Former Congressman Louis Stokes
Aug. 19, 2015: CHOF Ministry confirms early this morning that former Congressman Louis Stokes died at the age of 90. He died with his wife of 55 years by his side.
CHOF Ministry’s Bishop, Dr. W. F. Houston, Jr. via WKYC’s Chris Tye takes a look back at Former Congressman’s Stoke’s legacy.
Former Congressman’s Stoke’s family released the following statement early Wednesday morning:
Our family is mourning the loss of our husband, father, grandfather and close confidant. He died peacefully with Jay, his wife of 55 years, at his side. During his illness, he confronted it as he did life — with bravery and strength. He was always guided by faith, while embracing the prayers and well wishes of family, friends and constituents. We are grateful for the cards, prayers and words of comfort during this difficult time. He loved Cleveland and was honored to have the opportunity to represent its citizens in the United States Congress. He was equally committed to our family, and his love knew no bounds. It is this enduring love that will sustain us in the days and years to come.
Plans for a funeral service and public tribute are expected to be announced soon.
It was only back on July 20 that his media representative released a statement that Stokes, who served the 21st and 11th Districts of Ohio for 30 years, had recently been diagnosed with lung and brain cancer.
Here’s the statement about his cancer diagnosis:
He is fortunate to have the availability and treatment of excellent health care from the world renowned staff and doctors of one of the top medical centers, the Cleveland Clinic.
The congressman recently said, “For years, I’ve made it my career in fighting for the people of Ohio, but now I must devote my time and energy to working with my doctors in this current health challenge which my family and I are totally immersed.” In February 2015, the Congressman turned 90 years of age and recently completed his autobiography documenting his illustrious legal and political career where he was often a champion in the civil rights movement.Congressman Stokes expresses his utmost appreciation to the public for the privacy they have extended to him and his family as they engage in this fight.
On Nov. 6, 1968, Louis Stokes was elected to Congress on his first bid for public office. Stokes, who became the first African-American member of Congress from the state of Ohio, served 15 consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. In January, Ohio Gov. John Kasich appointed him as one of 18 members to the Community-Police Relations task force that will provide ideas to build relationships between police and their communities. In February, he celebrated his 90th birthday.
He was educated in the Cleveland Public Schools, graduating from Central High School. Following three years of service in the U.S. Army, Stokes returned to Cleveland and attended Western Reserve University. He earned his doctor of laws degree from Cleveland-Marshall law school in 1953. Stokes practiced law for 14 years before serving in Congress.As a practicing lawyer, he participated in three cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, including arguing the landmark “stop and frisk” case of Terry v. Ohio. He played a pivotal role in the quest for social and economic justice, civil rights and equality throughout his career.
Stokes received several awards and honors, recognizing his national leadership and commitment to public service.
A number of landmarks in the city of Cleveland and nationally have been named in his honor, including the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Administration Hospital, the Louis Stokes Annex of the Cleveland Public Library, the Louis Stokes Health Sciences Center at Case Western Reserve University and buildings at Wilberforce University and Central State University, both in Wilberforce, Ohio, Howard University in Washington, D.C., and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.
Stokes was the recipient of 27 honorary doctorate degrees. He received the Congressional Distinguished Service Award in 2003, becoming the first African-American to earn this honor.
He was honored by the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession with a 2010 Spirit of Excellence Award for his dedication to expanding opportunity in the legal profession to all minorities.
In 2011, he was inducted into the International Walk of Fame at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta.
Stokes served on the advisory board to the International Spy Museum, the board of the Western Reserve Historical Society, the board of directors of Forest City Enterprises Inc. and the board of directors of the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.
In 2006, he served on the National Science Board’s Commission on 21st Century Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.