Obituary from Caswell-King Funeral Home:
E. (Edwin) Spencer Parsons was born Feb. 16, 1919 to Edwin W. and Ethel (Marsh) Parsons.
He was husband of Tai Shigaki since 2007 and the now deceased Eleanor Millard.
He was ordained by The American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts Oct. 8, 1944 at First Baptist Church, Newton Centre after attending Denison University, Union Theological Seminary, Andover Newton Theological School and Harvard University. He served as assistant minister at First Baptist Church of Newton Centre and acting chair of the Bd. of Preachers and Ministers serving through Memorial Church, Harvard University. Spencer was the executive secretary of the Massachusetts Baptist Foundation for Campus Ministry and served as Baptist University Pastor at Harvard, Radcliffe, MIT and Wellesley. During this time he was also associate pastor at Old Cambridge Baptist Church.
In 1959 he became senior minister of Hyde Park Union Church in Chicago until 1965 when he became Dean of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago where he also served as Director of Ministerial Field Education at the Divinity School and Professor of Church and Society. While in Chicago he also served as consultant and Eastern Director of Health Resources, Ltd., in Kansas City, Kansas, president of the Abortion Rights Association of Illinois, chair of the Advisory Committee for Planned Parenthood, founder and chair of the Illinois Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights; chair of the Illinois Clergy Consultation Services and served on the Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood in Chicago.
Working for the American Baptist denomination, Spencer Parsons served as president of the Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board and worked on the General Board of The American Baptist Churches, USA. He was an adjunct professor of Baptist Polity at Andover Newton Theological Seminary, served on the Board of A New Day, a residential and vocational training program for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and for many years served as the editor of Salt and Light, a publication of the former Department of Church and Society of The American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts. He also chaired the Board of Church and Public Policy for the Massachusetts Council of Churches.
Rev. Dr. E. Spencer Parsons holds honorary degrees from Kalamazoo College, Denison University and Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. He has published three books and has an extensive list of published articles and special lecture series.
In addition to his wife, Specer is survived by his sister Ruth Van Hoek; his children William Spencer of Bethesda, MD, Ellen P. Tatreau of Martha's Vineyard, James Millard of Weymouth and Bradford Delano of Walpole; his five grandchildren; his great grandchildren; his brother; his nieces and nephews; and his friends.
A memorial service of remembrance and celebration of his life will be held Saturday, Oct. 19 4 p.m. at The First Baptist Church of Worcester, 111 Park Ave., Worcester.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Salem Community Corporation (Briarwood Residential Community), 65 Briarwood Circle, Worcester, MA.