The Rev. William H. Gage, 77, of West Mount Airy, pastor of Norris Square Presbyterian Church from 1963 to 2006, died of metastasized colon cancer June 10 at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
In 1966, Mr. Gage established the first Latino congregation in the Synod of the Trinity in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which covers all of Pennsylvania, most of West Virginia, and 10 counties in eastern Ohio.
That congregation worshiped at Mr. Gage's church with its own Sunday service in Spanish and its own pastor.
For 12 years, from the 1990s into this decade, Mr. Gage was president of the board of the Norris Square Civic Association, said his wife, Frances.
And, she said, he helped guide its offshoot, the Norris Square Development Corp.
Besides "rehabbing some of the old abandoned houses" in the neighborhood, she said, the development corporation "built a whole block of homes on the south side of Norris Street near Mascher."
But, she said, "his whole ministry emphasized youth," offering after-school programs, retreats, and trips.
"It started off originally," she said, with taking youngsters to a pool, "and then in the fall and winter they would go roller skating . . . up to the skating rink on the Boulevard."
Later, she said, it would be stays at a Presbyterian camp in the Poconos, then weekend trips to Hershey, Baltimore's Inner Harbor, and Manhattan at Christmastime.
From 2003 to 2006, he ran a state-funded program to help single mothers learn parenting and job-hunting skills.
Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Gage graduated from William Penn Charter School in 1950 and from Haverford College in 1954. He earned a bachelor of divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., in 1958 and a master of theology degree in New Testament studies from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1962.
"The night that he was ordained" in 1963 was doubly blessed, his wife recalled, because "he was installed as pastor of Norris Square."
Besides his wife of 52 years, Mr. Gage is survived by daughters Ruthanne and Frances, and a sister.
A visitation will begin at 10 a.m. today at First Presbyterian Church in Kensington, 418 E. Girard Ave., followed by a funeral service at 11.