Dr. Geddes W. Hanson, affectionately known as Guy, passed away on Saturday, March 27, 2021, at Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center.
Geddes was born in the Bronx, NY, on May 17, 1934. He was a graduate of Stuyvesant High School in New York City and often spoke proudly of being among the city kids known for their shoulder bags and slide rules. He double-majored in physics and philosophy at Howard University before earning a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School in 1958. On June 6, 1959, Geddes married Carrie McCullough at the Third Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia. This marriage would last the rest of his days.
After pastoring congregations in New York, Philadelphia, and Indianapolis, in 1966, Geddes and Carrie relocated to Princeton at the behest of the Reverend James I. McCord, then president of Princeton Theological Seminary. Beyond being among the first African Americans to earn a PhD in theology from Princeton (1972), Geddes became the first permanent African American teacher at the Seminary. Here he helped organize the first “Conference of Black Seminarians” on campus in 1968, which led to the development of the Association of Black Seminarians.
With a focus on church administration, conflict, and theories of change, Dr. Hanson held various administrative and teaching roles since 1969. He was both Director of the Center for Continuing Education and a cohort leader for the Doctor of Ministry program. Dr. Hanson retired as the Charlotte Newcombe Professor of Congregational Ministry in 2009. Before his retirement, the Association of Black Seminarians instituted the Geddes W. Hanson Lecture, a biennial lecture in honor of his legacy and contributions to the Seminary.
Geddes and his wife Carrie were avid international travelers, often visiting museums and art exhibits. His two favorite places were Paris and Vienna. He is predeceased by his parents, Geddes H. and Adele (Gumz) Hanson, as well as two sisters, Ivy and Avis Hanson. He is survived by his loving wife Carrie Hanson and an intentional family comprised of former students and their children known as the “The Hanson Kids.”
The funeral will take place on Tuesday, April 6, at 11 a.m. EST at Trinity Church in Princeton.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions and public health protocols, only a small number can assemble at the church.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Elder Garnett Hawkins Prize at Princeton Theological Seminary. This award celebrates African American academic achievement among the Seminary student body. Gifts can be addressed to Princeton Theological Seminary, Attn: Advancement Office, 64 Mercer Street, Princeton, NJ 08542-0803.