Reverend Vernon C. Tyson
November 29, 1929 – December 29, 2018
Rev. Dr. Vernon C. Tyson died at his home in Raleigh, North Carolina on Saturday, December 29, 2018. He was 89.
He was born on November 29, 1929 in Buie’s Creek, North Carolina, son of Rev. Marvin Earl “Jack” Tyson and Irene Hart Tyson. Jack was a Free Will Baptist preacher and tenant farmer who became a Methodist minister in the 1940s. He and Irene raised six sons, Dewey, Tommy, George, Earl, Vernon, and Bobby, and a daughter, Merle. Vernon and his five brothers all became Methodist ministers.
Vernon received his B.A. from Guilford College and his M. Div. from Duke Divinity School. In 1953, he married Martha Buie Tyson of Biscoe, North Carolina; they recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.
Vernon Tyson took his first appointment as a Methodist minister in 1952 at Oak Ridge United Methodist Church, which launched his sixty-year career as a minister in eastern North Carolina. He served Stem United Methodist, Goldston United Methodist, Asbury United Methodist in Sanford, Bethlehem United Methodist, Jonesboro United Methodist in Sanford, Oxford United Methodist, Wesley Memorial United Methodist in Wilmington, Hay Street United Methodist in Fayetteville, University United Methodist in Chapel Hill, and St. Luke’s United Methodist in Sanford. From 1981 to 1984, he served as Superintendent of the Wilmington District of the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.
He served Edenton Street United Methodist in Raleigh twice; first as associate minister from 1958 to 1961 and again as senior minister from 1984 to 1989. He also served Cumnock United Methodist twice, from 1956 to 1958 and again from 2000 to 2002.
After his retirement, Vernon served interim appointments at Cumnock United Methodist, Center United Methodist in Sanford, Clayton United Methodist, John Wesley United Methodist in Fayetteville, Amity United Methodist in Chapel Hill, and Elevation United Methodist in Benson.
Rev. Tyson was devoted to the teachings of Jesus, particularly those related to love, mercy, justice, equality, and our obligations to the poor and vulnerable among us. These convictions led him to stand up for racial justice, public education, voting rights, and equal rights for LGBT citizens. He took seriously the Biblical mandate to welcome foreigners and immigrants. He registered as a conscientious objector to war in 1950 and opposed war and the death penalty all his life.
In 2013, at 83, Vernon was arrested in the North Carolina General Assembly during nonviolent “Moral Monday” protests against policies by that body that violated his sense of how human beings ought to treat one another. He won a number of awards for his human rights work, notably the Gayle Felton Drum Major for Justice Award from the North Carolina Methodist Federation for Social Action and a Distinguished Service Award from the North Carolina Council of Churches.
Rev. Tyson is survived by his wife, Martha Tyson, three of their four children, Tim, Martha Buie (Boo), Julie, and daughter-in-laws Perri Morgan and Lori Messinger; four grandchildren, Hope, Sam, Jessie Katherine, and Thomas; two great-grandchildren, Kai and Jameson, and a new granddaughter-in-law, Wilmarie Cintron-Munez. Vernon was preceded in death by his parents, his siblings, and his son, Vernon C. Tyson, Jr.
There will be a visitation in Kerr Hall at Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh on Friday afternoon, January 4th, from 4:00 to 6:00. Rev. Tyson’s memorial service will be on Saturday morning, January 5th, 2019 at 11:00 at Edenton Street United Methodist, followed by a reception in the Commons Area.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to the Door Step Ministries at Edenton Street United Methodist Church or to the charity of your choice.
Arrangements by Brown-Wynne, Saint Mary's Street, Raleigh.
- Rev. Tyson is survived by his wife, Martha Tyson, three of their four children, Tim, Martha Buie (Boo), Julie, and daughter-in-laws Perri Morgan and Lori Messinger; four grandchildren, Hope, Sam, Jessie Katherine, and Thomas; two great-grandchildren, Kai and Jameson, and a new granddaughter-in-law, Wilmarie Cintron-Munez. Vernon was preceded in death by his parents, his siblings, and his son, Vernon C. Tyson, Jr.
Friday, January 4, 2019
Saturday, January 5, 2019
Reverend Vernon C. Tyson
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January 5, 2019
I lost my wife to cancer in 1988 at age 32. At the time I had a 1 year old daughter and no driver's license. We had come back to Edenton Street UMC in 1986. Dr. Tyson was very comforting to me as was the Church membership. I do not know what I would have done without them. I have told the story that he told me one day, to many people in tough situations over the years. I remember that day in his office like it was yesterday. Blessings of peace and comfort to all who grieve his loss.
Josefa Bethea Wall
January 5, 2019
Remembering you and your family at this time. May you feel comforted as family and friends surround you with love and care. We lift you before the Lord.
Pat & Rick Hairston
December 31, 2018
Boo and Family,
We are so very sorry to hear of the passing of your father. May God's Grace keep you at this time of mourning.
Rick and Pat
The Staff of Canines for Service