Walter Clyde McClurkin

1882 – 1973

By: Roger Kemps © 2010



Walter Clyde McClurkin was born on February 14, 1882 in Oakdale, Illinois.  He died on June 20, 1973 in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.

His parents were William Morrison McClurkin (November 14, 1857 - November 4, 1898) and Mary Jane Adams (January 20, 1855 - January 15, 1945). 

Walter was an only child.  He graduated from Geneva College in 1906 and completed his studies at the Reformed Presbyterian Church Seminary in 1909.  He was licensed to preach the Gospel in May 1908 by the Pittsburgh Presbytery and he was ordained on April 19, 1910 by the Rochester Presbytery.  A week earlier, he married Morna Gail McWilliams (December 23, 1883 - March 1973) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Walter and Morna had two children:

·      Robert James George McClurkin (December 8, 1911 - May 6, 1956)

·      Eunice Louise McClurkin Posset (March 29, 1914 - January 19, 2015)


Considerable valuable information about Walter's life and career was published, and appears in "Christian Nation" pages and "The Covenanter Witness" pages.  Both were periodicals of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. In addition, three sources of biographical information, have been published and are presented below:


The following was copied from pages 195 and 196 of "Sketches of the Ministers of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America from 1888 to 1930."



W. C. MCCLURKIN, son of William Morrison and Mary Jane (Adams) McClurkin, was born
February 14, 1882, at Oakdale, Illinois. His parents were both born within the bounds of the Church at Oakdale, Illinois. They were also baptized in this church, and later united with the same, The subject of this sketch was also baptized in this place on April 22, 1882, by the Rev. D. G. Thompson, the pastor of the congregation. He united with the same Reformed Presbyterian Church October 24, 1895, under the pastorate of the Rev. J. C. B. French. He attended the Public Schools of his home town, then entered the Preparatory Department of Geneva, completing his studies in that institution and graduating in the spring of 1906. In the fall of the same year he entered the Reformed Presbyterian Seminary in Allegheny (now North Side Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, completing his theological studies in the spring of 1909. He was licensed to preach the Gospel by Pittsburgh Presbytery in May, 1908, and was ordained to the Gospel Ministry by Rochester Presbytery in the Lisbon, New York, Church, April 19, 1910. He was installed pastor of that congregation on the same date. He was released from this charge April 8, 1913. He was installed pastor of the Church Hill congregation at Coulterville, Illinois, May 19, 1914, and released from the same March 8, 1915. He was installed pastor of the Olathe, Kansas, congregation April 14, 1915, and released June 12, 1917. He was principal of the Freedom, Pennsylvania, High School for a time in the winter of 1918-19. He was General Field Secretary of the Witness Committee in 1919-20. He was stated supply in the Lake Reno congregation of Glenwood, Minnesota, for a year, beginning October 1, 1921. He has been writing the comments on the Young People's Topics in the Church Paper since 1917. He was recently chosen Superintendent of the Chinese Mission of the Central Pittsburgh congregation of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. On April 12, 1910, he was united in marriage with Morna G. McWilliams, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They have two children: Robert J. G. and Eunice L. Their present home is in North Side, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


The following was copied from page 123 of "Covenanter Ministers 1930 - 1963"




Walter C. McClurkin's early life and ministry are recounted in Thompson's Sketches of the Ministers until the year 1930. Mr. McClurkin was then serving as Superintendent of the Chinese Mission of the Central Pittsburgh congregation of Pittsburgh, Pa. He had also been writing the comments on the Young People's topics in our church paper since 1917.

In 1932 he was installed pastor of our Coldenham, New York congregation and continued this until his resignation and retirement on December 31, 1957. It was a long and fruitful pastorate.

He was faithful in attending the meetings of our synod and was chosen as its Moderator in 1955. The following year in June his alma mater, Geneva College, honored him with the Doctor of Divinity degree. Since his retirement he and his wife are living in Wallkill, New York.


The following was copied from pages 113 & 144 of “Minutes of the Synod and Yearbook of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America 1974”


Walter C.McCLURKIN, D.D.


Through Hebrews 10:35 and 36, God continues to give to His servants this wise counsel:

" . . Do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised." (NASB) In the ministry of our brother Walter McClurkin these qualities of confidence and endurance were molded together to an unusual degree.

Walter Clyde McClurkin was born in Oakdale, Illinois, on February 14, 1882, and was over ninety-one years old when death came on June 20, 1973. He and his wife, the former Morna McWilliams, shared almost sixty-three years of married life together. They shared a great interest in gardening, and surrounded their homes with beautiful flowers and shrubs. Mrs. McClurkin preceded her husband in death by exactly three months. He was also preceded in death by his son, Robert. He is survived by his daughter, Eunice, who is a member of the Geneva College faculty.

In 1955 Dr. McClurkin was elected by the Synod to be its moderator, and he was granted the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity by Geneva College in 1956.

Dr. McClurkin was ordained to the Gospel Ministry on April 19, 1910, and served as pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Churches in Lisbon, N e w York, Coulterville, Illinois, Olathe, Kansas, and Coldenham, New York, and as Stated Supply at Glenwood, Minnesota. For three years he was superintendent of the Chinese Mission of the Central Pittsburgh congregation.

Walter McClurkin's quality of steadfast endurance was tested during the first twenty-two years of his public ministry by the frequency with which he moved. During those years he labored within the bounds of five different presbyteries, and in different kinds of ministry. His patience was tested and revealed through his physical handicaps of speaking and hearing.

In the depression year of 1932 an opportunity to return to the pastorate came in the form of a call from the congregation at Coldenham, New York. Before the call was made out, serious thought had been given to the possible closing of the church. Coldenham had seventeen resident members, and only one child on the baptized roll. However, a house-to-house survey of the surrounding community revealed that the people living there wanted the church to remain open. Under God's guidance, the decision was made to continue, and Dr. McClurkin received the call.

From the very beginning of a pastorate which was to last for a quarter of a century, Dr. McClurkin revealed his spiritual vision and strong confidence in his Lord. Under his leadership the church in Coldenham became the center for a vigorous program of outreach. Dr. and Mrs. McClurkin made their home a center of social life for the young people of the community, and showed a deep interest in their activities. A very large and active Covenanter Young People's Union was organized. The young people were challenged to come to the public worship and pay close attention to the preaching of the Word, and prizes were awarded for the best sets of sermon notes. The church camp at White Lake - an hour's drive away - came to play an important part in the life of the congregation. A large mission Sabbath School was also developed, and the church began to grow. Throughout these years of ministry at Coldenham, Dr. McClurkin was deeply appreciated as a pastor who loved and cared for his flock. Upon his retirement from the active ministry in December of 1957, he was honored with the title of Pastor-Emeritus of that congregation.

May the unusual pattern of Walter McClurkin's ministry, and the fruitfulness of it, challenge us not to cast away either our confidence or our patience in our service to the Lord of the church.

"Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." (James 1:12)


The Rev. Walter Clyde McClurkin, D.D., died on June 20, 1973 and is buried in Beaver Falls Memorial Park and Mausoleum in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. To see an image of the headstone, see this link.


Reference Sources:


1900_James_H_McClurken.jpg see line 29

1920 Walter McClurkin.jpg  see line 26

1930 Walter McClurkin.jpg  see line 23

1940 Walter McClurkin.jpg  see line 23

Walter Clyde McClurkin Draft Registration.pdf

Sketches of the Ministers of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America

Covenanter Ministers 1930 1963.pdf

Reformed Presbyterian Ministers 1950 1993.pdf

Walter McClurkin Life Summary Pt 1.pdf  from the "Christian Nation" 1906 - 1927

Walter McClurkin Life Summary Pt 2.pdf  from "The Covenanter Witness" 1929 - 1960


Walter McClurkin Obituary  see columns 1 & 3

Walter McClurkin Obituary Link  see columns 1 & 3



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