The Rev. Elizabeth “Lee” Wiesner, one of the early women to be ordained in the Episcopal Church, died August 27, 2011, at the age of 94. Her remains were buried a week later in a private ceremony at Forest Hills Cemetery, Boston.
A graduate of Stanford University, she worked overseas during World War ii with the Red Cross, in North Africa; the Office of Strategic Services, a U.S. wartime intelligence agency; and the Foreign Service. In 1973, Wiesner was ordained to the diaconate—she would be the first female deacon in her diocese—and on January 8, 1977, in the company of two other women, she was ordained a priest by Bishop William Creighton in an historic service at Washington National Cathedral.
In 1976, Wiesner served on the planning committee for the grand service of nave dedication attended by Queen Elizabeth ii and President Gerald R. Ford. She was appointed in September 1977 by Dean Sayre to the Cathedral staff, on which she served five years. Her thoughtful, clear, and incisively eloquent letters to constituents during that time display a keen intelligence and pastoral sensitivity as well as a devotion to the longstanding theological and liturgical traditions of an Episcopal Church that her ordination was helping to change.
A memorial service for Wiesner was scheduled for April 20, 2013, at St. Andrews-in-the-Valley Church in Tamworth, N.H.