Per Schioldborg Hassing

per hassing
Dr. Per S. Hassing, 89, Methodist pastor, missionary, and professor, died on March 12, 2005 at Givens Estates in Asheville. A native of Norway, Per Hassing was born in Bureå, Sweden on February 7, 1916 and spent his youth in Narvik, Trondheim, Porsgrunn and Oslo, where he graduated from the Frogner School. He decided at a young age to devote his life to God as a Methodist pastor and missionary. He studied for the ministry at the Scandinavian Methodist theological seminary in Gothenburg, Sweden, graduating in 1937. Following two years as a youth evangelist, he left Norway in December of 1939 for Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and service as a missionary of the United Methodist Church. On August 16, 1941, he married Ruth Heggøy, a Methodist missionary since 1937 in Mozambique. The couple had two, Arne, born in 1943 and Åse, born in 1945. While serving as a missionary, Per Hassing worked as a pastor, theological educator and head of Mutambara Mission, but his primary service was as a superintendent of churches and schools in the eastern districts of Zimbabwe. His missionary service culminated between 1954-1959 with service as treasurer and assistant to the bishop. A voracious reader and prolific author of articles on church and missions in newspapers, church periodicals and academic journals, he used his furloughs to earn an M.A. from the Hartford Seminary Foundation in 1948 and a Ph.D. in African history from The American University, Washington, D.C. in 1960. His doctoral dissertation was a pioneering study of Christian missions and British expansion in Southern Rhodesia from 1888-1923. From 1960 to 1979, Dr. Hassing served as professor of World Christian Missions at the Boston University School of Theology. He brought the study of missions to a position of respectability within the school and to its profile in the consortium of theological schools in Boston. As one consequence of his study of Roman Catholic missions and collegial relationships with Catholic scholars and missionaries, he was privileged to be present in 1967 at the first meeting of the Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I in St. Peter’s Cathedral, Rome and in 1978 to lecture on Protestant missions at the Pontifical Gregorian University in the same city. Following retirement from Boston University, Dr. Hassing taught for a year at the Lutheran Makumira Theological College in Tanzania, which he followed with two years of service as the pastor of the Lillestrøm United Methodist Church in Norway. He and his wife returned to the U.S. in 1981 and retired to Lake Junaluska, NC, where they remained active in the local church. In 1995, they moved to Givens Estates. Dr. Hassing spent his life effectively and faithfully serving the church and caring for his family. He was a loving and supportive husband, father and grandfather, always concerned about the welfare of those he loved. His family will miss him deeply. Per Hassing is survived by his wife, Ruth of Asheville; son Arne Hassing, and his wife Ruthanne, of Flagstaff, AZ; daughter Åse Blake, and her husband Paul, of Atlanta, GA; six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. A funeral service will be held at 2:00 PM Thursday at Skyland United Methodist Church with the Revs. Arnold Corriher and Joe Fulk officiating. Burial will follow at Shepherd Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Skyland United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 697, Skyland, NC 28776.

View current weather.

Memories Timeline


  1. Dear Mrs Hassing, Arne and Åse

    Your husband and father played such an important role in my childhood–my best friend’s Dad, a wise, kind and welcoming neighbor. He shared some goat cheese with me one morning in your kitchen. Of course, I didn’t realize how precious it must have been. I remember his smile as he watched me taste it.

    With Love

  2. For all the saints, who from their labors rest . . . ‘ (to the tune by R. Vaughan Williams) is what I’m humming today in memory of Per, who has given our family so many blessings.

  3. Dear Ruth and other family members,

    As Per’s doctor for a few years while he was at Givens, I came to appreciate what strong will and principles he had. These gave him a reason for living, and enabled him to survive much longer than his health problems would normally have allowed. I really enjoyed our visits and ‘negotiations’ regarding his health issues, and always felt the deepest respect for him. He made a huge contribution to the lives and welfare of others (including myself) throughout his long life. Please accept my sincere condolences.
    Sincerely, Dave Mouw MD

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle