Dad with his daughter’s Mt. Vernon Trails Girl Scout Troop 760. He taught the girls orienteering and other outdoor skills. He served as an assistant scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts when he was stationed at Fort Knox.

He loved gardening (when the man had time!), puttering around in his woodshop, fishing and taking care of “his” backyard birds. He was a living encyclopedia on plants, shrubs and especially trees, having learned much knowledge from his uncle, Paul Wagoner, of Greencastle, Ind., and his mother.

Hugh attended Bradley UMC in Greenfield in the 1980s and early 1990s and was most recently a member of Mohawk UMC.

Hugh was proud to work for the Department of Defense and a stalwart American; he loved Christ and the people he served. He was a wonderful person “who never met a stranger.”

He leaves his wife; daughter; son-in-law, David Shaner, Newark, Ohio; sister, Mary Zninski, Elk Rapids, Mich.; brother, Eric Severance, Dearborn Heights, Mich.; niece, Pat Wazny, Traverse City, Mich.; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Cynthia and Richard Wazny of Midland, Mich.; an uncle, Donald Staebler of Ann Arbor, Mich; cousins and many friends.

Hugh was preceded in death by his parents and brother-in-law, Josef Zninski.

Visitation will be held from 3 until 7 p.m. on Friday, May 1, 2015, at Erlewein Mortuary & Crematory, 1484 W. US Hwy. 40, Greenfield, IN 46140. The service, performed by the Rev. Charles Thompson, will follow at 7 p.m. Cremation will be afterward, with a committal service in Grass Lake, Mich., at a future date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Elevator Fund at Mohawk United Methodist Church, 2045 W. 400 N., Greenfield, Indiana 46140; the American Liver Foundation, 921 E.86th Street, Suite 150, Indianapolis, IN 46240; the Hancock Regional Foundation, Attn: Hospice, 801 N. State Street, Greenfield, IN 46140; or a charity of the donor’s choice.

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