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The Rev. Dr. Irvin Moxley is dead at age 87

Moxley, who gave more than 60 years of service to the denomination and the community, was the second African American to graduate from Louisville Seminary

by Gail Strange | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Dr. Irvin Moxley

LOUISVILLE — The Rev. Dr. Irvin (Irv) Moxley, the second African American student to graduate from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, died on Oct. 26 at the age of 87.

A celebration of life service is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday at the Broad Street Presbyterian Church, 760 E. Broad Street in Columbus, Oho. Visitation will be held from 2:30 p.m. through 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time Friday at the church.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Moxley attended the famed Central High School and earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville in 1955. In May 1959, he earned a Master of Divinity from Louisville Seminary. His thirst for education led him to graduate studies in sociology and later a Doctor of Ministry degree from LPTS. As a Howard Thurman scholar, he spent many years leading workshops and retreats and deliberating Thurman’s teachings.

He was ordained by the Presbyterian Church and was co-founder and the organizing minister of Peace Presbyterian Church, executive director of historic Presbyterian Community Center, associate director of Ethnic and Church Affairs for the Synod of the Covenant, and associate pastor at Fairmont Presbyterian Church in Kettering, Ohio. After retirement, Moxley served in many roles within the Presbytery of Scioto Valley, Bethany Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Ohio, Brookwood Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Eastminster Presbyterian Church, Fairmoor Presbyterian Church in Columbus and Shady Lane Presbyterian Church in Columbus.

“Irvin Moxley was a man with a really good heart and spirit, with a deep love for his denomination,” said the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). “He was as steady as they come and solely focused on community and a love of people. His presence will be greatly missed by the congregations and communities he served.”

Moxley’s community involvement extended well beyond the walls of the church. His efforts were honored by the many awards, acknowledgements, and accolades he received in recognition of his engagement with Boy Scouts of America as an Eagle Scout; Alpha Omicron Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi; the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville, where he received a service award in field instruction; the Howard Thurman Award; the General Assembly Council Service Award; and a lifetime membership in NAACP.

Additionally, he was recognized by The Cabinet on Ethnic Church Affairs and by the Synod of Covenant for lifetime work on the vision to develop leadership skills in ethnic people. Moxley was a recipient of the 2020 Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary Faithful Steward Award and the 1997 Distinguished Alumnus Award. Watch Moxley receive his Faithful Steward Award here.

“Dr. Moxley was a prominent leader among Black Presbyterians who gave more than 60 years of service to the denomination and the community,” said the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. “He was a man of purpose and vision and blazed a trail for so many other African American Presbyterians.

“While Rev. Moxley was a man of many accomplishments, I will remember him most for his work and studies for Black liberation and social justice,” Moffett said. “This is truly a great loss for the denomination and the community.”

“Irvin was an important African American minister in the denomination,” said the Rev. Dr. Rhashell Hunter, the former director of the Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. “I met him at a conference named for him — the Irvin Moxley African American Pastoral Care Conference (Synod of the Covenant) — held at Quaker Hill Conference Center in Richmond, Indiana, many years ago, when I was a young pastor. Quaker Hill has a collection of Howard Thurman’s papers, and Irv was a Thurman scholar.” Hunter extended her “thoughts and prayers for God’s comfort for his family at this time.”

In remembrance of Moxley’s life, the family requests that charitable donations be made to the Westminster-Moxley Scholarship at Louisville Seminary. Online gifts can be made here. Or one can mail a check to Louisville Seminary, 1044 Alta Vista Road, Louisville, KY 40205. Please indicate your donation is for the “Moxley Scholarship.” This scholarship fund was established in 1996 by the Presbytery of Transylvania to honor the former Westminster Presbyterian Church, an African American congregation, and to honor Moxley. The scholarship supports African American students who are pursuing a career in parish ministry.

Moxley is survived by his wife of 66 years, Rubee Haines Dreher Moxley; daughter Helen Oyer (Mike), daughter Lori Moxley Yoho (Tim deceased), granddaughters Suzan M. Badawi (Evan), Rachael Paige Yoho, grandsons Stewart Aretus Yoho, Brandon Michael Yoho, great-grands Rubee Grace and Bronson James Williams. sister-in-law Sandra (Melvin deceased), 11 nieces, eight nephews, two sisters-in-law, one brother-in-law, and several grand nieces, nephews, and cousins.

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