The Rt. Rev. Whayne M. Hougland, Jr., ninth Bishop of Western Michigan, writes about the death of the diocese’s sixth bishop at age 83:

Yesterday evening, I received news that Howard Samuel Meeks, VI Bishop of the Diocese of Western Michigan, died on May 13, 2016, in Winter Garden, Florida. A memorial service for family and friends will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 18, 2016, at Living Bread Christian Fellowship Church, 1801 S. Orlando Ave., Cocoa Beach, FL.

Condolences to the family may be sent in care of H. Samuel Meeks III at P.O. Box 600, Lompoc, CA 93438. Those wishing to make a contribution in Howard’s memory are asked to consider Vitas Hospice or another hospice provider of your choice.

Bishop Meeks is survived by three children: Howard Samuel Meeks III (Kathleen Brenna) of Lompoc, California; John Robert Meeks (Christina Osburn) of Williamsburg, Virginia; and Sarah Elizabeth Meeks of Cocoa Beach, Florida. He is also survived by grandchildren, Alexander and Katherine Meeks. He will be inurned at Arlington National Cemetery with his wife, Anne, who died on October 11, 2005.

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Please join me in offering prayers for Howard and his family. Rest eternal grant to him, O Lord; and let light perpetual shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Born in Upland, Pennsylvania, Howard Meeks was a graduate of Pennsylvania Military College and Philadelphia Divinity School. He was ordained deacon and priest in 1964. He served parishes in Delaware, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania before his election as bishop coadjutor in 1984. He became Bishop of Western Michigan later that year upon the retirement of Charles E. Bennison. He resigned in January 1988, and during the early 1990s was a representative of Food for the Poor.

“During his tenure the first woman priest was called to a parish, and congregations were encouraged to study and use inclusive language in worship,” said a profile that the Diocese of Western Michigan published in 2012. “Bishop Meeks emphasized spiritual renewal programs during his tenure and worked at establishing and supporting Cursillo here.”

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