The Rev. Wesley W. Stinson, 91, passed away on July 4th, at the John Clarke Nursing Center in Middletown, R.I. Born in Millville, MA. he was the youngest of four sons. He grew up in Uxbridge, MA. and was a graduate of Uxbridge HS, Eastern Nazarene College and Boston University School of Theology. Wesley is survived by Norma, his wife of 70 years. He was preceded in death by his parents, Bertha and Richard, and brothers Ralph, Kenneth and Wayne. Wesley leaves four children, Glenn, and his wife Jan, Brenda Eline, David, and his partner Judith Gebhart, and Brian Stinson; seven grandchildren, Jason Vigeant, Rachel Alexander, Morgan Eline, Aaron Stinson, Michele Stinson, Samuel Hall-Stinson, Andrew Stinson; two great grandchildren, Tarae Vigeant and Mia Alexander, and many nieces and nephews.
Wesley was ordained to the ministry, and served as pastor for Methodist churches at Scituate Harbor, MA., East Greenwich, RI., Stoughton, MA, Newport, RI, Warren, RI, and at St. John’s in Dover, NH. After retirement, he served five churches on an interim basis. He also served as Chaplain at the Canton School for Crippled Children, the Juvenile Training School, Cranston, RI, and the Youth Development Center in Manchester, NH. In the 1950’s he was involved in the development of programs for children and youth at Camp Aldersgate, in Scituate, RI.
In the 1960’s he became involved with the civil rights movement and Fair Housing, and loved to share that he was a student in seminary at the time Martin Luther King, Jr. was also a student there.
While in Newport, he worked with local churches to provide shelter and mediation services during the early Newport music festivals. This was at a time, when it was announced that concert goers were subject to arrest, if they slept in public spaces – parks, beaches, etc. He was also recognized for his later work with the Christian Action Center. During this time, Wesley also hosted a gathering of citizens concerned with housing issues, leading to the forming of the Church Community Corporation in 1969. He also worked with the RI Council of Churches, and sat with the Community Affairs Commission of the Providence Diocese under Bishop Gelineau.
In the late 1970’s, Wesley was the spokesperson for the National Prison Reform Association, leading to the successful settlement of a lawsuit contesting prison conditions in Rhode Island.
Wesley enjoyed sailing, mountain climbing, traveling, stamp collecting and model making.
A celebration of his life was held at Calvary United Methodist Church, Middletown, RI on Saturday, July27th, at 2:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory should be made to the Aldersgate Camp and Retreat Center, Scituate, RI (campaldersgate.com), the Preachers Aid Society, Wells, ME (preachersaid.org) or by a donation of blood to the Rhode Island Blood Center, to whom he donated more than a 100 pints of blood during his life, and from which he greatly benefited at the end of his life.