Rev. Wilmer Melvin Potter

Published 10:59 pm Monday, September 9, 2013

Rev. Wilmer Melvin Potter, 85, of Columbus, passed away peacefully surrounded by family at the Hospice House Carolina Foothills, Landrum, on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, following a brief illness.

Wil was born in Loganville, New Brunswick, Canada, on Dec. 1, 1927, the son of the late William and Janet (Irving) Potter.

Wil Potter

Wil Potter

Rev. Potter was raised in New Brunswick, Canada; he was a graduate of Chatham High School, Class of 1944. Wil attended Gordon Conwell College in Boston, Mass. and transferred to Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, where he met and married Carolyn Perry of Presque Isle, Maine in 1948.

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Rev. Potter and Carolyn had a daughter, Zonnwiece, and a son, Irving. They traveled to California and he completed his seminary training at the Berkley Baptist Divinity School, an American Baptist Seminary.

The American Baptist Home Mission Society called Wil to his first position in Pennsylvania. The next 40 years Rev. Potter spent in the pastoral ministry leading churches in Coraopolis, Penn.; Erie, Penn.; Westlake, Ohio; Wyoming; a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio; Springfield, Mass.; Warwick, RI; Seekonk, Mass. and Melvin Village, NH.

On May 5, 1984, Rev. Potter married Rev. Mary Alice (Thornburg) Potter. The two retired on Dec. 31, 1990; Wil from Melvin Village Community Church and Mary from New Hampton Community Church. Both churches were affiliated with the American Baptist Church, USA.

During Rev. Potter’s retirement, he volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and was crew chief for the Wednesday volunteers for 16 years where he helped build 50 homes. He was part of the men’s group at Tryon Presbyterian Church and also helped lead a church class for the choir for 17 years.

During the 1990s he often helped in pulpit supply. During these years he became proficient in woodworking using the scroll saw and intarsia (a wood mosaic). Throughout his life he was able to fix just about anything.

Wil was also very athletic; in the 1940s he was on the semi-pro hockey team in St. John’s, New Brunswick, named the Beavers. Throughout his life he played baseball and in the 1990s biked from Providence, RI to New Brunswick, Canada, which was 1,000 miles round trip.

He will be greatly missed by his loving family, including his wife Mary of Columbus; a sister, Aletha Good of Nova Scotia; a daughter, Zonnwiece Simard of Bradenton, Fla.; a son and daughter-in-law, Irving and his wife Deborah L. Potter of Plant City, Fla.; his three beloved grandchildren, Sarah S. Moxley and her husband Jason of Sarasota, Fla., William B. Nacewicz and his wife Miranda of Westfield, Mass. and Adam Simard of Sarasota, Fla.; and his two precious great-grandchildren, Mars and Mia Moxley of Sarasota, Fla.

Memorials may be given to Tryon Presbyterian Church, Habitat for Humanity, The American Heart Association, The American Cancer Society, The American Diabetes Association or The Hospice House of the Carolina Foothills.

A memorial service will be held in the sanctuary of Tryon Presbyterian Church, 430 Harmon Field Road, on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at 11 a.m.