Chuck Torrey & Gay Schy
1947 (Chuck) and 1937 (Gay). At VIUF from September 2004 to January 2017
How did they contribute to VIUF?
|VIUF Board||Secretary, Treasurer|
|Committee Chair||Social Justice|
|Committee Member||Community Service
Committee on Ministry
Committee on Ministry
What activities/hobbies do you now enjoy (as of October 2018)?
We have joined our local UU fellowship (UU Fellowship of Santa Cruz County). We are both involved with COPA (Communities Organizing for Relational Power in Action, an AIF affiliate akin to Sound Alliance). We also participate in the book club at the fellowship, and Chuck is board treasurer.
Gay goes to Silver Sneakers classes regularly, Chuck takes care of the yard. We enjoy time with our two daughters and their families. Skiing is harder from here, but Chuck still gets some days in.
Rhoda Karusaitis remembers:
After the UUA chose to study immigration as a moral issue, Chuck Torrey and Gay Schy joined Melvin Mackey to study the issue in some depth. They both felt strongly about the issue and set up/activated a social justice committee. During college Gay went with a busload of other students to take part in the harsh civil rights march on Selma. For years Chuck chaired the SJ committee, preparing both agenda and notes. Often the committee either met in their house or in the comfortable lounge of the building next to Gay’s studio. (Gay was a nationally known artist who made constructions, some utilizing old books and she later concentrated on encaustic.) Chuck tended his vineyard and made several excellent wines we all enjoyed.
Over and over Chuck and Gay would come by and pick me up to join them at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. There we, as part of VIUF, would offer food, information and a ready ear to a detainee’s family and close friends as they passed by after a visit in that prison with their loved one. So many families with young children! Chuck had been a psychiatrist and Gay had run psychiatric clinics, so they were particularly skilled in working with people. In earlier years when Tacoma citizens were mobilizing and working out ways to help and support immigrants, Chuck and Gay were well known to other participants at meetings of what was called the “Roundtable”.
Both Chuck and Gay were active and enthusiastic supporters of VIUF. Chuck served on the Board and also as Treasurer. Both frequently served as greeters and Chuck regularly prepared nametags. They also hosted a number of Circle Dinners.
Melvin Mackey remembers:
I remember the warm hospitality of Chuck and Gay in their home and their outbuilding for Social Justice Committee meetings. Chuck was the Chair and the Minute taker — he took good care of us. We had good snacks and wine made from Chuck’s vineyard while we solved the world’s problems. There was a pool table in the outbuilding that looked enticing, but we were always too busy to use it.
Chuck and Gay provided the table, chairs, signs, many of the refreshments, and lots of love for visitors to the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) on second Saturdays each month, beginning in 2011. When they moved to California, they donated all of the support items to VIUF to help us continue in their footsteps. They were excellent role models.
Gay visited Brenda, a detainee in the NWDC, for about 18 months. Gay was denied entrance on two separate occasions because she was part of our visitor support group at the site entrance. Gay did not give up. She filed complaints with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and with the ACLU. GEO, the corporation running the detention center, backed down and allowed Gay to meet with Brenda. Brenda spent about two years in detention, but finally won her case and was released thanks to Gay’s encouragement and financial support.
I miss them both and wish them well.
We met Chuck and Gay the first time we attended VIUF, when services were held at Haverah. Chuck quickly became a leader as a member of the board, eventually designing the format for the fellowship’s financial condition. Both he and Gay were tireless leaders for social justice endeavors. Hopefully, Chuck will talk about his role in providing support for Immigrants, especially those imprisoned at the ICE facility in Tacoma, an activity of resistance to the state of the countries immigration policies. I can’t mention Chuck’s role in this endeavor without saluting the work of Melvin Mackey in this endeavor.
Alix Clarke remembers:
Chuck and Gay were such beloved members of VIUF for us. I remembers when I first came to VIUF, Chuck made me feel very welcome and told me that some members are more ‘religious’ than others… and that there is a place for all types here. I could be as non-religious as I wanted! Chuck led us in our Immigration study group and when we started going to the NWDC his dedication and love for immigrants was contagious. Thank you for that Chuck! Gay’s smile and creative persona were always a delight to me. We have a beautiful blue and gold encaustic piece of hers on our wall, and look at it almost daily. Her life-long commitment to social justice always inspired me. I wrote them a song(with Rhoda’s help) when they left. A few of us sang it to them at their going away pot-luck at Lewis Hall:
Chuck and Gay’s Good-Bye Song (Feb. 19, 2017 VIUF)
(to the House of the Rising Sun tune)
Words by Alix Clarke and Rhoda Karusaitis 5 chords used: Am, C, D, F, E7
|We have a man in Fellowship
Who makes our cute nametags
He creates his wine for us to sip
And tries to ease our snagsCHORUS:
We gather today to eat and say,
For you this is in honor of
You will always be a part of ‘we’
And to you, we give our loveHe graciously guides and educates
Social justice is the key
Tacoma vigils he facilitates
Our very own Chuck is he
They were two working therapists
|Such a creative and happy lady
Gay loves our BYO group
She reads everything that she can find
And her favorite meal is soup(CHORUS)She’s brave and fights for social reform
Encaustic art is her latest love
She stays fit with exercise and play
She can do anything she can dream of
They helped us become better activists