SWANS ISLAND – Dr. James Max Creswell was born in Pottstown, Pa., on Sept. 23, 1937, and he began his eternal life on July 17, 2016.
He was the son of the late J. Max and Helen (Shanley) Creswell. He was educated in the Pottstown school system, graduating with the High School Class of 1954.
As a youth, he was very involved in Scouting, a member of First Methodist Boy Scout Troop No. 4. He attained the rank of Eagle Scout, with three palm clusters, and in 1954 he was the first recipient of the Harvey S. Firestone Jr. Award, an honor presented to the “outstanding Scout of the Valley Forge Council.” He was a Vigil honor member of the Order of the Arrow. For five summers, he served on the camp staff at Delmont Scout Reservation, Green Lane.
He attended Lafayette College, Easton, graduating from that school in 1958. He was a member, and officer, of the Sigma Nu social fraternity. He was also a member of Alpha Chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity, the college choir and the Junior Class Honor Society.
He earned his divinity degree at McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, and in 1961, was ordained to the ministry in the “old” First Presbyterian Church, at High and Evans Street in Pottstown. The first 10 years of his ministry were spent at the First Presbyterian Church in Easton, and the Northway Presbyterian Church in Williamsport.
In 1969, he was called to the First Presbyterian Church in Roselle, New Jersey, and served as the pastor of that congregation for the next thirty years, until his retirement in 1998. During those years, he was instrumental in founding the Day Care Center of the Presbyterian Church, a learning center still in operation. He also organized the Roselle-Roselle Park “CROP Walk for Hunger,” and was involved in numerous community outreach programs. He was president of the Roselle-Roselle Park Interfaith Council, and was also moderator of the Elizabeth Presbytery of the denomination.
His formal education continued at the New York Theological Seminary, where he received a second master’s degree, as well as a doctorate in ministry. He was invited to serve as an adjunct faculty member of that seminary, a teaching role that he filled for three years.
He was a fifty-year member of Stichter Lodge No. 254, F&AM, Pottstown. He and his wife, Meredith Rung Creswell, have been members of the First Presbyterian Church on Evans Street, Pottstown, where they both have been active in the chancel choir.
Following his retirement, he served as the interim minister of the Pennside Presbyterian Church in Mount Penn, Pa.
For the past 10 years, he was the summer pastor of the Advent Christian Church on Swans Island, and he also preached at the Methodist Church on Swans Island.
His friendships and ministry on the Island were deeply meaningful to him.
He was an avid reader, and wrote extensively. He also traveled widely, visiting six of the seven continents and most of the states in the United States.
He married Alyce Weber Creswell, who predeceased him in 1995. In 1999, he married Meredith Rung Creswell, who survives him. He is also survived by his sister, Jane Hospador of Shelton, Washington, eight cousins, two nieces, two daughters and two grandsons.
He was a loving man who touched many lives, and he served his Lord well.
A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday, Aug. 6, 10 a.m., at the First Presbyterian Church, 750 North Evans St. in Pottstown, Pa. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be sent to The Advent Christian Church, 192 Minturn Road, Swans Island, ME 04685. There will also be a memorial service on Swans Island, the date to be announced.
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