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Rev. Jose Roman, leader in Puerto Rican, Pentecostal communities

Feb. 12, 1928 – July 24, 2013

Rev. Jose A. Roman, an influential figure in the local Puerto Rican and Pentecostal communities, died Wednesday. He was 85.

Born into a family of 12 children in Las Piedras, Puerto Rico, Mr. Roman came to Buffalo in 1969. Here, his ministry as a religious leader extended to many Hispanic congregations within the Pentecostal faith. Along with his wife, Emilia, also an ordained minister, he was pastor of Iglesia Cristiana Bethel on the city’s West Side.

Mr. Roman affiliated with the Council of Assembly and Christian Churches to help establish churches across New York State and as far away as Toronto.

His ministry extended well beyond the four walls of the churches he led. Upon arriving in Western New York, he worked to establish Christian radio programming on WDCX and opened the area’s first Spanish Christian bookstore.

Mr. Roman also served in a variety of secular roles. He was a school aide at Grover Cleveland High School and worked for the state Employment Office.

He was also a founding member of the West Side branch of the Community Action Organization.

Despite his limited English, Mr. Roman succeeded in obtaining his real estate license and went on to help establish New Hope Real Estate, an organization that serves Hispanic first-time homeowners in the city.

Mr. Roman’s seven children were among his greatest joys in life. Many of them followed in his footsteps, becoming ministers or leaders in their communities.

In 2010, his daughter the Rev. Delia Knox regained her ability to walk 22 years after a car accident en route to a mission trip in Canada left her using a wheelchair.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Jose Jr.; six daughters, Dr. MervinCapeles, Dmaris Crespo, the Rev. Enid Mojica-McGinnis, the Rev. Delia Knox, Yvette and Dr. Persida Himmele; and a sister, Maria Rodriguez.

Services will be offered at 1 p.m. today in Destiny Church, 172 15th St.

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