Notable Deaths ›

Bishop Joseph Howze (1923 – 2019), pioneering African-American bishop

Twitter / Sun Herald

The first black bishop in the 20th century to head a U.S. diocese

Bishop Joseph Howze (1923 – 2019) was the first African-American bishop in the 20th century to head a Roman Catholic diocese in the United States, selected to head the diocese in Biloxi, Mississippi in 1977. In the 1960s, the bishop led and integrated an all-white parish in Raleigh, North Carolina. Bishop Howze had the honor of introducing Pope Paul II at a church meeting at the Superdome in New Orleans.

We invite you to share condolences for Bishop Joseph Howze in our Guest Book.

Died: Wednesday January 9, 2019. (Who else died on January 9?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 95 in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.


Is there someone you miss whose memory should be honored? Here are some ways.


Bishop Howze on the foundation of his ministry: “Love is eternal,” he said. “Faith and hope are for this life only. Everything else is bound with weakness and imperfections of the present state. Our foundation is love.” –At the ceremony when he was appointed head bishop in Biloxi

What they said about him: “While we are saddened by the death of Bishop Joseph Lawson Howze, we rejoice in his life.” “He loved the Diocese of Biloxi and prayed unceasingly for its continued success. “He had a genuine concern for the salvation of souls.” - Biloxi Bishop Louis F. Kihneman III said in a news release following his death.

Full obituary: Sun Herald

Related lives:

Wally Triplett (1926 – 2018) Pioneering NFL running back

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ntozake Shange (1948 – 2018) Groundbreaking black feminist poet

Simeon Booker (1918 – 2017) First full time African-American reporter at The Washington Post