Death of Reverend Dr. Charles T. Hein

Death of Reverend Dr. Charles T. Hein

2/25/1928 to 3/10/2010


Global Ministries is saddened to report the death of Reverend Dr. Charles Theodore Hein on March 10, 2010, at the age of 82.


A native of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin Charles studied at ElmhurstCollege in Illinois.  In 1950 he was attending an ecumenical institute in Switzerland when he met Gaby Magnin, a parish assistant from France, whom he later married.  From 1950 to 1953 he worked in church work camps throughout Europe under the youth department of the World Council of Churches.


Charles and Gaby, his wife, served 40 years in Africa: in Togo from 1955 to 1973; in several countries from 1974 to 1981; in Zaire (now Congo) from 1981 to 1983; and in Kenya from 1984 to 1995.


The focus of their work was adult literacy, from the basics of teaching adults to read to advocating for community printing presses to designing comprehensive literacy programs.  He wrote extensively on the need for and practicalities of adult literacy programs for the people of Africa, particularly women.  In Kenya, Charles served as professor of Christian Education and Pastoral Studies and Chair of the Pastoral Studies Department at St. Paul’s UnitedTheologicalCollege from 1986 to 1991.  During that time, Gaby developed a course for students’ wives to enable them to provide skilled leadership to their churches while their husbands carried out a usually highly itinerant ministry among an average of 20 scattered churches.


An article in The Milwaukee Sentinel (May 22, 1963) described his usual method of introducing literacy into a village:

In Togo Mr. Hein would go into a village where he was acquainted and nail a large chart to a tree. He had little trouble gathering a crowd of Africans all chattering in the native Ewe dialect about the chart, which had pictures with words under them. . .


He would then, through repetition, teach them to read the words written below the pictures.

The next step was attendance at volunteer classes, where men and women of Togoland, masters of the advanced courses, would patiently teach each newcomer to read. Eventually they could read their own newspapers and the Bible.


Charles and Gaby retired to Pleasant Hill, Tennessee.  They maintained a continuing interest in the church in Africa, keeping in contact with the people and institutions they worked with. 


Messages of condolence may be sent to Ms. Gaby P. Hein,
P.O. Box 269, Pleasant Hill, TN  38578-0269 .


Memorial gifts may be sent to Global Ministries,
700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH   44115-1110 or made online at