In Memoriam: The Reverend Calvin C. Wilson

August 3, 1937 – May 9, 2024

Please remember in prayer the family and friends of the Reverend Calvin Coolidge Wilson, who passed from this life into the Church Triumphant on Thursday, May 9, 2024, at home in Maine, surrounded by family.
The Reverend Calvin Coolidge Wilson
The Reverend Calvin Coolidge Wilson

For fourteen years, the Reverend Calvin Coolidge Wilson served as a member of the pastoral staff of Shadyside Presbyterian Church. Called as Assistant Pastor on January 1, 1994, he retired from Shadyside as our Associate Pastor for Congregational Care on December 31, 2007.

In Liturgy: A Reflection on Shadyside Presbyterian Church, a history written for the occasion of our congregation’s 150th anniversary in 2016, Elder Timothy Engleman wrote of Rev. Wilson that he was “the abiding pastoral presence for a congregation not yet destined to calm sailing.” Elder Engleman further wrote that Rev. Wilson “may be described as the glue that kept the congregation connected through lows and highs over nearly a decade” of staff transitions and challenging situations. Elder Engleman fittingly described Rev. Wilson’s personality as “warm, literate, thoughtful, creative, spiritual, and witty,” and he also noted that Rev. Wilson “delighted in his identification as ‘a notorious thespian.’ ”

Immediately prior to his tenure at Shadyside, Rev. Wilson had completed a two-year interim pastorate at Bower Hill Community United Presbyterian Church in the South Hills. He previously served the First Presbyterian Church of Syracuse, New York; the Abington Presbyterian Church in the Philadelphia Presbytery; and the Gates Presbyterian Church of Rochester, New York. By the time Rev. Wilson retired from Shadyside in 2007, he had devoted forty-five years to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament. In the years following his retirement, he served as Presbyterian minister-in-residence at First Lutheran Church in Pittsburgh.

Born and raised in Hudson Falls, New York, Calvin Wilson was educated at Bates College and at Colgate Rochester Divinity School. Rev. Wilson authored two fiction books: A Box of Crosses (2018) and an adult Christmas fantasy titled The Little Toy Soldier on the Covered Bridge (2001). He also wrote two full-length plays, A Breach of Confidence and As Heaven Intends; and numerous poems, including “Intrusion.”

In your prayers for the bereaved, please especially remember Cal’s family as they entrust Cal to God’s eternal care. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Slayton Wilson; children: Benjamin Chin, Emily Chin, Grant (and Lisa) Wilson, Andrea Wilson (and Frank Logano), and Laurel (and David) Michels; grandchildren: Brittany (and Jack) Schmalfeld, Chris (and Jenna) Wilson, Brooke Wilson, Miranda Adlam (and Matt Matricardi), George Adlam, Grant Adlam, Taylor (and Ben) Groat, David Michels, and Jessica Michels; and great-grandchildren: John Schmalfeld, Harper Schmalfeld, Ava Wilson, Ivy Wilson, Amelia Wilson, Maren Matricardi, and Benny Groat.

Please join us in giving thanks to God for Cal’s life of faith, which he lived in dedicated service to Christ. We at Shadyside Presbyterian Church are particularly grateful for the ministry of Rev. Wilson among us – for his love of and his service to our congregation, providing comfort and constancy throughout his pastorate. Shadyside’s affection and appreciation for Rev. Wilson abides even today, as we recall the hallmarks of his ministry: the elegance and depth of his prayers, the eloquence and erudition of his preaching, and the compassionate care of his pastoral presence.


A Requiem observance for Rev. Wilson will be held Saturday, May 18, 2024, at 4:00 p.m. at the Bower Hill Community Church, 70 Moffett Street, Mt. Lebanon, PA 15243. Beth writes, “Thankfully, his last gift is this memorial service he wrote for us, that his last words would be The Word; that our comfort might be the Great Comforter; that his love might be the God who is Love itself.”