Price Henderson Gwynn, a World War II veteran and former moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly, has died at age 99.
Gwynn, a layman who held multiple leadership positions in PCUSA, died a couple months before his 100th birthday at Sharon Towers in Charlotte, North Carolina, last Wednesday.
A memorial service is scheduled to be held at the congregation he belonged to, Steele Creek Presbyterian Church of Charlotte, on Saturday afternoon.
Born in Reidsville, North Carolina, on Dec. 16, 1922, Gwynn was a student at the Mount Herman School of Massachusetts and the North Carolina-based Davidson College.
“World War II interrupted his college years,” explained Davidson on their In Memoriam site. “Price served his country in the Pacific Theater of Operations with both the U.S. Army Infantry and Corps of Engineers and was honorably discharged with the rank of Captain.”
Gwynn became a businessman, having served as president of the Package Products Company, the president of Engraph, Inc. and the vice president of Lance, Inc.
He also served as a trustee of Presbyterian Hospital and Presbyterian Health Services Corporation, which included six years as chairman, as well as a trustee of Davidson College.
Additionally, Gwynn was chairman of the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, a trustee of St. Andrews Presbyterian College and a trustee of Union Theological Seminary of Richmond, Virginia.
In 1990, Gwynn served as moderator for the 202nd PCUSA General Assembly in Salt Lake City, Utah, having been elected to the position with 53% of the vote, according to a piece published by The Washington Post at the time.
In those days, PCUSA was dealing with increasing debate over whether to allow the ordination of openly gay individuals, which Gwynn himself had expressed opposition to.
During his nomination speech, Gwynn sought to bring common ground among PCUSA delegates, emphasizing the need for competent and active Church leadership.
“The question I'm asked is, do we have our act together up here,” stated Gwynn, as quoted by The Washington Post. “Can we put aside our differences to get our act together in the world?”
Although his father was a preacher, Gwynn was not a clergyman and had to convince Church leadership to cut down on his schedule so he could have more time to prepare for his role.
“I just can’t go out of here like a shot out of the cannon and start right now. Because it hadn’t been my bag,” Gwynn explained in a 1998 interview reposted by the Office of the General Assembly.
“Never done that before. So, they reluctantly agreed and we pared the schedule down so I could spend some time studying. One of the problems with a layperson out of the business realm is that you’re immediately inundated with a schedule that is horrendous to look at. … A layperson simply doesn’t have a barrel of award-winning sermons back in the closet that you can dip into. They’re all original.”
Gwynn leaves behind three sons, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by Katherine, his wife of 68 years, who died in 2012.