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Arthur Raymond McKinstry (July 26, 1894 – December 25, 1991) was the American bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware from 1939 to 1954. He was elected November 15, 1938; consecrated February 17, 1939; and retired on December 31, 1954.

Arthur R. McKinstry
5th Bishop of Delaware
ChurchEpiscopal Church
PredecessorPhilip Cook
SuccessorJ. Brooke Mosley
Personal details
Born(1894-07-26)July 26, 1894
Greeley, Kansas
Died(1991-12-25)December 25, 1991
ParentsLeslie and Cevilla McKinstry
SpouseIsabelle Van Dorn
Margery Robertson Vannerson
ChildrenIsabelle, Margaret, Barbara, James, and Arthur
Alma materKenyon College
Episcopal Theological School
The University of the South

Personal lifeEdit

Rev. McKinstry was born in Greeley, Kansas, United States, to Leslie Irwin and Cevilla (Surbeck) McKinstry, He was born with a spinal curvature.[1] He received his elementary schooling in Chanute, Kansas. He later went to Kenyon College where he was a founding member of the Sigma Pi fraternity chapter and served as chapter secretary. He was an organist for the college choir, the pianist for the Glee Club, and the director of the Puff and Powder club. He received two degrees from Kenyon: a Bachelor of Philosophy in 1918 and a Master of Arts in 1920. He also attended Harvard, and received the B.D. and S.T.B. degrees from the Episcopal Theological School at Cambridge, Massachusetts. The University of the South conferred a Doctor of Divinity degree upon him in 1937. He married Isabelle Van Dorn, of Cleveland, in 1920; they had three daughters (Isabelle, Margaret, and Barbara) and two sons (James and Arthur).[2][3] His wife, Isabelle, would die in 1971[4] and he would later marry Margery Robinson Vannerson[5] (whose first husband Walter L. Vannerson also died in 1971).[6] Margery would die in 1988.[7]

Professional lifeEdit

Rev. McKinstry was ordained a deacon in 1919 and a priest in 1920.[8] His early assignments had him serve as chaplain of Bethany College, at Grace Cathedral in Topeka, Kansas, and at the Church of the Incarnation in Cleveland, Ohio. He was elected deputy to represent the Diocese of Texas at the Episcopal General Conventions in 1931, 1934, and 1937.[2]

Before his election as bishop, McKinstry served as rector in two congregations that brought him into contact with two future presidents of the United States. As rector of St. Paul's Church, Albany, New York from 1927 until 1931, he developed a friendship with Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1934, as rector of St. Mark's Church in San Antonio, Texas, McKinstry conducted the wedding of Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson.[9] From 1928 to 1931 he served as the chaplain for the New York State Senate.[8] In 1948 he attended the Lambeth Conference.[10]


  1. ^ ""United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918". National Archives and Records Administration.
  2. ^ a b "Sigma Pi in the News: Dr. Arthur R. McKinstry, New Bishop of Delaware Diocese" (PDF). The Emerald of Sigma Pi. Vol. 25 no. 4. February 1939. pp. 243–244.
  3. ^ "United States Census, 1940". National Archives and Records Administration.
  4. ^ "Isabelle Van Dorn McKINSTRY".
  5. ^ "United States, GenealogyBank Obituaries, 1980-2014".
  6. ^ "United States Social Security Death Index". U.S. Social Security Administration.
  7. ^ "Margery R. McKinstry".
  8. ^ a b "A. R. McKinstry, 97 - Ex-Episcopal Bishop". 1991-12-29. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  9. ^ "Sigma Pi Bishops in the News" (PDF). The Emerald of Sigma Pi. Vol. 50 no. 4. Winter 1964. pp. 182–183.
  10. ^ "Sigma Pi In The News: To Lambeth Conference" (PDF). The Emerald of Sigma Pi. Vol. 35 no. 2. August 1948. p. 93.


  • McKinstry, Arthur R. (1975). All I Have Seen...: The McKinstry Memoirs by the Fifth Bishop of Delaware 1939–1954. Wilmington, Del.: Serendipity Press.

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