We had word this morning of the death of J. Harold (‘Hal’) Ellens yesterday at age 85. He had been suffering from congestive heart failure for some time but had remained active to the very end.
Hal was the 2014 Helen Flanders Dunbar awardee, after which he requested to be certified as a CPSP Diplomate. He was a prolific writer and a supporter of many other writers. He had deep connections in the publishing world, especially at Praeger Press. Hal was also a large influence in the religious community, particularly Biblical studies, psychology, and the clinical pastoral field. Hal had some 180 books published under his name as author or co-author. He was a key leader in the Society for Biblical Literature, nationally and internationally.
On a personal note, I heard from Hal last month. He reported that his heart was failing him more rapidly than he anticipated. He wrote in reference to his ongoing help for me with publishing. I was last with Hal at the Society for Biblical Literature meeting in Vienna in 2014, which he attended with his vivacious teen-age granddaughters and adopted son. Astonishingly, he was popping nitroglycerin pills at that time to keep his heart functioning and keeping up his usual fast pace.
I had been introduced to Hal by Donald Capps some twenty years ago, who thought he could help me get published, as indeed he did. Hal will be greatly missed by me personally, both as a dear friend and as a theological ally. Our community has lost a strong advocate for the values to which we are committed.
May he rest In peace.
Raymond J. Lawrence