Obituary: Paul Minus

Paul Minus, a resident of Pilgrim Place in Claremont, died on February 12, of a heart attack.

Paul was born on July 16, 1935 in Columbia, South Carolina and grew up in Charleston. A few weeks after turning 16 he left this home to attend Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.  

In 1962, after a year of graduate study in Belgium, he earned a doctorate from its divinity school. For a year he served as chaplain at Florida State University, and then moved with wife Nancy and their two young sons to Ohio. In Columbus he taught church history for 25 years at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio.

Early in his tenure at the Methodist Theological School he and other faculty were arrested for trying to enter a white church with students of color in Mississippi. He led an unsuccessful campaign to reject the introduction of Ohio’s statewide lottery, and worked with local and international business leaders to establish more responsible marketing of infant formula in developing countries. 

Upon retiring from teaching, he founded the Council for Ethics in Economics to help business leaders around the world address the ethical ramifications of their work. He wrote books on reconciling Catholics and Protestants; on Christian responsibility in the face of a hungry world; on the life of social gospel pioneer Walter Rauschenbusch. 

Following the death of his daughter and subsequent divorce from his wife, he fell in love with his friend Carolyn McIntyre. In 1984 the couple married, and he became stepfather to her son Andrew. Carolyn died of cancer in 1991. Several years later he married his late wife’s close friend Jean Dickinson, and in 1999 the new couple moved to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Paul loved the Cape, and it was there that his efforts to actualize God’s kingdom began to focus on the natural world. At the churches he attended he formed care for creation committees. He became a board member of the Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative, and in this capacity founded the Faith Communities Environmental Network, which now comprises a force of more than 30 Cape Cod faith communities that are battling the climate crisis together.

The couple moved to Claremont in 2005. Jean had raised her own family here, and he found in Pilgrim Place a community of residents as committed as he to acting on their faith. Here he oversaw the energy retrofitting of 80 single family homes and established the Napier Initiative, a program through which students at the Claremont Colleges are matched with mentors at Pilgrim Place and given cash awards to further environmental and social justice programs of their own devising. 

He also audited classes at the Claremont Colleges, delivered food, visited and read to fellow Pilgrims in the infirmary, and played tennis and ping pong with all who dared cross his path.

Still, Cape Cod’s pull was strong, and in 2015 the couple yielded to its force. A few years later, realizing it was time to live in a community that offered their future selves the option of continuing care, they returned to Claremont. 

Mr. Minus is predeceased by his first wife Nancy; daughter Susan; son David; and second wife Carolyn.

He is survived by his older sister Betty; son Stephen; stepchildren Andrew, Kathryn and Tim;  grandchildren Justin, Erin, Emily, Eliot, Elinor, Madelyn, Cordelia, Charlotte and Aimee; and by his beloved wife Jean, who continues to live at Pilgrim Place.

A Zoom memorial service in celebration of his life will be held at 9:30 a.m. PST Saturday, April 10. To receive a link to this service, please contact  

Mr. Minus used his gifts to create institutions that now survive him and continue his work. A memorial fund has been established to honor his life and legacy; to contribute to this, and learn more about his environmental leadership on Cape Cod, please visit


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