Rev. Laucks, of Reading, Pennsylvania, was CEO of United Church Homes from 1977-1986, and his passion was caring for people in need. “His mantra was, ‘As you have done unto the least of these, you have done unto me,’” said Barbara, his wife of nearly 50 years.
Rev. Laucks was credited with renovating and putting together business plans that expanded several UCH communities, including adding HUD communities as part of the United Church Homes ministry. “(HUD housing) was an endeavor I was passionate about because I knew this would serve those with great need,” Rev. Laucks said as he reflected on UCH’s centennial celebration in 2016.
Rev. Laucks’ interest in HUD housing was due in part to his mother, who struggled financially after his father died when Phil was just 9 years old. She lived in HUD housing and did not have much money, Barbara said. “He never forgot that,” Barbara said. “It was hard to see her struggle, but she made it.”
Rev. Laucks also rallied for significant upgrades to accounting systems at United Church Homes and hired legal counsel, which “paid significant dividends in the positive growth of UCH,” he said. Rev. John Rainey, who served on the UCH Board of Directors for 24 years, described Rev. Laucks as a dedicated man who held UCH together during tough economic times.
“He did a marvelous job,” John said. “He was really dedicated to senior housing. He was very much looking into where we could go and how we could advance the program. He was very optimistic about the future.”
Ron Beach, who was the chief financial officer at UCH from 1980-2008, and Jim Minehart, who worked in development and gift planning at UCH from 1980-2003, said Rev. Laucks was the reason the organization survived and called him a pioneer in senior housing. “He really took United Church Homes up a notch or two,” Jim said. “… Phil was that transition. He provided leadership to get us where we needed to be in the industry.”
Amy Kotterman, United Church Homes’ director of Hospitality Services, described the minister as a close friend who was a great family man and a great leader.
“He was vibrant, full of life. He had a great laugh, loved life, enjoyed family, and loved fulfilling the mission of United Church Homes,” Amy said.
She said she was “devastated” when she learned he passed away. “It was just hard for me to accept that he was gone because he had such presence. I don’t think you can find a better man than Phil for all that he did,” Amy said.
Barbara and Phil met at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey and were both ordained in 1969. “We were a team. He was an extremely humble servant of God,” Barbara said. “He touched many, many lives. It’s hard to be without him.”
Phil is survived by his wife, Barbara, three daughters, and five grandchildren.