Longtime American Baptist, Social Advocate Louise McKinney Dies

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Longtime American Baptist, Social Advocate Louise McKinney Dies

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 8/21/12)—Longtime social advocate, educator and philanthropist Louise McKinney, 82, died on Wednesday, August 15, of complications from a previous fall. As wife of the Rev. Dr. Samuel Berry McKinney, pastor emeritus of Mount Zion Baptist Church, Seattle, she was known as the church’s first lady for 40 years. 
She was director of academic achievement for Seattle Public Schools before retiring in 1994. Before that, she was a principal and teacher at various schools in the district.

Passionate about equality and diversity, she served on the boards of various nonprofit organizations, including ACT Theatre and Bailey-Boushay House, both in Seattle. She was a charter member of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, a national social justice network. Through Mount Zion, she established a scholarship program for African-American youth.

“We are saddened to hear of the passing of Mrs. Louise McKinney. Even at 82 years old, it was too soon for those of us who considered ourselves ‘sons’ and ‘daughters,’” says Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III, executive director of American Baptist Home Mission Societies. “She lived all of her life making a track to the water’s edge for the generations who followed her and Dr. Samuel Berry McKinney to see their way to our own promised lands. She was a courageous and outspoken woman who will be missed.”   

She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, where she graduated from Case Western Reserve University.

In addition to her husband, to whom she was married for 59 years, she is survived by daughters, Rhoda McKinney-Jones, wife of Sam Henry Jones Jr. of Doylestown, Pa., and Lora-Ellen McKinney of Renton, Wash.; brother, John (“Sonny”) Jones Jr. of Cleveland; and grandson, Kent McKinney Jones.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 31, at Mount Zion Baptist Church, 1634 19th Ave., Seattle.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies—the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA)—ministers as the caring heart and serving hands of Jesus Christ across the United States and Puerto Rico through a multitude of initiatives that focus on discipleship, community and justice.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with 5,500 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.