Donald retained his love of whisky and bagpipes all his life

Donald Guthrie, who died last month in Montana, was rector of St John's Church, Selkirk, for six years in the 1960s.
Donald Guthrie, who died last month in Montana, was rector of St John's Church, Selkirk, for six years in the 1960s.

A former rector of St John’s Church, Selkirk, has died in Missoula, Montana, where he had settled.

Donald Angus Guthrie, who was based in Selkirk from 1963-69, died on Thursday, February 22, aged 87.

Donald was born on January 18, 1931, in Tayport, Fife, to Frederick and Allison Guthrie.

He is survived by his sister Lesley of Livonia, Michigan, his children Matthew, of Phoenix, Paul (Janet), of San Francisco, and Lucy Beighle, of Missoula, and his grandchildren Alexander Guthrie, and Calvin and Allison Beighle.

He was educated at Trinity College, Oxford, from which he graduated in 1955 with an M.A. in English Literature and Language.

Among his professors at Oxford were C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

After seminary at Westcott House, Cambridge, in 1957, he was ordained into the Anglican (Episcopal) church. He served the church faithfully for more than half a century.

In 1958, he married Joyce Blunsden, who became the mother of Matthew, Paul, and Lucy. Joyce pre-deceased him in 1976.

Following three years of curacy he became the vicar of St. John’s Church in Selkirk, during which time his children were born.

After he left Selkirk in 1969 he taught at a seminary and served other churches in Scotland and England until, in 1977, he came to America at the invitation of Bishop Jackson Gilliam and took up the position of Episcopal campus chaplain at the University of Montana.

He lived in Missoula for the remainder of his life.

In 1979 he was appointed rector of Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, where he stayed until his official retirement in 1993.

For many years after this retirement he continued to serve the church by conducting services in Anaconda, Stevensville, Hamilton, and other churches where there was a pastor required.

Donald’s contributions to the Missoula community are too numerous to mention, but included serving on the Northwest Region Rhodes Scholarship committee and chairing the Montana Association of Churches.

He touched many people’s lives through his wisdom, counsel and empathy, and he humbly considered that to be an honor.

He kept his Scottish links close to his heart, with his love of good scotch, and bagpipes – “truly the music of heaven”, as he once said.

Friends said that although his memory dimmed in his latter years, the twinkle in his eye did not.

He was laid to rest on Friday, March 2, at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, 130 S. Sixth St. E. Missoula, with Bishop Franklin Brookhart and Rev. Steve Oreskovich officiating.