Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Rev. Edward Delair Jr. Dec. 15, 1954 - Feb. 1, 2012 Minister Relished Making Connections with Others

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Rev. Edward Delair Jr. Dec. 15, 1954 - Feb. 1, 2012 Minister Relished Making Connections with Others

Article excerpt

Nearly every week of his adult life, the Rev. Ed DeLair wrote notes.

The Rev. Betty Angelini, executive director of the Crestfield Camp & Conference Center in Slippery Rock, got one recently, in which Rev. DeLair told her that God had called her to raise enough money for camp improvements.

"It just came in out of the blue," she said. "That's the way they always did, and, of course, those are the kind that mean the most."

Rev. Angelini figures that Rev. DeLair wrote that note just a few days before he died in his sleep of a heart attack Feb. 1 at his home at the sprawling Presbyterian conference center known as Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. Rev. DeLair, 57, had been program and education director at the 21,000-acre center for the last year.

The son of a minister and grandson of a president of Westminster College, Rev. DeLair grew up in McDonald in Washington County. He had been a minister for 27 years.

At Ghost Ranch, Rev. DeLair helped oversee programs that ranged from archaeology and music to the environment and outdoor adventure, but he also was not above helping a guest replace lost eyeglasses or a burned-out bulb in a room, said Linda Seebantz, the Ghost Ranch marketing director.

"He was a natural at creating relationships with people and making them feel welcome and connecting them with what we do here," she said. "I was asked to be in charge of his emails after he died, and I haven't even scraped the surface of all the lives he has touched."

Rev. DeLair taught special-education classes in Ohio and New Mexico for five years after he graduated from West Liberty University, before enrolling at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 1982.

By that time, he and his wife, Becky, had been married a year. They had met as college counselors at Ghost Ranch.

"The first half of the summer he was my boss," Mrs. DeLair said this week. "The second half he was my boyfriend."

They were married in a ceremony conducted by his father, also a Presbyterian minister, and her stepfather, a United Church of Christ pastor.

After graduating from the Pittsburgh seminary in 1985, Rev. DeLair served a pair of churches in Washington County, preaching at Cokeburg early on a Sunday morning and then driving with great dispatch to preach at Pigeon Creek later the same morning. …

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