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Bishop Leontine T. C. Kelly

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Bishop Leontine T. C. Kelly Obituary
Bishop Leontine T. C. Kelly Passed away June 28, 2012 after a period of declining health at Lake Park Retirement Community in Oakland, CA. Bishop Kelly was born in the parsonage of Mount Zion United Methodist Church in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C. to Dr. David DeWitt Turpeau, Sr. and Ila Marshall Turpeau on March 5, 1920. She was the seventh of eight children: Anita Belle Anderson (deceased), David DeWitt Turpeau, Jr. (deceased), Woodruff Sage Turpeau (deceased), Rossman DeWolf Turpeau, Sr. (deceased), Angella T. Hayes, Florida Marshall Anderson (deceased), and Michel Martine Turpeau (deceased). In the words of the National Women's Hall of Fame, Bishop Leontine T.C. Kelly was a spiritual and moral role model for women, advancing the cause of justice throughout the United States and the world. As an ordained United Methodist elder, she served local churches in Virginia and as Associate Program Council Director of the Virginia Annual Conference. When she entered the journey of ordained ministry, Leontine Kelly left a successful career as a High School History and Social Studies teacher. Throughout her careers, she served on numerous church and civic committees and boards both local and global in scope. In 1983, she became Assistant General Secretary in the area of Evangelism for the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship, Nashville, Tennessee. In 1984, she made history when the Western Jurisdictional Conference of the United Methodist Church elected her to the episcopacy - the second female and the first African American woman to be elected bishop of any major denomination in the world. As bishop of the California-Nevada Annual Conference and president of the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops, she was chief administrative officer and spiritual leader of more than 100,000 United Methodists. Following her retirement in 1988, Bishop Kelly continued her extensive speaking career and served as Visiting Professor of Evangelism and Witness at Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA. She later served as Adjunct Professor to that seminary and Hartford Seminary, Hartford, Connecticut. Bishop Kelly served as President of the AIDS National Interfaith Network (ANIN), President of the Interreligious Health Care ACCESS Campaign. She leaves to mourn her children, Angella P. Current Felder (Robert, deceased), Gloster B. Current, Jr., daughter-in-love Yvonne D. Current, Rev. John D. Current, Sr., and daughter-in-love Rev. Staci Current, and Pamela L. Kelly, Esq.; grandchildren, Angelyn H. Current, Tiffany B. Current, Jeremy Feig, Faith B. Current, John D. Current, Jr., and Leon K. Current; great-grandson David M. Williams; her beloved 99-year old sister, Mrs. Angella (Gella) T. Hayes of Washington, D.C.; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. Bishop Kelly will Lay in State on Wednesday, July 4, 2012, from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Jones Memorial United Methodist Church, 1975 Post Street, San Francisco and The Homegoing Celebration will be held on Thursday at 10:00 am. Interment Skylawn Memorial Park, San Mateo, CA. In lieu of flowers donation in her honor preferred to The Ila Marshall Turpeau Scholarship Fund Garrett Theological Seminary, 2121 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60201 or The Bishop Leontine T. C. Kelly Endowed Scholarship Fund, Africa University Development Office, P.O. Box 340007, Nashville, TN 37203.

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Published in San Francisco Chronicle on July 1, 2012
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