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Instrumental Columbus reverend and citizen advocate remembered for his many contributions

Rev. Leon Troy
Rev. Leon Troy

Long-time pastor and community leader, Rev. Leon Troy is being remembered for his contributions to make Columbus a better place for all. Troy died last week at the age of 97.

Troy had moved from Warren, Ohio to Columbus with his family in 1976 to become pastor of Second Baptist Church on Columbus' Near East Side.

One of his five sons, Eric, said his father showed them how to serve others.

"It was amazing because we would get in the back of that semi-truck and start pulling out those potatoes to give them out to the community,” said Eric Troy. “I knew then that dad was different, he goes way beyond and went beyond the pulpit."

Leon Troy also served under Columbus Mayor Dana "Buck" Rinehart's administration in the 1980s. It was an unpaid position as a special assistant to the mayor.

"He had a passion enough for people that he wanted to make sure it wasn't about him being paid. It was about serving other people in the community,” said Eric Troy. “So, he enjoyed that."

In 1996, he was appointed to the Columbus Board of Education for a one-year term.

"Serving on the Columbus City School Board Education area during that time, dad was a huge advocate of desegregation that took place and made sure the quality of education as important for all,” Eric Troy said.

Eric Troy said he and his brothers all make their own contributions toward helping others to carry on their father’s legacy. An older brother, Keith, also became a pastor and leads New Salem Baptist Church on Cleveland Avenue.

"He would always say love will always conquer hate, and so dad was that advocate of if there isn't love somewhere in the community, let's create it and let's make sure that the community and people know that they're loved,” Eric Troy said. “He used his faith-based platform. He used his work in education, his work in city government."

The lessons, Rev. Troy taught his sons, Eric Troy said will always be part of their lives.

“I've been taught to serve every day, every opportunity that I get in to make sure it is not about me,” Eric Troy said. “That's something I want to pride myself on, is to stay humble in the work that I'm doing and always make it about others.”

Rev. Leon Troy was inducted into the Columbus Hall of Fame in 2020, and the Lincoln Theater Walk of Fame in 2023.

Funeral services will be held at New Salem Baptist Church Tuesday at noon.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.