Key figure in creation of Presbyterian Church USA dies at 89

James Frederick Kubik, a financial expert who played an important role in the creation of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1983. He passed away on Jan. 4, 2020 at age 89. | Courtesy PC(USA)

James Frederick Kubik, a man who played an important role in the creation of the Presbyterian Church USA back in the 1980s, has died at age 89.

The PCUSA Office of the General Assembly reported Monday that Kubik, who served on the General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church from 1981-1989, died on Jan. 4.

Kubik spent his final hours at Wesley Hospital in Wichita, Kansas, the same city where he was born, with his memorial service held Jan. 11 at First Presbyterian Church of Wichita.

PCUSA was formed in 1983 through the reunification of two Presbyterian denominations, United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A and the Presbyterian Church in the United States, that had split over the issue of slavery in the 19th century.  

The Rev. Dr. John M. Mulder, former president and theology professor at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, said Kubik was integral to helping the financial aspects of the reunification.

“He was the primary person who unraveled the General Assembly budgets during the early 1980s and won the trust of all parties in putting together a unified budget that could serve as the basis of reunion,” said Mulder, according to OGA.

“It was a herculean effort and without his financial and personal integrity, there may not have been a reunion in 1983.”

Mulder went on to refer to Kubik as “the finest financial mind I ever encountered in the General Assembly levels of the church.”

“He could analyze budgets more accurately than anyone else and he did so with an eye always directed toward the welfare of the entire church,” he added, as reported by OGA.

“It can truly be said he was a disinterested observer, always focused on the constructive and creative witness of the church as a whole.”

Kubik received an accounting degree from the University of Kansas in 1952 and then a law degree in 1954, being admitted to the bar in the same year.

In addition to his work in the reunification of the Presbyterian Church, he had a lengthy career as a certified public accountant, according to an obituary posted online by the funeral home Downing and Lahey.

“J. spent over 40 years working as a CPA, first for F.B. Kubik and Company (1956 – 1991) and for Baird, Kurtz and Dobson (1991 – 2002),” noted the funeral home.

“During his time as an accountant, he was appointed a member of the tax division of the American Institute of CPAs and served as president of the Kansas Society of CPAs.”

Kubik was survived by his wife of 65 years, Christine Kubik; three daughters; six grandchildren, and sister, Kathryn Dougherty.

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