Priest Associate – Pastoral Care
Laird was born in Camden, New Jersey shortly after the ark landed. (Well, 1938.) He and his parents moved to Florida when he was 13, and he met and fell in love with Carley Ann Freck (aka Bitsy) at the tender young age of 15. He never did get over that love, and they married in 1960, just before he received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Florida. He entered medical school there later that year and graduated in 1964. After internship in Baltimore, Laird and Bitsy (and son, Drew, and daughter, Crista) went into the USAF, where he served as a Flight Medical Officer before doing his Internal Medicine residency and Cardiology fellowship at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. Laird and Bitsy then spent four years at Travis AFB, California before leaving the Air Force in 1976 for private practice in Knoxville, Tennessee. Answering a clear and persistent call from God to enter the ordained ministry, Laird left the practice of cardiology in 1988 to attend Virginia Theological Seminary, where he received a Master of Divinity degree in 1991. After this, Laird and Bitsy returned to Tennessee, where he served Episcopal churches in Johnson City, Norris and Tullahoma. During this time Laird obtained a Master of Sacred Theology degree in Spiritual Direction from the General Theological Seminary and became a professed member of the Third Order, Society of St. Francis. He and Bitsy also took part in mission trips to Appalachia and to Ecuador on several occasions. In 2005 Laird retired from parish ministry and he and Bitsy entered into what turned out to be a three year adventure in motor homing full time across the United States (all the states except Michigan) and parts of Canada. They were also blessed to be able to work for Habitat For Humanity in Louisiana after the hurricanes during this time . They have now returned to Knoxville to settle down close to Crista and Drew and their families. Laird serves God’s people at Apostles through the ministries of pastoral care and spiritual direction, among other duties as assigned by the Rector. Laird and Bitsy have four grandchildren, ages eight through eighteen. They enjoy scuba diving, bird watching, photography and traveling.