Biographies > Oberlin College
Dutton, Philip and Helen (Wiley)

Philip D. Dutton was born in Ashland, Massachusetts, on April 20, 1891. After completing high school in Watertown, New York, he studied at Oberlin College where he earned his A. B. in 1913 and his B.D. in 1916. In 1916 he married a fellow Oberlin student, Helen A. Wiley, who became his partner both as a minister's wife and as a missionary.

Helen Wiley was born in 1889 in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. She received an A.B. from Oberlin College in 1917. While at Oberlin she was placed in charge of a woman's dormitory and served as chaplain of Talcott Hall where she became experienced at leading prayers and worship services.

In 1919, the Duttons were commissioned by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to serve in Taigu, Shanxi Province, China. They remained in Taigu for twenty-two years, a period that included four years of Japanese occupation. While Philip Dutton served as a minister for a city church and several country churches, Helen Dutton taught English, music, and ancient history.

The Duttons returned to the United States in 1941, just a few months before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Following a two year furlough in Oberlin, Ohio, Philip Dutton accepted a wartime pastorate at the First Congregational Church in Benzonia, Michigan, where he served 1943-47. In 1948, they returned to China where Philip Dutton taught at the Fukien Union Theological Seminary at Fuzhou.

They were forced to leave following the Communist invasion and takeover of the government in 1950, and they were sent to the Philippines where he taught at the College of Theology at Silliman University until illness forced him to return to the United States in 1952. From 1954 until his retirement in 1958, Philip Dutton served at a minister to the First Congregational Church in Jefferson, Ohio.

Upon Philip Dutton's retirement, the Duttons returned to Benzonia, Michigan, where Philip Dutton died in 1975. Four years after her husband's death, Helen Dutton moved to Pleasant Hill, Tennessee, where she died on April 14, 1982.

Philip and Helen Dutton had three children: Thomas Chester (1918-84), Jean Marcia (1920-26), and Frank Warner (b. 1924).

For more information, see: Oberlin College Archives

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