Richard L. Marquess-Barry, an Episcopal priest and educator, died in Miami Florida, late last month after a long illness. He was 79 years old.
Rev. Marquess-Barry, the son of immigrants from the Bahamas, was born and raised in Miami. While a student at Miami Northwestern Senior High School, he worked for the city as a garbage collector in the early morning hours and as a dishwasher for a local restaurant after school. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree at what is now St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina. He turned down a scholarship to the law school at Howard University to be with his wife who was a graduate student at the University of Virginia.
In 1965 Marquess-Barry entered the Virginia Episcopal Theological Seminary. He was the only Black student enrolled at the seminary at that time. He earned a master of divinity degree in 1968. He later continued graduate studies at American University in Washington, D.C. and Emory University in Atlanta.
In 1977, Rev. Marquess-Barry was appointed to lead Saint Agnes Episcopal Church, the largest and oldest Episcopal congregation for persons of color in Miami. He retired in 2012. Rev. Marquess-Barry also taught in the public schools and as an instructor at Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida, and at the Interdenominational Theological Seminary in Atlanta.
In 2014, a U.S. Post Office building in Miami was named in his honor.