Joseph H. Cyprian Jr.

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, February 3, 2016

“I have fought a good faith, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).

Joseph H. Cyprian Jr. was born Oct. 27, 1932 in Folsom, the sixth of nine children born to Rev. Joseph H. Cyprian, Sr. and Easter Dawson Cyprian.

He began his formal education at Folsom Rosenwald School, and attended high school in Washington Parish. Shortly after graduating high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served two years of active duty, receiving an honorable discharge in 1955. After his discharge, he made education a priority, entering Southern University in Baton Rouge where he received a bachelor of administration degree in education and a master’s degree in administration and supervision.

Dr. Cyprian furthered his education at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond where he earned “30-plus” hours in post-graduate work. His degrees, his thirst and enthusiasm for education, and his encouraging love for young people undergirded his teaching vocation for 38 years, where he taught at Folsom Rosenwald and Folsom Elementary and served as principal at Madisonville, Sun, and Folsom Jr. High (formerly Folsom Rosenwald).

A three-sport high school athlete, Joseph met Lois Helen Williams in high school, where they began a courtship and a love that blossomed and sustained them from high school and through his active duty in the Army and college.  They were married Dec. 27, 1959 and from this union of “J” and “Lovie” — as they affectionately called each other — two sons were born, Derrick Adolph and Douglas Wade.

Rev. and Mrs. Cyprian built a loving and supportive family life together, raising their two boys. Early on, they enjoyed fellowshipping with other couples and dancing. They were both schoolteachers and devoted partners in the ministry, and were often seen together in “coordinated” colors signifying their togetherness. He was also supportive of her “calling” as she served as WMS Episcopal President for the 8th Episcopal District for nine years. Presiding Elder Cyprian often joked about “carrying her bags” to Connectional Meetings. He adored and cherished her and could be seen fixing her breakfast each morning after his calisthenics, stretch exercises, and morning walk.

Presiding Elder Cyprian accepted Christ at an early age and joined Greater Payne Chapel A.M.E. Church in Folsom. Prior to his call to the ministry, he served in various roles at his home church, including trustee, steward, and superintendent of the Sunday Church School. Dr. Joseph Cyprian acknowledged a calling from the Lord on his life and confessed his summons to preach at a Watch Night service Dec. 31, 1971.

A second generation Itinerant Elder of the A.M.E. Church, he was the faithful pastor of Belview, Crystal Springs, and St. Paul A.M.E. Churches.  While fulfilling the duties as pastor and school principal, he earned a doctorate of ministry in administration, theology, and counseling from the International Bible Institute and Seminary in Orlando, Fla., in May 1985.

After hosting the Louisiana Annual Conference in 1987, he was appointed Presiding Elder under the administration of Bishop Donald Ming.  He served as Presiding Elder of the Western New Orleans-Baton Rouge District and the Greater New Orleans-Greensburg District — each comprised of 20 churches in the 8th Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church — until his “retirement” in 2008.

During his ministry, Dr. Cyprian served on the Episcopal Committee for several A.M.E. General Conferences and was a frequent delegate to the General Conference. After 37 years of active pastoral service to the A.M.E., Church he returned to Greater Payne Chapel where he naturally assisted in any way that he could. He often said that he “was not retiring but merely changing shifts.” This was demonstrated in his continued service to the church and others.

A community leader, Dr. Joseph Cyprian chaired the Planning and Zoning Committee for the village of Folsom and was the president of the Folsom Community Cemetery Association. He was also a member in good standing with the Prince Hall Free and Accepted Mason Wisdom Lodge 123 in Bogalusa.

Presiding Elder and Mrs. Joseph H. Cyprian Jr. joyfully spent over 56 years of marriage together. He leaves behind his loving wife, Lois Helen Cyprian of Folsom; two sons, Derrick (Chalita) Cyprian of Houston, Texas and Douglas (Pamela) Cyprian of Folsom; four grandchildren, Kristopher (Brittney) Cyprian of San Antonio, Texas, Brit’tinae Monek Cyprian of Folsom, Derrick Joseph Cyprian, and Jared Christopher Cyprian, both of Houston; two great-grandchildren, Krystian Jada Cyprian and Kaston Joseph Cyprian of Folsom. He also leaves three siblings, sister Dorothy Cyprian of Los Angeles, Calif., and two brothers Farid (Carrie) Wahid of Hammond, and Charles (Renee) Cyprian of Los Angeles, Calif.; sisters-in-law, Delores Plummer, Creola Cyprian, and Greta Williams, and two brothers-in-law, Theodore Baham and Leroy Jenkins; in addition to a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.

Joseph Henry Cyprian Jr. was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph Henry Cyprian Sr. and Easter Dawson Cyprian; sister, Creola Baham; brothers, Thomas Cyprian, Arthur Cyprian, Clarence Cyprian and Louis Roosevelt Cyprian; sister-in-law Hazel Jenkins; and brothers-in-law Gus Plummer Sr., Olice Williams, Bobby Williams, and Floyd Williams.

Joseph H. Cyprian enjoyed a good laugh, talking to and meeting new people, and the company of family and friends.  He enjoyed sports and keeping up with current events and was often watching the game or CNN. His attitude was always positive, and he would often quote, “Keep a positive attitude to overcome the difficulties in life.” This is one of those times to heed his words.

Visitation will be Thursday, Feb. 4, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Greater Payne Chapel A.M.E. Church, located at 84053 Louisiana Highway 25 in Folsom.

Visitation will be Friday, Feb. 5, from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., followed by the funeral service beginning at 11 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Covington, located at 1633 Louisiana Highway 1085 in Covington, with pastor Lloyd Guy officiating. Interment will be in Folsom Community Cemetery.

Crain and Sons Funeral Home of Franklinton is in charge of arrangements.