Dr. Arlena Dingle spends her Sunday mornings leading an adult discussion on a lesson from the Bible. She has been a member of the United Christian Church of Christ for more than 50 years devoting a countless number of hours to her brethren. As soon as the lesson is over she leaves the 114-year old building to head home and get her husband, Bishop Irvin Dingle, out of bed so they both can attend the eleven o’clock service.
Bishop Dingle has Alzheimer’s disease.
Bishop Dingle was once a busy and healthy man. He moved to West Coconut Grove in 1947 with his first wife and three daughters. He opened his business, Dingle Roofing Company, one of the first African-American-owned businesses in the Grove.
Bishop Dingle is also a spiritual man who began his pastoral legacy in the West Grove in 1953. Bishop Dingle co-founded the church, where after 38 years of service he recently passed his duties on to his own daughter, Dr. Marthenia “Tina” Dupree.
“I never heard anyone say anything wrong or bad about my daddy all my life. And everybody in the Grove knows him,” Dr. Dupree said.
Dr. Dupree spent most of her childhood with her father who re-married 51 years ago. She and her sisters were blissfully unaware of their parents’ divorce and were under the impression that their father simply moved down the street.
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