The Rev. Gus Schultz, pastor emeritus of the University Lutheran Chapel in Berkeley, died Monday at his home in Berkeley. He was 72 and had suffered for the past 10 years from Lewy body disease.
As pastor at the Lutheran Chapel, Rev. Schultz was a tireless advocate for social justice, both locally and globally. He was widely recognized for his work and received the first Berkeley Peace Prize in 1985. He played an integral role in 1970 in starting the Berkeley Emergency Food Project, which serves a hot meal daily to those in need.
Born in Foley, Ala., Rev. Schultz attended the University of Alabama at Tus-caloosa before entering Concordia Seminary in Illinois. Ordained by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, he served parishes in Rome, Georgia, and Riverside, Illinois, before he came to his post in Berkeley in 1969.
Rev. Schultz was at the forefront of the Sanctuary Movement. Under his leadership, the Lutheran Chapel offered sanctuary to American soldiers during the Vietnam War, to Central American refugees and to American soldiers during the first Gulf War. He was president of the board of the SHARE Foundation (Salvadoran Humanitarian Aid Research and Education), founder and board president of the National Sanctuary Defense Fund, and a founder of the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant.
He traveled frequently to Central America, sometimes accompanying Salvadoran refugees as they returned to their homes from camps in Honduras.
And in the 1970s and 1980s he traveled as part of delegations to both North and South Korea to promote democracy, reunification and communication between American and Korean Christian churches. In 1980 he and the International Longshoremen and Warehousemen’s Union played a crucial role in saving the life of South Korean opposition leader Kim Dae Jung, who had been sentenced to be hanged. Kim later was elected president of South Korea and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In the 1990s, along with the members of the Committee for Korea Studies at UC Berkeley, Reverend Schultz organized an annual symposium at the university on Korean reunification, hosting guests from North and South Korea together in the United States for the first time.
He was also active in local civic affairs, serving as a member of the Berkeley Planning Commission from 1981 to 1983. In 1981, Rev. Schultz was endorsed for a city council seat by Berkeley Citizens Action (BCA) and finished second among the BCA candidates in the municipal election. But after one of the city’s nastier campaigns, the entire BCA slate was defeated.
During the 1970s, Rev. Schultz helped form the American Evangelical Lutheran Church, later to merge into the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and was elected Bishop.
As pastor of the Lutheran Campus ministry at UC Berkeley for over 28 years, he touched the lives of many students and counted his friends from all over the globe. He retired from active ministry in 1997.
Rev. Schultz is survived by Flora Redd Schultz, his wife of 49 years; his brother Ken Schultz of Dallas, Texas; his sister Kathryn Ann Schultz Ford of Foley, Alabama; son Bart Schultz, daughter Locke Schultz Jaeger, daughter Betsy Pauley, all of Berkeley; son Tim Schultz of Walnut Creek; daughters-in-law Gina Lim and Kristie (Kunich) Schultz; son-in-law Chuck Jaeger; and grandchildren Jackson, Matt, Lee, Jesse, Eva and Ross.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 2 p.m. at University Lutheran Chapel at 2425 College Ave. in Berkeley. Donations may be made to University Lutheran Chapel, 2425 College Ave. Berkeley, CA 94705; SHARE Foundation 598 Bosworth St. #1, San Francisco, CA 94131; Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, 2770 Marin Ave. Berkeley, CA 94708; or Committee for Korea Studies, 2223 Fulton St., room 508, Berkeley, CA 94720-2318