Myrtle Carr April 18, 1920 – September 23rd, 2022
Myrtle Carr passed away on September 23rd, 2022, at the age of 102.
On October 9th at 10am, at St. Philip the Deacon Episcopal Church (120 NE Knott St.), the Sunday Eucharist will be offered in memory of Myrtle Carr. A light repast will be held at St. Philip the Deacon after the service.
Long time parishioner Myrtle Carr started attending St. Philip Episcopal Mission during the late 1940s. She was confirmed in the Episcopal Church by the Rt. Rev. Benjamin Dagwell, Bishop of Oregon, in 1950. She immersed herself in the activities of the mission and became one of the founding members of St. Monica’s Guild, a service organization started by the younger women of the parish to raise funds and assist in planning activities for middle and high school aged students. Myrtle was active as a community organizer and activist from her earliest years in Portland. She started to volunteer for the Urban League of Portland in the early 1950s, was hired, and worked there for over thirty-six years. Upon her retirement, she continued her activism in the community through work on voter registration drives and political campaigns, most recently on the presidential campaigns of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama.
You may read more about her life at the Black United Front Oral History Project, and reflection below.
Myrtle Carr collecting funds for the United Fund, Urban League of Portland, c.1955.
Reflection from Michael “Chappie” Grice
Myrtle Carr was a “Lady” in the greatest sense of the word…a woman of distinction. In just a few minutes of conversation, you would discover that she was as compassionate as she was intelligent. She was as socially conscious as she was a scholar in civil rights history and law. In a word, she was “Sharp.” Myrtle Carr served as executive secretary for two legendary directors of the Urban League of Portland: Bill Berry and E.Shelton Hill. Both made historic and permanent changes in the landscape of employment opportunities in a racially insensitive Portland of the 1950s and 1960s.
Her combination of skills, experience, and foresight informed the decision-making at the executive level. Her friends valued her wisdom just as much as her gracious manner. Her esteemed and widely recognized servant leadership gained the respect of her peers as much as her bosses. She was a vital cog in the wheel of St. Philip the Deacon Episcopal Parish, the only African American Episcopal church in Oregon. Her service with St. Monica’s Guild created a precursor of the social services model that is a cornerstone for that church today. St. Monica’s always was “in the mix” of events that took place in the Parish Hall at St. Philip’s, and especially coming out of the kitchen. Socially, Myrtle Carr was an integral part of a women’s gathering that named themselves the “Social Odd Balls,” ushering in the new year, every year for fifty years, with homemade fashions and distinguished guests.
Myrtle Carr lived a full and rewarding life as a follower of Christ and worked alongside the longtime rector of St. Philip, The Rev. Lee Owen Stone. By the end of her 102 years, her demonstrated commitment, in service and genuine friendship, made her a saint amid a great cloud of witnesses.
Let Us Pray
Compassionate God, your ways are beyond our understanding, and your love for those whom you create is greater by far than ours; comfort all who grieve. Give them the faith to endure the wilderness of bereavement and bring them in the fullness of time to share in the light and joy of your eternal presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
To the gates of Paradise, Lead your child home.
To your mercy-seat, Lead your child home.
To the kingdom of heaven, Lead your child home.
To your true sanctuary, Lead your child home.
To the multitude of the blessed, Lead your child home.
To the welcome-table, Lead your child home.
To the nuptial chamber, Lead your child home.
To the New Jerusalem, Lead your child home.
To eternal bliss, Lead your child home.
To the company of the saints, Lead your child home.
To the Supper of the Lamb, Lead your child home.
To the garden of delight, Lead your child home.
To the throne of majesty, Lead your child home.
To the lights of glory, Lead your child home.
To the Canaan-ground, Lead your child home.
To the highest heights, Lead your child home.
To the crown of glory, Lead your child home.
To the land of rest, Lead your child home.
To Jordan’s other shore, Lead your child home.
To the Holy City, the Bride, Lead your child home.
To the safe harbor, Lead your child home.
To the fount of life, Lead your child home.
To the gates of pearl, Lead your child home.
To the ladder of angels, Lead your child home.
To the land of milk and honey, Lead your child home.
To the clouds of glory, Lead your child home.
To the refreshing stream, Lead your child home.
To the reward of the righteous, Lead your child home.
To the dwelling-place of God, Lead your child home.
-Enriching Our Worship 2, pp 111-113 and 136
Blessings and Peace,