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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Prominent Black pastor dies at 87

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Rev. Fitzhugh Lyons Sr. died May 27.

Lyons was pastor emeritus at Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, where he began preaching in 1981. He retired from Galilee in 2019 after 50 years of preaching and teaching.

Lyons was a mentor for many, including Kenneth Allen and Dr. Michael Bluitt.

“He was a legend in his own right,” said Allen, an Indianapolis Public Schools board member. “Chicago had Jesse Jackson, Atlanta had Martin Luther King, Indianapolis had Fitzhugh Lyons.”

Lyons was the former president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (IMA) where he served as president for 20 years. City-county councilman Monroe Gray honored Fitzhugh with a proclamation Aug. 7, 2005, naming the day Rev. Fitzhugh Lyons Sr. Day, according to Recorder archives.

“He was like a dad and a brother to me,” said Bluitt, Lyons general secretary at IMA.

As Bluitt and Lyons worked closely together, they also had a good friendship.

One of Dr. Bluitt’s favorite memories was celebrating Lyons’ 74th birthday. For a long time Bluitt wanted Lyons to go boating with him, however, Lyons was afraid of water. They celebrated Lyons’ birthday with dinner at Bella Vita Lakeside Grille on Geist Reservoir. After dinner, Lyons got on Bluitt’s boat, and they stayed on the boat well throughout the night.

Lyons also was pivotal in the establishment of Eskenazi Hospital. According to Bluitt, Lyons led a campaign which assembled people to vote for the hospital’s construction.

“I just want to help somebody,” Bluitt said Lyons repeated many times.

Although he retired, Lyons continued to be a community servant and leader. IMA will honor Lyons by naming its monthly breakfast meeting after him.

“We rejoice because he is now in heaven with his savior, who he preached about for over 50 years,” Allen said.


Contact staff writers Terrence Lambert and Abriana Herron at 317-924-5243. Follow them on Twitter @_TerrenceL_ and @Abri_onyai

Services for Rev. Fitzhugh L. Lyons, Sr.

Viewing will be noon-7 p.m. June 11 and 9-11 a.m. June 12. Homegoing service will be 11 a.m.  June 12 at Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, 2624 E. 25th St.

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