Henry Tuttle

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Henry William Tuttle (born July 15, 1926 in Oak Park, Illinois; died May 13, 2010 in Madison, Alabama) was pastor of Pilgrim Congregational Church (now Pilgrim Church) from 1975 to 1985. He succeeded S. Lawrence Johnson, who had held the post for the previous decade.

Tuttle was born in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, and was raised in Walton and Lockport, New York. His father and grandfather had been Congregational ministers. His father, the Reverend William N. Tuttle, eventually became superintendent of the Congregational Christian (after 1957, the United Church of Christ) Conference of Florida. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He graduated from Emory University in Atlanta and also attended Grinnell College, a historically Congregationalist institution in Iowa. He attained his ministerial degree from the Hartford Theological Seminary in Connecticut and was ordained into the ministry in 1954. His first congregation was in Marlborough, Connecticut; he served that church simultaneously while attending seminary.

In 1955, Tuttle moved to St Petersburg, Florida to, in effect, work for his father in starting a new church, Pilgrim Congregational. During the 1950s, the southwestern part of the state along the Gulf Coast grew tremendously due to relocating Northerners, many of whom were Congregationalists in their former locales. This led to the congregation becoming a full-fledged program parish in a very short period of time. Tuttle stayed in St. Petersburg until 1968, when he joined the staff of Miami's prestigious Plymouth Congregational Church.

Tuttle shared pastoral duties in Miami until 1971, when the home missions board of the UCC approached him about taking the reins of the denomination's struggling congregation in Huntsville, Alabama. He agreed to serve and spent four years there. One noteworthy achievement during his Huntsville pastorate was that congregation's outstanding material and financial response to the devastation caused by massive tornadoes in northern Alabama on April 3, 1974.

Tuttle accepted a call to Pilgrim Church in January 1975. At Pilgrim Church, he instituted the church's annual Thanksgiving dinner (the Sunday prior) and introduced a series of "theologians in residence," normally college or seminary faculty members who engaged in lectures and conversations with church members and preached during Sunday worship. Also, in 1979, the church purchased and began renting a house in Inglenook to handicapped people, a program that lasted for four years. He served as moderator of the UCC's Southeast Conference, to which Pilgrim Church belongs. Community activities of his included serving as a chaplain for the Children's Hospital of Alabama and raising funds for the Birmingham Zoo.

After a decade at Pilgrim Church, Tuttle resigned in 1985 to take the pastorate of Washington, D.C.'s Grace Reformed Church, another UCC congregation. President Theodore Roosevelt worshipped regularly at Grace Reformed during his administration; while pastor there, Tuttle established a conservationist symposium to honor Roosevelt.

Tuttle retired in 1993 and returned to the Huntsville area to make his home. He and his wife, the former Jean Bosman, had three daughters and a son and several grandchildren. Tuttle died after a long illness.


  • Feazel, Frances T. (2003) A History of the Pilgrim Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, 1903-2003. self-published by the church.
  • "Tuttle, Henry" (obituary). (May 16, 2010). The Huntsville Times.