The Rev. Calvin Oliver Pressley, 69, a longtime resident of Oak Bluffs, died Sept. 21 at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

He was the third of six children born to Pansy and Washington Pressley on Nov. 10, 1937. Calvin grew up in the village of Harlem and attended New York city’s public schools in Harlem, and received his religious teachings at the Metropolitan Community United Methodist Church in Harlem. 

Calvin’s parents and grandparents were natives of Kingstree, S.C. Even when his parents moved to New York for better employment opportunities, their children spent summers in South Carolina helping on the grandparents’ farm. When the streets of New York seemed to be too enticing for Calvin, on two occasions, his parents sent him to his grandparents in South Carolina for what he called “an attitude adjustment.” Calvin subsequently graduated from the Tomlinson High School, Kingstree, S.C.

Early in Calvin’s life, he attended nursery school at the Mt. Calvary Nursery School where the Rev. William James was the director. They formed an immediate bond, and Reverend James became his “father in the gospel” and provided guidance to him as he pursued his ministerial career. 

Calvin left New York in the early 1950s to attend college in Colorado and Iowa. Calvin graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa in 1959 with a degree in philosophy and religion. He enrolled in and graduated from Drew University Theological School in 1962 with a master’s degree in theology. 

After graduation and ordination, Calvin became the minister of youth at his home church in Harlem: Metropolitan Community United Methodist Church. Shortly thereafter, he became the senior pastor at the Church Of The Open Door in Brooklyn, N.Y. He left that church to become executive director of the Opportunities Industrialization Centers of New York. His next call was from the New York City Mission Society, the oldest social service agency in the city.

During this time he also served as interim pastor at Bushwick Parish and at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Harlem. He retired from City Mission and subsequently moved to Atlanta, Ga., to start the Institute of Church Administration and Management on the campus of the Interdenominational Theological Center. After serving in this capacity for 13 years, he was appointed executive director of the New York City Society of the United Methodist Church, where he worked until 2002.

Speaking of Reverend Pressley, Charlayne Hunter-Gault of Oak Bluffs said, “Calvin Pressley just made you feel comfortable with who you were and who he was.

“In a way, he was a renaissance man,” Ms. Hunter-Gault said. “He was a theologian, but he was also a very down-to-earth person. He gave you the best possible advice with the understanding of who you were . . . . He was the kind of guy you could talk to about anything.”

Olive Tomlinson of Oak Bluffs said Reverend Pressley was well-known among summer residents on the Vineyard, to whom he ministered.

“He was our backbone, our moral compass through joy and sorrow,” Mrs. Tomlinson said.

Photographer Julian Robinson of Oak Bluffs first got to know Reverend Pressley in the late 1950s and early 1960s in Vineyard Haven.

On Monday, Mr. Robinson called Reverend Pressley “the best . . . just a super guy. Nobody could say anything bad about him.”

Calvin served on several boards and help found organizations of change throughout New York City and Atlanta. Calvin was an outstanding leader, manager, minister, and administrator.

Survivors include his wife, Iona Pressley; his son, Todd Pressley; his daughter in law, Nomathemba Pressley; his grandchildren, Peyton and Jared Pressley; his brothers, George, the husband of Agnes, Alex the husband of Shirley, and Raymond, the husband of Debbie; his sisters, Francine, Lois and Pansy; 10 nieces and nephews; and a host of cousins and friends.

A funeral service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at St. Mark’s Church, 137th street, New York city. A memorial service will be held next summer on the Vineyard.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Calvin O. Pressley Scholarship Fund, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, The Boule Foundation, 50 Hurt Plaza, Suite 750, Atlanta, GA 30303.