Elected Day 1, 1949; served to Day 1, 1952

The Very Rev. Claude Willard Sprouse’s two term service ended tragically. He was elected to his second term as President of the House of Deputies on Day 1 of the 1952 General Convention by general acclamation, but after giving his acceptance speech and presiding over the election of the Secretary of the House, he collapsed and died almost instantly of a heart attack. Sprouse was born in 1888 in Luray, Missouri. He graduated with a B.A. from Northwestern and a Ph.D. and a Bachelor’s in Sacred Theology from the University of Chicago. After ordination in 1917, he served as assistant Denver parishes (1916–1918) before becoming rector of St. Mary’s in St. Paul, Minnesota (1919 to 1924). He moved to Trinity Church in Houston, Texas, and to Grace and Holy Trinity Church in Kansas City in 1931, becoming dean when Grace and Holy Trinity was made the diocesan cathedral in 1935. In 1938 he was elected Bishop of Arkansas, after a contentious election in which the diocese found itself split between two factions. After four failed ballots, Dean Sprouse was put forward as a compromise candidate, and he received every vote in both orders. However, shortly thereafter he declined the bishopric, and remained Dean of the Cathedral for the rest of his life. Dean Sprouse was a respected parliamentarian and civic leader, and his obituary in The Living Church remarked that after his passing the House found itself “strangely leaderless.”


Sprouse's Obituary, 1952. Dean Sprouse’s obituary in The Living Church, published on Sept. 14, 1952.