ATLANTA — The president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Rev. Howard Creecy Jr., has died seven months after taking office, the venerable civil rights group said Thursday.
Damien Conners, the SCLC's national program director, said the 57-year-old Creecy died of an apparent heart attack in Atlanta early Thursday. Creecy, pastor of The Olivet Church in Fayette County, was elected SCLC president in January after the position was declined by Bernice King, daughter of the organization's co-founder, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Before that, Creecy had served as the interim president of the civil rights organization founded in 1957. He was a native of Mobile, Ala.
The Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, said he had spoken recently with Creecy about his plans for the SCLC.
"Even in recent weeks, he was very focused on trying to get SCLC on firm financial footing, stabilizing the organization and helping it to retool for the future," Warnock said. "He seemed very excited about his work."
According to his biography on the Olivet Church website, Creecy was a third generation preacher who co-pastored at Olivet with his father, the Rev. Howard Creecy Sr., from 2002 until his death in 2008. He was a graduate of Morehouse College and earned a doctor of divinity degree from Abotra Bible Institute and Seminary.
Creecy served as senior pastor of Saint Peter Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta for 26 years prior to coming to Olivet.
In addition to his duties at Olivet, Creecy was director of the Office of Chaplain Services for Atlanta Fulton County Government, the organization's highest ranking ecclesiastical position. Creecy was the first African-American in the county's history to serve in that capacity.
Funeral plans were not immediately known.