Remembering Charlie Gearing

May 12, 2020

Donald Romanik, President of the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) regrets to inform you that the Venerable Charles E. Gearing, 91, long-time deacon at St. Bartholomew’s, Atlanta, GA and former planned giving and endowment leader at ECF, died peacefully on Friday, May 1 following a brief illness.

Charlie was well-known throughout the Episcopal Church for his work on stewardship and planned giving and was one of the authors of the original Funding Future Ministry which sold out and was reprinted twice in the 1990s. He presented at conferences sponsored by the Episcopal Church Department of Stewardship and later at regional workshops sponsored by the Episcopal Church Foundation.

During his work at ECF, he consulted with hundreds of Episcopal churches, helping them organize, invest and grow their financial resources. Much of the planned giving and endowment material used at the Episcopal Church Foundation today originated with Charlie.

Charlie earned his BSEE from Georgia Institute of Technology and his MS and Ph.D. from Purdue University. He taught at various universities including Purdue, the University of North Carolina, the Middle East Technical University (Ankara, Turkey), Dartmouth College, and Georgia Tech where he also served as Dean of the College of Management and as Associate Vice President for Development.

In time he was called to ordained ministry, becoming a deacon in 1993 serving his local parish, St. Bart’s. He also served as Director of Stewardship Development at St. Philip’s Cathedral, Atlanta and chaired the diocesan Stewardship Commission. In addition, he volunteered for numerous organizations including the Alzheimer’s Association, a ministry in Haiti at St. Marc’s, Bois Blanc, and worked with youth in the Middle East.

“When I first became Director of Endowment Management Solutions at ECF in 2005 I often called Charlies for advice,” Ken Quigley, Senior Program Director, commented. “He patiently schooled me on the concepts, language, and goals of endowments. As recently as one month ago, Charlie called me to see how I was doing and asked me to follow up with a church that had called him for advice. Even at 91 Charlie was still working for the church.”

Glenn Holliman, former vice president at ECF, said of Charlie: “He represented the best of Episcopal stewardship teaching … spiritual, compassionate, and gentle in encouraging persons to share their financial gifts in order to share the Good News. The fruits of his work will last for generations.”

Fred Osborn, former vice president at ECF, said of Charlie: “He was the gentleman’s gentleman – a good listener, a forgiving soul … He was a team player always willing to give credit to others for his successes and triumphs. Charlie will be missed.”