(Extensions of Remarks - March 05, 2019)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E245]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                      JESSE BERNARD BILBERRY, JR.


                        HON. CEDRIC L. RICHMOND

                              of louisiana

                    in the house of representatives

                         Tuesday, March 5, 2019

  Mr. RICHMOND. Madam Speaker, I join former Congressman Cleo Fields 
and the entire Baton Rouge community today in honor of Reverend Jesse 
Bernard Bilberry, Jr. Rev. Bilberry has spent the entirety of his life 
dedicated to educational and community development. Revered as a 
trailblazer throughout his lifetime, Rev. Bilberry most recently 
retired after 34 years of pastoral service at Mt. Pilgrim Missionary 
Baptist Church in Baton Rouge.
  Rev. Bilberry was born on May 12, 1929 in Marion, Louisiana the 
oldest of ten children of Jesse Bernard Bilberry, Sr. and Joe B. 
Bilberry. He was baptized at the age of 14 at the Bloomberg Grove 
Baptist Church in Farmerville, Louisiana. Rev. Bilberry went on to earn 
his Bachelor of Arts degree from Southern University and A&M College. 
An Army veteran, Rev. Bilberry was honorably discharged from the United 
States Army after serving from August 18, 1951 to July 21, 1953.
  After Rev. Bilberry' s return from the Army, he went on to marry 
Verta Lee Hamilton on December 23, 1953. The couple has one daughter, 
Cassandra Gail.
  Rev. Bilberry began a new chapter in life after marriage that started 
his esteemed trajectory in educational and community development. He 
began his career as the principal of Tensas Rosenwald High School in 
St. Joseph, Louisiana from 1956 to 1969. During this time, he completed 
his Master of Education from Louisiana State University in 1957. He was 
also awarded the Human Rights Award for Creative Leadership in 
Education in 1968.
  In 1969, Rev. Bilberry took his talents back to Southern University 
where he served as the Freshman Complex Director until 1971. He then 
implemented and directed the inaugural Office of High School Relations 
at Southern from 1971 to 1973. The following year, Rev. Bilberry was 
promoted to Director of Admissions of Southern University, where he 
served this role until 1984.
  During his early years as Director of Admissions for Southern, Rev. 
Bilberry first became acquainted with Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church in 
1975. He was later ordained a Deacon and asked to serve as the Chairman 
of the Finance Committee. By 1981, he became an Associate Minister.
  Rev. Bilberry retired from Southern University and the State of 
Louisiana in 1984. That same year, he accepted the pastorate of Mt. 
Pilgrim Baptist Church. Rev. Bilberry continued his studies of the 
church and graduated from Christian Bible College in 1988 with a Master 
of Theology and a Doctorate of Theology in 1990.
  Throughout his lifetime, Rev. Bilberry has received numerous awards 
and recognition, including Minister of the Year in 1989 from the Early 
Risers Kiwanis Club, two-time recipient of the M.S. Tally Walk on the 
Water Award from the Department of Christian Education in 1991 and 
1992, and the Frontiersman Award from the Sunday School Publishing 
Board of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. in 1993 for his 
work leading a mission trip to Dominica, West Indies.
  Rev. Bilberry has also dedicated his time to a plethora of scholastic 
and service-oriented organizations, including the Southern University 
and A&M College Board of Supervisors, supervisor and instructor for the 
National Baptist Congress of Christian Education, and a member of East 
Baton Rouge Parish Ministers Conference, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, and 
Phi Delta Kappa Honorary Society.
  Rev. Bilberry's trajectory in leadership continued as Chairman of the 
Board of Directors of Crestworth Learning Academy, President of the 
Fourth District Missionary Baptist Association, and State Director of 
the Louisiana Missionary Baptist Congress of Christian Education.
  Rev. Bilberry has led a life of exemplary service, leadership, and 
compassion that has resonated throughout the entire Baton Rouge 
community and the state of Louisiana. His lifetime body of work should 
be well known and celebrated not only by those he has influenced 
throughout the years, but by all who seek to make a difference in this 
world through the vocation of ministry and education.
  Madam Speaker, I am proud to honor the life and work of Rev. Jesse 
Bernard Bilberry, Jr. and wish him luck in his retirement.