Southwest Florida's Bishop Hargrave Dies Suddenly

Diocesan Press Service. November 7, 1975 [75387]

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Rt. Rev. William Loftin Hargrave, First Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida, died suddenly of an apparent heart attack Wednesday morning, October 15 at his new home in Cocoa, Florida. He retired as Diocesan Bishop on July 31, 1975 and was expected to attend a Diocesan Banquet in his honor on October 28.

Born in 1903 in Wilson, North Carolina, ordained Deacon in 1931 and Priest in 1932 by Bishop Wing of the Diocese of South Florida. He was consecrated Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of South Florida in 1961. In 1969 he was elected Bishop of the new Diocese of Southwest Florida and served as Diocesan for five years.

He served churches in South Florida and South Carolina 1932-53 and was chaplain and president of Porter Military Academy, Charleston, South Carolina, 1948-1953. He was Canon to the Ordinary, Actuary and Executive Secretary of the Diocese of South Florida 1953-1961.

Under Bishop Hargrave's leadership the Diocese of Southwest Florida has grown to include 65 churches, 120 clergy and over 27,000 communicants. He established strong programs of evangelism, ecumenism, pastoral counseling, Christian education and college chaplaincy.

In addition to his wife, the former Minnie Whittington, Bishop Hargrave leaves a son, William III, of Tallahassee, Fla., and three daughters, Mrs. Frances McPhee, Miami, Fla., Mrs. Elizabeth Rincones, Plattsburg, New York, and Mrs. Sarah Henry, Linwood, New Jersey, and five grandchildren.

A simultaneous Burial Office and Requiem was held at St. Mark's, Cocoa and St. Peter's Cathedral, St. Petersburg, on Saturday, October 18. Interment was at Courtney Cemetery, Merrett Island, Fla. Bishop Paul Haynes of Southwest Florida was celebrant at St. Peter's and Presiding Bishop John M. Allin at Cocoa.

Memorials may be sent to: Bishop Crane Gray Inn, Davenport, Florida, or Diocese of Southwest Florida, St. Petersburg.