Bishop Lyman Ogilby, 'One of the Great Missionary Bishops of the Church,' Dead at 68

Episcopal News Service. November 8, 1990 [90294]

When Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning announced the death of Bishop Lyman Ogilby at the recent Executive Council meeting in New York, he called him "one of the great missionary bishops of the church." Ogilby died at a hospital in Spokane, Washington, November 3, after attending a consecration. He was 68 years old.

Born in Connecticut and educated at Hamilton College, Ogilby served with the U.S. Navy in the Pacific before attending Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He graduated and was ordained a deacon in 1949 and a priest the following year.

Ogilby's ministry began as a chaplain and teacher at the Brent School in the Philippines. He was elected suffragan bishop of the Philippines in 1952 and bishop in 1957. He resigned in 1967 to make way for the first Filipino bishop.

He left the Philippines to become bishop coadjutor of the Missionary District of South Dakota and became bishop in 1970 -- but resigned later that year so the district could elect its own bishop.

In 1971 he was appointed assistant bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania and was elected coadjutor in 1973 and became diocesan bishop in 1974, serving until his retirement in 1987.

Despite his failing health, Ogilby assisted with episcopal visitations in the dioceses of Western Michigan, Bethlehem (PA), Maryland, and Washington (D.C.).

Bishop Barbara Harris of Massachusetts, who was ordained to the priesthood and episcopate by Ogilby, said that "the church has lost one of the strongest voices for justice and compassion. He was a warm, loving human being with a tremendous zest for life. The joy he expressed in his ministry was contagious."

During Executive Council, Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning paid tribute to his friend's tenacity, describing Ogilby's participation in the Spokane consecration even though he required oxygen. "Lyman was also the only member of the House of Bishops who never needed a microphone," Browning added in noting that Ogilby was famous for his booming voice and strong opinions.

The Ogilby family released a statement after the bishop's death: "Just before his death, Lyman Ogilby reminded us that God needs helpers to carry out his mission and that we are the feet and hands of the cosmic Christ. We are needed to work for justice and peace. We ask that you remember this as you celebrate his life. This living memorial will be as diverse as the people who have been touched by Lyman Ogilby. Let your contribution to this mission reflect your abilities and talents."