Harold Warren, Sr., longtime Columbia funeral director, community leader and civil rights activist, passed away November 13, 2021, at the age of 89.
He was born on October 25, 1932, in Southern Boone County Missouri (also known as Cedar Township) to the late Lawrence and Sarah Katherine (Smith) Warren. He was a devoted husband of 58 years to his wife, Helen Rozelle (Guyton) Warren.
Harold was a graduate of Douglass High School in Columbia, and attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA, where he majored in Business Administration.
Harold proudly served in the United States Army during the Korean War. After returning home from the service, Harold went on to receive a degree in Mortuary Science from Indiana Mortuary School in Indianapolis, IN.
He became a state of Missouri Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer for Stuart Parker Funeral Home in Columbia. Eventually, he and his wife Helen took ownership of Stuart Parker Funeral Home which later became Warren Funeral Chapel.
Together Harold and Helen were inseparable, not only providing families with dignified care throughout Mid-Missouri, but also being involved in many church, community and civic events throughout the year.
As a dedicated community member, Mr. Warren thought it was important to support the things that made the Columbia community a better place to live, volunteering thousands of personal hours.
During the 1970s, Mr. Warren served as the first African American City Councilman for the City of Columbia. His community service included: past president of the Columbia Chapter of NAACP; founding president of the Rainbow Diamond Optimist Club; a member of the Rising Sun Lodge #164 F&AM PHA; member of the Kiwanis Golden K Club; member of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce; and American Legion Post 202.
He received numerous awards for his work and service in the community. Harold was an avid sports fan. He loved to bowl with his son Harold Jr. Both being well known for their bowling skills, Harold Sr. was inducted into the Missouri Bowlers Hall of Fame.
Harold was a fan of all Missouri athletics, especially men’s and women’s basketball. He was also a Kansas Jayhawks fan (but we won’t talk about that).
Most recently, he enjoyed watching his granddaughter Marisa Warren play basketball for St. Louis University. Harold had a strong love for both God and Church.
As a child, he was a member of Log Providence Missionary Baptist Church where he went on to serve as Sunday School superintendent for ten years. In Columbia, Harold was instrumental in helping to build Progressive Missionary Baptist Church. He was a charter member of PMBC under the leadership of Reverend Harold J. Butler.
Harold served on the first church board of trustees of PMBC, worshiping in a small storefront building on Sexton Road and went on to help oversee the building of the current church at Sexton and Banks. He was a devoted reader of God’s word, so he shared it by teaching Sunday school and Bible study.
He and his wife, Helen, were very active in the church music ministry. Helen was the church organist and Harold was president of the men’s chorus. Not only was he a Deacon, but he served as chairman of the Deacon Board. While building God’s Kingdom, Harold served as president of the Brotherhood/Laymen Ministries for both PMBC and the Mount Carmel Baptist District Association.
As PMBC grew, Harold co-chaired the planning construction committee of phase two (the current sanctuary). After his wife Helen passing in 2018, Harold returned to Log Providence Missionary Baptist Church (his childhood church) where his longtime friend and first cousin, Dennis Smith, would take him on Sundays.
Harold was devoted to his wife Helen and took pride in his family. His pride and joy were his children, Harold Jr., and Helisa, who he encouraged to be their best. His extra blessings from the Lord were his grandchildren and great-grandchildren whom he left his wisdom and entrepreneurial business skills.
Harold accepted Jesus Christ at a young age and had a solid commitment to the Lord. Through life’s challenges, Harold learned to trust Jesus to the utmost. He knew Jesus would never fail him and his love for Christ deepened more and more. which led him to share the love of Christ with everyone he met.
He is survived by his children: Harold Warren, Jr. of Columbia, Missouri, and Helisa Warren of Frisco, Texas; daughter-in-law: Dr. Alisa Warren of St. Louis, Missouri; grandchildren: Harold Warren III, Haleigh Jones, both of Columbia, Missouri, and Marisa Warren of St. Louis, Missouri; two great-grandchildren: Tristin Cowgill-Warren and Cole (Coley J.) Jones; brother: Woodson Warren of Columbia, Missouri; sister: Marva Jo Peppers of Decatur, Illinois; brother-in-law: Leon Guyton; sisters-in-law: Evelyn Butler, Celestine (Raymond) Hayes and Betty Guyton, all of Columbia Missouri; several nieces, nephews, and cousins. He is preceded in death by his wife, father, mother, eight brothers, and three sisters.
Friends will be received from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Sunday, November 21, 2021, at Parker-Millard Funeral Service with a Masonic Service to be held at 6:00 p.m. Homegoing Service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, November 22, 2021, at Second Missionary Baptist Church.
Interment with full military honors will be held at Columbia Cemetery where Harold will be laid to rest next to his late wife Helen. Expression of sympathy may be made to In lieu of flowers, please make donations in the name of Harold Warren, Sr. to: NAACP — Columbia Chapter Mary Ratliff, President P.O. Box 7038-65205 www.columbiamonaacp.org.
Arrangements are under the direction of Parker-Millard Service & Crematory, 12 E. Ash St., Columbia, MO 65203. Condolences may be left for the family at www.parkermillard.com.