John Paisley, city employee, pacifist

April 23, 1995|By DeWitt Bliss | DeWitt Bliss,Sun Staff Writer

A memorial service for John C. Paisley, who worked for city government 40 years and was a longtime pacifist and supporter of civil rights, will be held at 1 p.m. today at Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, Charles Street and Mount Vernon Place.

Mr. Paisley, who was 84 and lived in Northeast Baltimore, died March 25 of heart failure at Good Samaritan Hospital.

Edward A. Johnston, a fellow member of the church who met Mr. Paisley in the late 1940s at meetings of its Sunday Evening Club for young adults, described him as "an honest, caring person who felt very strongly about his religious beliefs and putting them into practice caring for your fellow man."

The Rev. Edwin A. Ankeny, pastor of the church who became a pacifist while a member of the Church of the Brethren, said he found in conversations that Mr. Paisley's pacifist convictions were "theologically based" in Christ's statements about peace and on a passage from the Book of Isaiah.

John M. Sexton, a former president of the Baltimore Astronomical Society, described Mr. Paisley, a longtime member, a "gentle, kind person."

In 1936, he came to Baltimore from his hometown of Mount Vernon, Ill., to work in the newly established headquarters of the Social Security Administration.

Having already helped to organize a World Peace Society in Illinois, he became active in a number of comparable groups in Baltimore, including the local Fellowship of Reconciliation, of which he was secretary, the Baltimore Peace Conference, of which he was treasurer, the Pacifist Action Group and the War Resister's League.

When World War II began, he registered as a conscientious objector and was assigned to a series of Civilian Public Service camps, first in the Avalon area of the Patapsco State Park and later near Elmira, N.Y., and Bluemont, Va.

Unable to return to the Social Security Administration after the war, he began working for city government in 1946, and 40 years later retired at age 75 as an administrative assistant in the Land Acquisition Division of the Baltimore Urban Renewal and Housing Agency. He continued working as a one-day-a-week volunteer after his retirement.

He also became active in the Baltimore Interracial Fellowship, later known as the Baltimore Fellowship. As a supporter of civil rights, he had also participated in sit-ins at Baltimore restaurants and in demonstrations at the old Gwynn Oak amusement park in the 1960s.

Mr. Paisley is survived by his wife of 45 years, the former Miriam Rose Jungblut Bounds; a stepson, Ronald William Bounds of Princeton, N.J.; a brother, Ernest Hughes Paisley of Westerville, Ohio; two sisters, Esther P. Hartley of Bloomington, Ind., and Grace Beulah Paisley of Detroit; and two grandchildren.

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