Former US Rep. Gray, longtime Philly pastor, dies

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A family spokesman says former U.S. Rep. William H. Gray III, who rose to influential positions in Congress while remaining pastor of his north Philadelphia church for 3 decades, has died. He was 71.

Former aide William Epstein said Gray passed away suddenly on Monday while in London with one of his sons to attend the Wimbledon tennis championships.

Gray was elected as a Democrat to Congress in 1978 and served as budget committee chairman and majority whip.

In 1991, he resigned to run the United Negro College Fund. In 1994, President Bill Clinton named him special adviser on Haiti.

Gray succeeded his father as pastor of Bright Hope Baptist Church in 1972 and held that position until 2007.

Mayor Michael Nutter has ordered flags at all city buildings to fly at half-staff.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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