Handy, Sr., Dr. William Talbot


William Talbot Handy, Sr., was born in Copiah County, Mississippi, on May 20, 1894. He was the eighth child born to the union of the late Emanuel and Florence Geneva Handy. His early formal education was received in Copiah County and at Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, where he was a member of the traveling quintet He received higher education and degrees at New Orleans University and Gammon Theological Seminary. In 1919, he married Dorothy Pauline Pleasant and from this union were born four children: William Talbot, Jr., Frances Geneva, Ephriam Adair (deceased) and Dorothy Antoinette.
In 1920, he was ordained a deacon in the Atlanta Conference, and in 1921, he began his effective ministry and rendered service in the Texas, Southern California and West Texas Annual Conferences. His most important ministry was served in the Louisiana Annual Conference. He served the following appointments in Louisiana: Peoples Church and Community Center, First Street, Trinity, Brooks, Williams and Ray Avenue; all of New Orleans and Warren Church, Lake Charles. He also served as District Superintendent of the New Orleans District and following retirement, as Superintendent of Gulfside Assembly, Waveland, Mississippi. Dr. Handy always had a special affinity for his nine-year pastorate of the Mount Zion United Methodist Church. He was quite proud of its growth under his leadership and the innovative programs which began under his tenure.
While serving in New Orleans, he led in the participation and involvement of Blacks in the Community Chest (now United Way) and was instrumental in the organization of the New Orleans Urban League. He was the first president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance.
He was a member of the Uniting Conference in 1939, in which the Methodist Protestant Church, Methodist Episcopal Church, South and Methodist Episcopal Church united to become The Methodist Church. He also served on many boards and agencies of the Church including the General Commission on World Service and Finance (now General Council on Finance and Administration) .
Dr. Handy departed this life Tuesday, February 1, 1983. Funeral services were held Friday, February 4, 1983, at the Mount Zion United Methodist Church, New Orleans. Bishop J. Kenneth Shamblin delivered the eulogy.
He leaves a devoted wife and three children. Also surviving are a brother, Alonzo Handy, a daughter-in-law, Ruth R. Handy, a son-in-law, Calvin M. Miller and four sisters-in-law: Mrs. T. J. Handy, Mrs. L. Z. Handy, Mrs. Lurenza Handy and Mrs. Alma U. Hedrick. Also surviving are seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Longfellow wrote these lines which make an appropriate statement about Dr. Handy:

Were a star quenched on high,
For ages would its light,
Still traveling downward from the sky,
Shine on our mortal sight.

And so when a great man dies,
For years beyond our ken
The light he leaves behind him lies
Upon the paths of men.

Source: Journal Louisiana Conference UMC 1983, Page 188, 189 - By Alfred L. Norris

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