Obituary of Hugh G. Nevin, Jr
The Reverend Dr. Hugh Gould Nevin, Jr. of Slingerlands, NY died peacefully on January 22, 2021-- one week shy of his 88th birthday -- after a battle with cancer. He is survived by his devoted wife of 63 years, Vaughn (nee Lainhart) and their children: Alison (spouse Bernard) Sheahan of Arlington, VA, Christopher (spouse Karen) Nevin of Moretown, VT and Faith (spouse David) Libby of Scotia, NY; by eight grandchildren: Aidan Nevin (spouse Hannah Shihdanian), Cameron Nevin, Samantha Sheahan, John Sheahan, William Sheahan, Amy Sheahan, Kristin Libby and Michael Libby; and three great-grandchildren: Bella, Jaime and Bear Nevin. Hugh was predeceased by his parents, his younger brother David Nevin and sister-in-law Janet Nevin and by his cousin, Charles Wirls.
Hugh was born in Pittsburgh, PA, the son of Hugh Gould Nevin, a successful banker and Eda McCoy Nevin, a vibrant Wellesley College grad. Both his father and mother were descendants of the original Scots-Irish settlers of western Pennsylvania. (Hugh had a passionate interest in family genealogy, his history of the Nevin family name becoming one of his two published books.) Pittsburgh also left its mark on Hugh as a life-long Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers fan!
Hugh was a graduate of Mercersburg Academy, Williams College, Union Theological Seminary and finally, Columbia University Teachers College where he earned a doctorate in Religion and Education. He became an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church (PC) USA in 1959, honorably retiring in 1996. He served the congregations of Peekskill PC, Peekskill, NY; Westminster PC, Albany, NY; Ballston Spa PC, Ballston Spa, NY; Trinity PC, Scotia, NY; First United PC, Troy, NY; Hamilton Union PC, Guilderland, NY; First Reformed PC, Glenville, NY; Bethany PC, Menands, NY; and the First Presbyterian Church of Albany. He also served a term as Moderator of Albany Presbytery and for twenty years as a Director of Auburn Theological Seminary.
Hugh’s passion for education and for supporting youth to spread peace and understanding led him to become a campus minister in 1963. He initiated and eventually built a Long Island-wide collaboration of “town-gown” ministries to 22 campuses for over 16 years. SUNY Stony Brook was his home base and the community in which he and his family resided for that time. His work during those years included many social justice projects, including seeking support for foreign students at universities, participating in racial justice events like the ‘63 March on Washington with fellow ministers, fighting discriminatory housing practices, counseling for Vietnam war conscientious objectors, co-creating a community crisis hotline and co-founding a unique shopping mall-based youth ministry. From 1980 until retirement Hugh provided ministry staffing at both Union College, Schenectady and SUNY Albany and initiated several projects as an employee of the United Ministries Board of Education for NY State.
Hugh treasured his family life, supporting the education and dreams of his wife, children and grandchildren. He loved to travel and led the family on many wonderful adventures across the US and Europe. He loved to sing and had a glorious baritone voice. He sang in school, community and church choirs for his entire life, with choirs such as at Setauket Presbyterian Church and, most recently, the First Presbyterian Church of Albany and community groups like Albany Pro Musica and, most recently, the Beverwyck Chorale. His rendition of the spiritual “Were You There?” (sung at a Good Friday service) is among several indelible musical memories for family members.
Hugh will be remembered most for his endless kindness and gentle wisdom. He gave fully of his love and in return was deeply loved by his family and many friends. Contributions may be made in his memory to a religious or educational institution or charity of choice. A memorial service will be planned for a future date.