An ordained minister, spiritual guide, activist, seminar speaker, discussion facilitator, world traveler, opera lover, partner, mother, grandmother, friend, mentor and lifelong supporter of the arts, Dr. Lennon was a dynamic force of nature whose energy, intellect and humor inspired and touched many during her long and abundant life.
She was born on December 14, 1934, in Oak Park, Ill. She graduated with a B.A. from Dennison University in Granville, Ohio, and earned her Master of Divinity degree at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. She was an ordained minister with the United Church of Christ, and from 1958 to ’64 was Minister of Education at First Congregational Church of Darien, Conn.
After moving to California in 1965, Lennon worked for seven years as a probation officer with the Los Angeles County Probation Department. In 1972, she became Senior Pastor at Church of the Oaks in Thousand Oaks, where she served for 17 years. While in that position, she earned her Doctor of Divinity degree at The Claremont School of Theology. In 1991, she was named Senior Pastor at Neighborhood Congregational Church in Laguna Beach, and served there for 12 years.
Upon her retirement from the church in 2003, Lennon traveled extensively, and facilitated seminars and workshops through her organization, Open Gatherings, which conducted events in Laguna Beach, Idyllwild and Palm Springs. She was also a member of the Docent Council at the Palm Springs Art Museum.
She is survived by Norma McCarty, her partner of 22 years; a daughter, Hope Watterson; and grandchildren Chloe and Colin, of Santa Clarita. She also leaves behind her sister and brother-in-law, Corinne and Mike Claybaugh, of Monument, Colo.; her beloved pets, Cooper and Blue; and more friends than one could possibly count.
A memorial service celebrating her remarkable life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at The Church of St. Paul in the Desert, 125 West El Alameda, Palm Springs. Donations honoring Tari Lennon’s memory may be made to Bloom in the Desert Ministries, 3155 E. Ramon Rd., Box 802, Palm Springs, CA 92264.