Minister and Civil Rights Activist The Rev. Dr. Donald Eugene Roulet Dies at 80

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“Never be afraid to take pride in having courage to stand up against the evils of war, racism, poverty, injustice or anything which oppresses or dehumanizes any person or family of people.”

The Rev. Dr. Donald Eugene Roulet, minister, civil rights activist, and head of the Roulet family has died at the age of 80. Surrounded by family, he passed peacefully at his Tulsa home following an extensive 10-year battle with Prostate Cancer. Roulet was well known as a spiritual and community leader, as well as his lifelong commitment to civil and human rights. The Rev. rose to prominence for his role in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s, mobilizing activists to actively integrate communities across Oklahoma through the establishment of local resources and community support programs.

Following seminary school in Chicago, Roulet relocated to Northeast Oklahoma. The Rev. was appointed head minister of First Presbyterian Church Broken Arrow in 1963, where he based much of his community activism. Roulet organized a strong, loyal congregation based around the pillars of faith, tolerance, and inclusion. He discovered that the most effective way to rally southern communities around integration was by establishing organizations and services that supported the community. Roulet established local food pantries, Alcoholics Anonymous and senior meal programs that provided assistance to rural Oklahoma communities rampant with poverty and substance abuse. Through these programs, The Rev. and his organizations earned the trust of community members, which eased the tensions around integration. In an interview with Tulsa World, he described his philosophy on community efforts, stating, “We don’t have to have our flag flying over everything we do. It’s just our way of living like good Samaritans.”

The Rev. advocated for openness and acceptance to all within the Presbyterian church. Roulet left the ministry to become an executor for the Presbyterian Church and national advocate for religious public policy reform. He founded the Progressive Religion Coalition, an initiative designed to bring together faith leaders from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist backgrounds. His lifelong quest to end racial discrimination, expand LGBT rights, and normalize religious tolerance has never lost its course. Dr. Roulet holds a bachelor’s in Theology and Philosophy, two masters degrees, as well as a PhD and Doctor of Divinity. For his efforts during the Civil Rights Movement, he has been honored by the Oklahoma House of Representatives, Louisiana House of Representatives, and is honorary mayor of over 6 cities.

Donald Eugene was born on June 1st 1936 in Hollywood Los Angeles, California. The Rev. is survived by his wife of 57 years, brother, three children, seven grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, it is requested that donations be made to the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Broken Arrow Neighbors, and College Hill Presbyterian Church.

 

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