The Rev. Howard Emory Anderson Sr., 80, a retired Methodist minister who was a leader in efforts to end segregation of the former all-black Methodist Delaware Conference during his more than 20 years as a minister on the Eastern Shore, died of cancer Monday at the Herman M. Wilson Health Center at Asbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg.
Mr. Anderson was a minister and official with the Delaware Conference, one of the strongest all-black conferences in the Methodist Church's formerly all-black Central Jurisdiction, from 1938 until 1963, when he transferred to the then newly created Southern New Jersey Conference.
The Delaware Conference included nine Maryland counties, part of Virginia on the Eastern Shore, the states of Delaware and New Jersey, New York City and Philadelphia, before its merger in 1964 with a previously all-white jurisdiction. Mr. Anderson had played an active role within the church to merge previously all-black and all-white conferences.
He served as the conference's district director of youth and was pastor of churches in Easton, Oriole, Fruitland, Salisbury and Chestertown, Md., and in Wattsville and Lee Mont, Va., on the Eastern Shore, and was credited with renovating and helping to pay off the mortgages of several of the churches.
Besides his work with the church, which is now the United Methodist Church, Mr. Anderson was a founder in 1944 of a branch of the NAACP in Accomack County, Va., and was instrumental in the integration of public schools in Easton, Md.
After the merger of the Delaware Conference, he became pastor of John Wesley United Methodist Church in Bridgeton, N.J., where he remained until retiring in 1973. He served on the Southern New Jersey Conference board of pensions and board of ministerial training and on the Bridgeton board of Christians and Jews and was president of Bridgeton's Planned Parenthood organization. He was one of the first blacks to serve on that city's Chamber of Commerce.
A native of Centreville, Md., Mr. Anderson graduated from Maryland State College in Princess Anne, Md., now a division of the University of Maryland, and Dickerson Seminary in Williamsport, Pa. He was pastor of an African Methodist Episcopal Zion congregation in Pennsylvania before joining the Methodist Church's Delaware Conference and moving to St. Michaels, Md., in 1938.
In 1979, he and his wife of 53 years, Wilhelmina, moved to this area to live with a daughter, Shirley A. Miller of Oxon Hill. Mr. Anderson had lived at Asbury Methodist Village since May.
Besides his wife and daughter, survivors include two other daughters, Aileen A. Stewart of Wye Mills, Md., and Carol A. Bain of Bridgeton; three sons, Howard E. Jr. and William M., both of Wilmington, Del., and John D., of Still Pond, Md., 11 grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.