Laird was predeceased by his parents, James Beecher and Virginia Nevius Stuart; and stepmother, Caroline Evans Stuart. He is survived by his brothers, Robert Beecher and Bruce D.D. Stuart (Christine), and sister, Diane Gay Westman (Roger); daughters: Carrie Heishman (Tony), Brodie Owens (Marty) and Rachel Bain; grandchildren: Sean and Natalie Ismail, Ainsley and Lindsey Owens, and Xavier Bain; plus beloved cousins, nephews and nieces.
Laird matriculated at Amherst College and earned his Master and Doctor of Divinity degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary. He holds honorary degrees from Waynesburg and Westminster colleges. Laird served the Presbyterian Church USA congregations in Milford, Connecticut; Bergenfield, New Jersey; Grand Haven, Michigan; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and San Francisco, California. Laird and Virginia served in the Tetons with A Christian Ministry in the National Parks and Laird continued as a long-term board member as well as on the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church USA. Laird chaired the boards of the Pittsburgh and San Francisco theological seminaries and most recently served on the Board of Princeton Theological Seminary. Following his retirement from Calvary Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, he served as interim president of San Francisco Theological Seminary for 16 months. His life and calling to ministry were based on his deep commitment to grace, mercy and justice.
The family extends its gratitude to Dr. David Fermin, the staff of the Meijer Heart Center and Spectrum Health Home Hospice.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, January 19, 2019, at First Presbyterian Church in Grand Haven, Michigan. Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. Friday, January 18, 2019, at The VanZantwick Chapel (620 Washington Ave., Grand Haven, MI 49417). Interment will take place in Lake Forest Cemetery. Memorial contributions in memory of Laird may be given to: A Christian Ministry in the National Parks (acmnp.com/donate), or Princeton Theological Seminary. Please sign the family’s online guestbook at www.sytsemafh.com.