Sam B. Hulsey, III Bishop of NW Texas, 1932-2020

The Rt. Rev. Sam B. Hulsey | Photo: Diocese of Northwest Texas

By Kirk Petersen

The Rt. Rev. Sam B. Hulsey, the former long-time Bishop of Northwest Texas, succumbed to cancer August 6, according to the diocese. He was 88.

After leading the Lubbock-based diocese as its III bishop from 1980 to 1997, Bishop Hulsey moved back in retirement to Fort Worth, the city of his birth, and since 2016 served there as assisting bishop.

In the Diocese of Fort Worth, he is remembered as a steadying force in a turbulent time:

In the early 2000s he was a true pastor to those Fort Worth Episcopalians seeking to remain in The Episcopal Church when the diocesan leadership was threatening to leave. After the bishop and other diocesan leaders left the Episcopal Church in late 2008, Hulsey continued his spiritual guidance of those who were rebuilding the diocese.

“His ability to remember names, his personal handwritten notes, and his sincere interest in people’s lives are nothing less than legendary,” said the Rt. Rev. Scott Mayer, who serves as both Bishop of Northwest Texas and Provisional Bishop of Fort Worth.  “He was one of those rare people whose guidance and decisions changed the course of people’s lives — certainly mine included.  And that puts me in a very large club.”

Before his election as bishop, he received his master’s in divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1958, and served parishes in three Texas towns and in Nashville, Tennessee.

Bishop Hulsey’s long leadership in the Church was honored in 2015 with an endowed chair in the divinity school at Texas Christian University, the Right Reverend Sam B. Hulsey Chair in Episcopal Studies. The Diocese of Northwest Texas is headquartered in the Sam Byron Hulsey Episcopal Center.

His name was Sam, not Samuel, as his longtime secretary Carolyn Hearn spent many years explaining.

Bishop Hulsey’s first wife, Linda, died in 2001 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He is survived by his second wife, Isabelle; by two children from his first marriage, Ashley and Byron; and by numerous stepchildren, grandchildren and step-grandchildren. “A memorial service will be held when it is safer to gather,” the diocesan announcement said.


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