November 15, 1923 – May 19, 2018
Gaby Pauline Magnin Hein was born in Alexandria, Egypt on November 15, 1923. She graduated high school at the Lycee de Tournon in Paris in 1941. She then went on to receive her college degree in Pedagogy from the Ecole Normale in Valence, Switzerland in 1944. She later did further studies at the Kennedy School of Missions during 1959 and 1960.
Gaby married Reverend Charles (Chuck) T. Hein in 1951. They had four children named Daniel, Claire, Samuel, and Christine.
In 1955, Gaby and Chuck began their service with the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM), a predecessor body for what today is Global Ministries. They first went to Paris to study at the Paris School of Mission and then went to Togo to serve as mission co-workers. Gaby originally served as an evangelist and advisor to the Christian Literature Program of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Togo. In 1960, she was made responsible for the artwork and illustrations of the literature program, as well as women’s programs. She was engaged in this challenging and creative work until 1969 when she moved on to teach Sunday school and develop school curricula for Togolese students.
The Heins came to the U.S. for a brief period in 1971, and then went back to Africa in 1974, this time serving in Kenya with the United Bible Society of Kenya. There, Gaby concentrated her efforts on teaching Sunday school, leadership development for women, and craft projects related to economic empowerment. In 1979, she moved to the Afro Literature Society in Kenya where she taught adult literacy and assisted in the development of women’s handicraft projects.
The Heins’ work in Kenya was paused for a fifteen-month appointment to the Democratic Republic of Congo with the University of Kinshasa. There, Gaby organized the university’s Women’s Union and provided Bible study leadership. In 1984, Gaby and Chuck returned to Kenya. In this final appointment, Gaby taught the wives of St. Paul’s Seminary of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa. This was part of the Student Wives’ Program.
After forty years of service, Gaby and Chuck retired in 1995. They ultimately settled in Pleasant Hill, Tennessee at the Uplands Village Retirement Community. There, they were members of Pleasant Hill Community Church. Gaby also became involved in the work and ministry of the Avalon Center, a women’s shelter, where she would teach helpful skills like knitting. Chuck died in March 2010.
Condolences may be sent to Pleasant Hill Community Church, P.O. Box 167 Pleasant Hill, TN 38578. Memorial gifts may be made to the Avalon Center, P.O. Box 3063, Crossville, TN 38557.