February 16, 2019

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C. Payne Lucas, Leader in Aid to Africa, Is Dead at 85

C. Payne Lucas, Leader in Aid to Africa, Is Dead at 85
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“Health, education and agriculture — those were the three things we were involved in at the beginning,” Mr. Lucas recalled in a 2014 video interview for Africare. “Then we got involved in community development, in which you did things to help the community function, help them build schools, help them build health clinics.”

Although he cultivated support from black churches, fraternities, sororities and other organizations in the United States, Mr. Lucas also realized that Africare needed contributions from foundations and governments, which he became adept at soliciting. For one of the many awards he received over the years, he was described as “a can-do optimist who combines the persuasive powers of a tent evangelist and a traveling salesman.”

Mr. Lucas was among those accompanying Vice President George Bush when he toured Africa in 1985, and he was a frequent guest at dinners and other official functions when African leaders traveled to the United States. He took it upon himself to help ambassadors and other African officials learn how to play the game in Washington, where matters of politics and protocol could often be perplexing to them.

Mr. Lucas is survived by his wife, Freddie Hill Lucas, whom he married in 1964; two sisters, Dorothy Lucas Whitley and Augusta Lucas Jones; a daughter, Hillary Hendricks Lucas; and two grandchildren. A son, C. Payne Lucas Jr., died in 2013, and a daughter, Therese Raymonde Lucas, died last year.

In the 2014 video, which commemorated the leadership of Mr. Lucas and Dr. Kennedy, among those contributing remembrances was Kevin Lowther, a former regional director of South Africa Africare. He said Mr. Lucas’s persuasiveness was among his greatest attributes.

“When he asked you to do something or to work with him,” Mr. Lowther said, “you didn’t say no.”

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