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Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry was born in Jackson, Mississippi on August 25, 1937. As a child, she attended St. Matthew Baptist Church for grade school, where eight grade levels were taught in a single classroom. After high school, Tyler Guidry earned her associate’s degree from J.P Campbell College in Jackson, and later studied economics at Tougaloo College. In 1977, she graduated from Los Angeles Bible School and she received her master’s of theology from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2004.
After she completed her A.A. degree, Tyler Guidry began working for the NAACP, where she was the women’s voter registration chair. In 1972, she and her husband, Cary Tyler, drove across country to California, where she was hired by the Security Pacific Bank. The following year, she left the bank as she answered her calling to the ministry. After graduating from the Los Angeles Bible School, Tyler Guidry became the pastor of the First A.M.E. Church in Indio, California, where she remained for the next six years. In 1983, she moved to Bakersfield, California, where she led the congregation at Cain Memorial A.M.E. Church until 1989. That year, she was appointed to Walker Temple A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles, making her the first female to be appointed to a major metropolitan church in the A.M.E. Church. In 1994, Tyler Guidry was appointed to be the first female presiding elder in the Fifth Episcopal District. On July 5, 2005, Tyler Guidry was elected to become only the second female bishop in the A.M.E. Church.
In addition to her ministry, Tyler Guidry has been involved with a number of other organizations. She has served as the secretary of the board of the John F. Kennedy Hospital in Indio, president of the Riverside County Board of Mental Health and treasurer of the national board of One Church One Child, among many other groups. She is also a contributor to the fourth edition of “Those Preaching Women.” Her first husband, Cary Tyler, passed away in 1988.
Bishop Tyler Guidry resides in Los Angeles, where she lived with her second husband, Don Guidry, who passed away in 2007. She has six children, thirteen grandchildren, and eleven great-grandchildren.
Bishop Tyler Guidry was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 5, 2004 and November 15, 2004.