The Rev. Mr. Frederick Russell Wilson, Sr., died on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, lovingly surrounded by much of his immediate family.
Fred was born on Aug. 17, 1927, in Tehran, Iran, the son of Presbyterian missionaries, Margaret Bussdicker Wilson and Ivan Otis Wilson. He was a graduate of Maryville College, Maryville, Tenn., and of Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, N.J. Fred married Elizabeth Jane Saint (Betty) Aug. 31, 1949, of Erie, Pa., and together they embarked on a lifetime of love and service to the Church. In 1950 Fred and Betty were called to Tabriz, Iran, as "fraternal workers" by the Presbyterian Church. 1955 to 1956 Fred moved his family to Princeton, N.J., for a year's furlough to finish his Th.M. at Princeton Theological Seminary. Fred and Betty moved their family back to Iran in 1956 and continued their service as fraternal workers until 1960. In 1960, Fred accepted a position with the Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations (COEMAR) of the Presbyterian Church in Mass Communications Overseas. The family settled in Glen Rock, N.J., and Fred began the 26 years of commuting to 475 Riverside Drive, New York, N.Y., fondly called the "Godbox". In connection with his overseas responsibilities, Fred traveled widely visiting centers of Presbyterian ecumenical work in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Fred served the Presbyterian Church as director for planning and research under COEMAR from 1967 to 1970; as the South Asia Liaison from 1970 to 1980; and as associate general director of the Program Agency from 1980 to 1986; and finally as director of the Program Agency until 1988. At the same time, from 1961 to 1974, Fred served the World Association for Christian Communication, first as treasurer and then as president. Fred and Betty left New Jersey in 1988 to live in Geneva, Switzerland, for two years while Fred was administrator for the World Council of Churches' World Conference on Mission and Evangelism held in San Antonio, Texas.
Dec. 2, 1989, Fred and Betty Wilson found their way home to 105 North Leverett Rd., Leverett, MA, where they have lived ever since.
In November 1994, Fred was called by the First Congregational Church of Leverett
to be their settled pastor and served the congregation until October 2004.
A memorial service was held Saturday, Aug. 31, 2014, at 10 a.m. at the First Congregational Church of Leverett with a reception following the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515; www.cwsglobal.org.
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