William Barrow Pugh – Major, United States Army


Presbyterian Church Leader,
Honored as War Chaplain,
Dies In Auto-Truck Smash

THERMOPOLIS, Wyoming, September 14, 1950 – The Rev. Dr. William Barrow Pugh of Philadelphia, an official of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, was killed this afternoon in a truck-automobile collision.

Dr. Pugh was a passenger in a car driven by the Rev. Joseph Lininger of Cheyenne.

The State Highway Patrol said the car collided with a trailer truck ten miles south of here on United States Highway 20.  The truck was going north and car south, headed for Cheyenne.

Earlier today Dr. Pugh had been a speaker at a meeting of the Wyoming Synod of the church at Powell.

Last year, Dr. Pugh traveled some 8,000 miles by plane, visiting European Presbyterian churches.

Arrangements for a shipment of the body to Philadelphia have not been competed.

Dr Pugh, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of American since 1938, was a leader in both his own church and in world field of religion.

For his services to the Government in World War II Dr. Pugh received the Medal of Merit of the War Department in 1947.  The award was presented to him by the Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson at the Pentagon Building in Washington.  The citation noted that as chairman on Army and Navy Chaplains Dr Pugh had “exerted tremendous influence upon the leaders of thirty Protestant dominations.”

In the fall and summer of 1943 he toured the war theaters in Europe, Africa and South America as a representative of all non-Roman Catholic and non-Jewish churches of this country.  As in a similar journey made in 1945, Dr Pugh addressed troops, counseled chaplains and endeavored to help military commands to strengthen the soldiers’ morale.

In addition to his chairmanship of the general commission in the last war, he served the National Council of the Service Man’s Christian League.  In the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. he was secretary of the Committee on Army and Navy Chaplains and of the Committee n Camp and Church Activities.

Before becoming Stated Clerk of the Assembly, Dt. Pugh was pastor of two churches – the Beacon Church of Philadelphia from 1915 to 1928, and the First Church of Chester, Pennsylvania, from 1928 to 1938.

In the years immediately preceding his election to the Assembly post, the church officials had assisted the Stated Clerk whom he had succeeded, the Rev Dr. Lewis Seymour Mudge.

For many years Dr. Pugh served as American secretary of the World Alliance of Presbyterian and Reformed Churches.  On numerous occasions he was a delegated member of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America.  He was secretary of the Joint Committee on Church Union of the Protestant Episcopal and Presbyterian Churches.  In 1937 he was a delegate to the World Alliance for Presbyterian and Reformed Churches.

Born January 20, 1889 at Utica, New York, Dr. Pugh worked his way through the University of Pennsylvania.  He received his Bachelors Degree from there in 1910 after only three years.  Two years later he received his Master Degree from Princeton University and in 1913 was graduated from the Princeton Theological Seminary.  He was ordained to the ministry by the Presbytery of Philadelphia in 1915.

In addition to serving as editor of publications of his own church, the religious official contributed articled on church law and policy to lay magazines.

Dr. ugh served as chaplain of the Twenty-Eighth Division in France from 1918 to 1919 and took part in the Oise-Aisne, Meuse-Argonne and Ypres-Lys battles.  For more than 20 years he was chaplain of the 111th Infantry, Pennsylvania National Guard.

In 1917 Dr. Pugh married Miss Emma Marie Schaperkotter.  They had two sons, William Barrow and Donald Henry Pugh.


PHILADELPHIA, September 16, 1950 – The Rev. Dr. William Barrow Pugh, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America since 1938, will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery at 3 P.M. on Wednesday.  A funeral service will be held in the First Presbyterian Church here at 2 P.M. Tuesday.  Dr. Pugh, who was killed in a traffic accident near Thermopolis, Wyoming, on Thursday, was Chairman of the General Commission on Army and navy Chaplains, during the war.


  • DATE OF DEATH: 09/14/1950

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