Tributes to well-loved Norfolk doctor and minister
The Church Times has paid tribute to Dr Herbert Karrach, who for 25 years was a minister at Snettisham, and died recently in Nepal aged 96.
Dr Karrach was ordained in 1989 and served as a non-stipendiary minister under Revs David and Judith Grundy, helping at Snettisham Church and leading services in the village of Fring, where he lived.
In the Snettisham Millennium Pageant of 2000 Dr Karrach dressed as a medieval priest in a play recalling the terrible Bubonic Plague of 1345. He also helped with Messy Church for many years and gave excellent weekly Bible studies.
He had been born in Vienna, but in 1938, as life became increasingly unsafe, his family escaped to southern Ireland. At the age of 18, he came to faith and immediately felt a calling to medicine.
After winning a scholarship to Trinity College, Dublin, he qualified and took medical jobs in both Ireland and England before joining the British Colonial Service. He was posted to Uganda, where he served from 1951 to 1962 in various districts, often being the only doctor in the district.
He met Mollie, a British missionary teacher, while he was convalescing from glandular fever at a tea farm. The address at their wedding in 1953 was given by Erica Sabiti, later to become the first Ugandan Archbishop. His whole ministry and faith was profoundly affected by the Church born out of the East African revival in the 1930s.
Returning to England in 1962, he joined a general practice in Bedford, where he served in until his retirement in 1988.
At the age of 80, after his wife Mollie’s death, and to escape from the long cold winter months, he started to visit the warmer climates of Nepal to stay with his daughter, Dr Rachel Karrach, Director of the large United Mission Hospital in Tansen. He enjoyed helping the medical team and taking occasional trips to villages in the Palpa District, treating families and sick children.
He thought that it was hilarious when, arriving in Nepal at the age of 92, he had a long delay at Kathmandu airport, as the official assumed that his was a fake passport, not believing that any right-minded man of 92 would fly from the UK to Nepal.
It was at United Mission Hospital at Tansen that Dr Karrach died on Sunday January 10. He had been unable to fly back to the UK during the 2020 lockdowns. He was loved by the hospital and church community and adopted as everyone’s father; he is buried in a simple forest grave, overlooking the Himalayas.
He leaves three daughters, Joy, Jennie, and Rachel, four granddaughters, and one grandson.
Article extracts from the obituary in the Church Times by Rev David Grundy. You can read the full Church Times obituary here.
Pictured above is Dr Herbert Karrach. Image from Dr Rachel Karrach