Steeple Archives

Steeple Archives

Click here to see the current issue of the Fort Street Steeple.

Click, below, to see an archived copy in PDF format.


Message from the Pastor
Message from Open Door
Donlin Center Class Schedule
Donlin Center Happenings
Organ Restoration
Welcome New Elders
Welcome New Deacons + Deacon’s Report

In Loving Memory

Leon Robert Brown July 25, 1925 – January 23, 2014

Bob was born in Chicago, Illinois, the first child of Leon Rex Brown and Belle Avondale Brown (nee Shute). Later he became big brother to his twin sisters, Evelyn and Betty, now deceased. His other siblings included Myrtle, George, and Muriel.

After high school at “God’s Bible School” in Cincinnati, Ohio, Bob served his country as an infantryman in World War II, receiving the Purple Heart. He then worked as a spot welder and auto technician for General Motors until his retirement.

Bob married Jean Forsythe. Jean preceded him in death and they had no children. Both Bob and Jean loved to serve the Lord by attending Fort Street Pres- byterian Church and being actively involved in the Open Door program.

Traveling, walking, collecting classical and Christian music records and saving and investing money were his major hobbies. After Jean’s death Bob would fly to Florida to visit family during the winter months. In the summer the family would get together in Sau- gatuck on the Fourth of July. After he was no longer able to drive, Bob would take the train from Dearborn.

Bob was famous for his loud sneezes. They would have the house shaking and scare the bejeebers out of a person. He loved to talk to people and enjoyed a good joke, but at the top of his “love list” were desserts, which he usually selected before his meal!

Bob moved into Henry Ford Village after his retirement, first in his own beautiful apartment, then to assisted living after he suffered a stroke, and finally into nursing care. On January 23 at the age of eighty-eight, Bob was taken by the Lord into his care.

May peace and eternal rest be his.

Virgil Lee Jones, Jr. September 27, 1926 – December 5, 2013

Virgil was born in Detroit, the only son of Virgil Lee Jones and Beatrice DeLoach Jones. As a young man, Virgil played basketball and was a competitive table tennis player. He attended Cass Technical High School (Class of 1944) and the University of Michigan. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Wayne State University and a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. From 1954 to 1957 he served as Assistant Minister of the St. James Presbyterian Church and Director of the St. James Community House in Harlem, New York. He left New York for post-graduate studies at Oxford University. Upon returning from Eng- land, Virgil became Interim Minister of St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Detroit.

In 1960 Virgil was appointed University Minister of the United Campus Christian Ministry at Wayne State University. In 1962 he married Janet Webster. They had two daughters, Hilary Janet Jones and Alyson Nancy Jones. From 1966 to 1967 he served as a Merrill Fellow of the Harvard University School of Divinity.

Upon returning to Detroit, Virgil continued his campus ministry and also taught philosophy in Wayne’s Honors Program and theology at McCormick Theological Semi- nary in Chicago. Virgil served the Detroit Presbytery as moderator in 1970 and was active on many committees at the Presbytery, Synod, and General Assembly level of the Presbyterian Church USA. He was especially proud of his work as a task force member for the General Assembly on the Study of Homosexuality (1976-78) and for the Synod of the Covenant on the Church in the World of the Future. As the first presi- dent of the Detroit Chapter of Black Presbyterians United, Virgil was a committed churchman who worked for racial, economic, and social justice.

Virgil had a distinguished career as a campus minis- ter until his retirement from Wayne State in 1994. During retirement Virgil married Geraldine Adams, and they began attending Fort Street Presbyterian Church. They enjoyed going to the theater and travel- ing together.

In recognition of his ministerial accomplishments, Alma College bestowed upon him an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.

Well done, good and faithful servant, well done.

Lucille Strotter April 21, 1915 – November 26, 2013

Lucille Strotter was every inch a lady of style. Tall and slender, she was a veritable fashion plate in her day, known for her stunning wide-brim hats, How- ever, first impressions belied her feistiness, her strength of character, and the iron will that made her one of Martin Luther King Jr’s most devoted followers.

Lucille was with King in Washington, D.C., standing on the same balcony when he gave his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. She was in the lobby be- low when he was assassinated in Memphis, Ten- nessee, on April 4, 1968. She was among the many thousands who marched and protested with King, even going to jail with him some nine times.

Blamed for the death of her mother, who died soon after she was born, Lucille had an unhappy child- hood, She had one brother and one sister, both of whom she outlived. After her marriage, her mother- in-law made her life miserable, and she and her husband finally moved to Detroit, where she be- came a successful milliner. She never had any chil- dren, but she did have many friends.

During the 1970s, after her husband died, she became a regular at Fort Street, along with her friend Ella Minter. She lived in the Himelhoch Apartments on Woodward Avenue, where the church bus picked her up regularly. On her 88th birthday, she treated her three best Fort Street friends, Marilyn Moore, Bob Ponder, and Motoko Huthwaite, to a bountiful soul food dinner of fried chicken, chittlins, beans, hominy and grits, corn bread, salad, and sweet potato pie.

As Lucille became less able to leave her home, Marilyn Winslow and Motoko visited her often and took her favorite foods: White Castle sliders, buttermilk, Pepsi Cola, sweet gherkin pickles, Jiffy peanut butter, Colby cheese, hot dogs, buns, and saltines, in addition to Marilyn’s homemade cookies and soup.

None of us whose lives Lucille Strotter touched will ever forget her. The very embodiment of the Civil Rights movement, she epitomized the ongoing struggle for social justice, racial equality, and the values of our founding fathers for all.