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Missionary Hattie Humphrey Dies at 96

Missionary Hattie Humphrey, respected church leader, radio host and spiritual advisor to Detroit’s
elected officials, died on Friday, March 22, 2024, at 96 years old. The popular church evangelist died at home in Detroit with friends and family by her side. Missionary Humphrey was born in Hazen, Arkansas on March 21, 1928. She was the oldest and longest surviving of 8 siblings to parents Alice and George Casey.

Missionary Humphrey and husband Ray moved from the prairie lands of Arkansas to the bustling
Motor City to build a rewarding and successful life. From earliest memory, Missionary knew her calling
was to make a difference, help others and become a Missionary.

Missionary Humphrey soon built a following in churches and at concert venues across the city of Detroit as a mistress of ceremonies. She began to know and introduce A-Listers on stage like Stevie Wonder and the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. She presided over church events with style and excitement just like the stars she befriended. It was not unusual to see Missionary Humphrey in fancy custom made hats and flashy outfits being driven around town in her signature black Lincoln Continental.

Missionary Hattie Humphrey raised her public profile by hosting her own religious TV program. She also started an inspirational community affairs radio program called Community Highlights on WJLB back in the day. She used the program to share her common-sense holy ghost gospel along with showcasing local candidates running for office. After a few years on the radio and building a following, she became known as a political “king maker” of sorts. Many candidates attributed their success to appearing on Missionary’s show. Others won elections because she escorted them to a strategic list of churches during the campaign. Many of the churches they visited were led by preachers who were mentored by her from the time they were teenagers.

In the 1970’s, Missionary Humprey began hosting an annual spring birthday banquet that grew in
popularity. Judges from most courts in S.E. Michigan came together each March to celebrate her
birthday. It became the biggest political dinner in Detroit every spring. The banquets consisted of 30 or
more judges and 250 more pastors, bishops, business leaders and candidates running for office. No
matter how popular things got, Missionary always reserved tables for ordinary church members and

Missionary Humphrey was a mentor to pastors and helped to build the congregations of some of
Detroit’s largest churches. She was an icon to the masses but to her friends and relatives, she was
someone you could count on in the time of need. She was a woman of extraordinary grace and dignity
sent to us by God. She is referred to now as Detroit’s Spiritual Ambassador, Missionary Hattie B.

Viewing Funeral Services
Thursday, April 11, 2024, Friday April 12, 2024
Swanson Funeral Home Second Ebenezer Church
806 E. Grand Blvd. 4601 Dequindre Road Detroit, Mi. 48212
Detroit, Mi. 48207 Family Hour 10:00 am
2 pm-7 pm Funeral Service 11:00 am

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