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Bishop Milton A. Williams Sr. June 28, 1938 -- Dec. 3, 2005

Services for Bishop Milton A. Williams Sr., a former community and spiritual leader in Buffalo, will be held Saturday in Salisbury, N.C.

Bishop Williams died Saturday at home in Belleville, Ill. He was 67.

Born in Mocksville, N.C., he was a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church from birth. He graduated from Livingstone College and earned a master of divinity degree from Hood Theological Seminary.

He came to Buffalo in 1965, serving as pastor of Durham Memorial AME Zion Church until 1970, then founded Shaw Memorial AME Zion Church in 1970 and served as its pastor until 1981.

Very active in community affairs, Bishop Williams was 28 when he was elected to the first of three terms as president of the Buffalo branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

In the summer of 1967, when the city was rocked with riots, threatening phone calls preceded an arson attack on his Kingsley Street home; he suffered a broken arm and burned hand while fleeing through a window.

Bishop Williams also was a former president of Community Action Organization of Erie County and a former director of community youth services of the Buffalo Area Council of Churches. He also had served as a director for the National Council of Christians and Jews, the Girl Scout Council of Erie County and the Black Business Development Corp.

He was named Man of the Year in 1968 by the Business and Professional Women's Club of Buffalo.

While in Buffalo, he was presiding elder of the Rochester-Syracuse-Buffalo District of the AME Zion Church and later served as prelate of the 12th Episcopal District. At the time of his death, he was presiding bishop of the Mid-West Episcopal District.

Survivors include his wife, the Rev. Lula G.; a son, the Rev. Milton A. Jr. of Charlotte, N.C.; three daughters, Angela Russell of Bowie, Md., Millicent Thomas of Washington, D.C., and Cynthia Harris of Detroit; two sisters, Julia Banks of Greensboro, N.C., and Brenda White of Kernersville, N.C.; a brother, Barry of Kernersville; and seven grandchildren.


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