ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Rev. Watson Haynes II, a civil rights pillar, who made a huge impact throughout the Tampa Bay region, passed away over the weekend, according to his family.
Rev. Haynes was a political, faith and civil rights leader in Pinellas County, and we are told he passed away peacefully Saturday after a battle with an illness. He was 69 years old.
He led the Pinellas County Urban League and strived to lift people out of poverty and addiction.
The Pinellas County Urban League posted this statement on its website:
"Rev. Haynes was a trailblazer leader and true community hero who will be remembered for breaking glass ceilings on behalf of African Americans in St. Petersburg. He was known throughout the Urban League movement as a man of courage and commitment who was always ready to fill the role of the preacher as well as a champion for racial and economic justice."
Pinellas County Commissioner Rene Flowers was his sister-in-law.
"We are doing the best that we can. It’s a sad moment, but we are trying to really reflect on everything he did for this community," Flowers told FOX 13 Tuesday. "It is a loss for the community, but how do you recover? You take the things he looked at and those values, and you push those agenda’s forward."
Flowers told FOX 13 a public memorial service has not been set.