Former GA moderator Bill Lytle dies

Pittsburgh native led UPCUSA in 1978

May 27, 2011


The Rev. William P. Lytle, a staunch supporter of Presbyterian reunion who served as moderator of the General Assembly of the former United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (the “northern stream”) in 1978 ― just five years before it combined with the southern stream Presbyterian Church in the United States to form the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ― died May 27 in Los Gatos, Calif., after a lengthy illness. He was 87.

The Pittsburgh native graduated from the College of Wooster in 1944 and Princeton Theological Seminary in 1947. For 26 years following graduation, he served as a “missionary” with the UPCUSA’s Board of National Missions, serving churches in western and central New Mexico until 1962 and then as director of the Ozarks Area Mission and college pastor of the College of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Ark. until 1973.

At the time his election as moderator, Lytle was pastor of Madison Square United Presbyterian Church in San Antonio.

For 12 years (1960-1972) he served on the Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations (COEMAR), where he led in a variety of capacities, including chair of the Frontier Internship Committee, chair of the Administrative Commission on Cuba, personnel development counselor for missionaries serving in Latin America, and inter-church negotiator with Chile and Mexico.

A service of witness to the resurrection for Bill Lytle will be held May 31 at the Presbyterian Church of Los Gatos.

Cards and notes may be sent to: 

Renate Lytle
15860 Poppy Lane #8
Los Gatos, CA 95030

  1. Rev. Lytle married my first husband and me at the chapel at C. of O. I loved the man. When I was going through a rough patch in '74, I contacted him, and he answered. I will never forget him as long as I have a mind. He is right up there with the best of God's people, in my opinion. Rest in peace.

    by alice 'ragland' simpkins

    October 2, 2013

  2. Bill Lytle was the minister I more or less grew up with in the early 1950's in Western New Mexico (Reserve, Apache Creek) Memories of him at church camp on Apache Creek, visiting family in Corona, NM. Sorry to just learn of his death. He was a great person that will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

    by Beulah Skaggs Crabb

    April 20, 2013

  3. I just found this while looking for something else and am saddened by the news, and heartened by David's comments and that everyone remembers him the way I always will from the brief time we worked together on some community issues in San Antonio several years ago: a truly, caring, human being who showed us what love in action looks like.

    by Helen Hopson

    September 9, 2011

  4. My life has been truly blessed by my association with Rev. Bill Lytle. I worked with him when I was a student at College of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas (Now University of the Ozarks). Because I worked with him at that time, I was able to complete the senior year of college. I was going to drop out of college and find work to be able to complete a B.A., degree.

    by Clyde B. Garrett, Jr., Esq., LL,M., Ph.D.

    June 19, 2011

  5. Although I did not know your father intimately, I knew of him as I followed his activity through the years. I graduated from Pittsburgh and was ordained June 6, 1962. Bill was very much in the forefront of the PCUSA. I will miss him.

    by Ronald E. Kinsey

    June 6, 2011

  6. I have been thinking about Rev lytle the last week or so . I was a student and worked under him at U of O ( then college fo the Ozarks ) as a student at the college in the Mission Outreach Program . He developed a wonderful and extensive promgram with many , many opportunities for students to serve in mission in Okla. Ark. ,Kan. Mo, and Texas . He was also involved in Ark politics which was pretty scary at the time ie. dangerous . My dad ( a Presb. min ) and Rev . Lytle were my two greatest role models and the reason I am in the minsitry today .

    by Tom Buzbee

    June 1, 2011

  7. I am greatly blessed to have known Bill through our common commitment to the struggle for justice in Central America in the 1980's . We became good friends, although we had not seen much of each other in recent years. His wonmderful spirit, sense of humor, opennes to all, and his burning passion for justice touched my life as it did so many others and I give thank to God. He will be missed.

    by Vernon S. Broyles, III

    May 31, 2011

  8. With deepest love and gratitude for the joy of having known him. "His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master." Matthew 25.21. Maureen

    by Maureen Chandler

    May 28, 2011

  9. Family and friends will always remember Bill (our Dad) as one of the most kind, caring and sincere persons they have ever known. He was steadfast in his Christian faith and ongoing efforts to discern, teach, and live out God’s loving will for us all as cohabitants of this small piece of His universe. Dad's illness was really not long, only being diagnosed with terminal cancer about 1 month ago. He was alert and conversant with family to the end and passed peacefully and without pain. We thank everyone for your kind words and remembrances of a truly great human being!

    by David Lytle

    May 28, 2011