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Knox College mourns the death of former professor The Rev. Dr. Calvin Pater

The Rev. Dr. Calvin Pater

It is easy to believe that a man with the name of Calvin Augustine Pater was born to be a church historian. Calvin Pater grew up in Holland and was raised in a committed Calvinist home. The family emigrated to the U.S.A. in 1956, and, as a member of the Christian Reformed Church in pursuit of higher education, he went naturally to Calvin College, Grand Rapids, from which he graduated with an A.B degree in 1962. There followed one year at Wesminster Theological College, Philadelphia, and two more years at Union, New York, to complete his Master of Divinity. His Th.M. was gained at Harvard Divinity College in 1968, and his Ph.D. also at Harvard, in 1977. The doctoral studies concentrated in the Reformation area, with his thesis centering on the left wing of the Reformation.

Dr. Pater taught at Tamkang College, Taipei, Taiwan, as an instructor in English; as a Teaching Fellow of Roman Catholic Studies at Harvard Divinity School and as a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University. He was Chair of Church History at Knox College from 1978 until his retirement in 2005.

Impressive though his academic record was, his primary professional experience was as a preacher and pastor. He worked with students at West End Presbyterian Church in New York, developing a programme for teenagers from the black and Puerto Rican ghetto; and with students from Columbia University for the Broadway Presbyterian Church. From 1967 to 1978 he was minister to Pacific Union Congregational Church, Westport Massachusetts. A minister of the United Presbyterian Church, U.S.A, on his appointment to Knox College he became minister of The Presbyterian Church in Canada.

Dr. Pater married Kathryn Ariss, a minister of the United Church of Canada. They have one daughter Rebekah, and two sons, James and Timothy.

Visitation is on Monday October 22 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Ward’s Funeral Home, 2035 Weston Road, Toronto. Funeral to be held at North Runnymede United Church on Tuesday, October 23 at 11 a.m.