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Rev. Ralph Lasher, minister and community activist, dies at 86

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Rev. Ralph Lasher
Rev. Ralph Lasher

Reverend Ralph Lasher, ordained minister and community activist, died peacefully in his sleep on August 26 in the care of his friends at Bering/Omega House. Although not HIV-positive, his friends at Bering/Omega wanted to have the honor to care for him in his last days because of his decades of involvement with that AIDS hospice organization. He had been ill for the past two months.

Lasher was born on July 29, 1928. After graduating from college, he was torn between politics and the ministry. As it happens, he found himself on a train to New York City with Ohio senator Robert Taft, a longtime family friend. When Lasher asked the senator for his career advice, Taft said, “Don’t go into politics, Ralph. It’s the dirtiest business there is.” That sealed the deal.

Ralph lived with “the love of his life,” Harry Gibson, from 1955 until Gibson’s passing in 2000. In 1968, after a particularly horrendous Chicago winter, the couple moved to the warmer climes of Houston.

In the late 1980s, Lasher became director of the Montrose Clinic and started a support group at Metropolitan Community Church of the Resurrection (now Resurrection MCC).

Lasher left Resurrection to become the interim pastor at Bethel Church, where he stayed for seven years until his retirement in February 2013.

Since leaving Bethel, he had been enjoying his life in retirement. Lasher’s ministry and his tireless work in the HIV/AIDS community has been matched by few other pastors. His death is a great loss to all in our community.

Read more about Ralph Lasher life in Sally Huffer’s article online here.

Funeral services for Ralph Lasher will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 14, at Bethel United Church of Christ, 1107 Shepherd Drive, Houston, Texas 77007.

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