A memorial service for William H. Gray, III, the former congressman and Philadelphia political titan, has been scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m.

The service will be held at the Bright Hope Baptist Church, where Gray, his father and grandfather all served as pastors.

Gray held his seat in Congress from 1979 to 1991, and remained in the Bright Hope pulpit until he stepped down in 2004.

He was one of the founders of the so-called Northwest Coaltion of independent black politicians, which grew from outsider status to help elect the first generation of black office-holders and eventually became the preeminent force in Democratic city politics.

Gray himself rose to national prominence, advancing to become majority whip in the U.S. House of Representatives and later serving as head of the United Negro College Fund.

Gray, who as 71, died July 1 in London, England, where he was attending the Wimbledon tennis tournament with his youngest son, Andrew.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made to the William H. Gray Scholarship Fund, Bright Hope Baptist Church, 12th Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19122.

Donations also can be made to a scholarship in Gray's name for underprivileged children with learning disabilities at the Riverview School, 551 Route 6A, East Sandwich, MA, 02537.

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