Deceased December 19, 2018

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In Memory

Laird Stuart passed away on Dec. 19 from a rare heart condition that had been stable until complications occurred shortly before his death. His accomplishments were many.

After Amherst, he attended the Princeton Theological Seminary where he earned a master’s and doctorate and later served on the seminary’s board. He was pastor of churches in Connecticut, New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania before becoming pastor and head of staff at Calvary Presbyterian Church in San Francisco in 1993. During his career, he championed inclusivity in the Presbyterian Church and became a national leader in promoting it. 

After his retirement from Calvary in 2010, Laird served as interim president of the San Francisco Theological Seminary for 16 months before retiring (again) and moving to Michigan, where he fulfilled a longstanding dream and purchased a sailboat capable of negotiating the waters of the Great Lakes. Laird was an avid sailor. One of our first encounters was traveling to Newport together to watch the America’s Cup races when we were at Amherst; one of my last was sailing with him on Lake Michigan on his sloop in 2017.

Religion was undoubtedly important to Laird, but he had no trace of religiosity. As freshmen, Laird and Roger Siemens ’65 moved roommate George Michaels ’65’s desk, chair, lamp and notes to the second floor James showers as academic encouragement. His sense of humor encompassed his work; Laird once pointed out to me that the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Bob Dylan proved that there is a God, after all. Laird could only be held in great affection by anyone fortunate enough to have known him, and Amherst and our class in particular are diminished by his loss.

Warren Lux ’65