November 16, 2016

Leroy C. Ioas (1896-1965) - The Guardian's Hercules; "vigorous spirit of determination… and of noble enthusiasm"; "energy, judgment, zeal and fidelity"; "incessant activities and prodigious labours"; "tireless vigilance, self-sacrifice, and devotion to the Cause in all its multiple fields of activity"; “Outstanding Hand of the Cause”; “First Secretary-General of the International Baha’i Council”; “Personal Representative of the Guardian of the Faith”

Leroy, as he was affectionately known throughout the world by Baha'is and countless other associates, was the brightest luminary of a large and united family whose services to Baha'u'llah began shortly after the inception of His Faith in North America.

Leroy was born in Wilmington, Illinois, in the heartland of America, soon after Baha'u'llah's Message first reached the West in 1893. His father, Charles loas, was of Lutheran background and had come from Munich to the United States in 1880. He accepted the Faith in 1898 and served it faithfully until his death in 1917, as a member and secretary of the House of Spirituality in Chicago, the first Local Spiritual Assembly. To him 'Abdu'l-Baha made a remarkable promise: “… thou wilt behold thyself in a lofty station, having all that is in earth under its shadow…" He was "that wonderful man loas", whose seed, like Abraham's, scattered around the globe in succeeding generations, to carry the news of the New Day.

Leroy's mother, Maria, born a German Catholic, accepted Baha'u'llah with her husband. For her son, she was "one of the angels of the American Baha'i community", and lived to hear of his elevation to the rank of Hand of the Cause and to participate in the dedication of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in Wilmette in 1953, to the erection of which both husband and children had greatly contributed.

Leroy, as many have heard, was the Guardian's Hercules. His "vigorous spirit of determination… and of noble enthusiasm," his "energy, judgment, zeal and fidelity," his "incessant activities and prodigious labours", his "tireless vigilance, self-sacrifice, and devotion to the Cause in all its multiple fields of activity"- these are the Guardian's words - were greatly prized by Shoghi Effendi as "assets for which I am deeply and truly thankful." "I admire the spirit that animates you [and] marvel at your stupendous efforts," he wrote to this "dearest and most valued co-worker".