GARY, Indiana — Retired Bishop Dale Melczek, who led Indiana’s Catholic Diocese of Gary for more than two decades, has died at age 83.

The diocese said Melczek died Thursday after going into hospice care following a recent severe stroke.

Melczek was a priest and auxiliary bishop in Detroit when Pope John Paul II appointed him as apostolic administrator for the Gary diocese in 1992 and then its bishop in 1996. Melczek led until 2014 the diocese that covers four counties in northwestern Indiana and its about 160,000 Catholics.

Current Gary Bishop Robert McClory called Melczek “a tireless servant and a compassionate pastor.”

Melczek oversaw the closing of several parishes because of declining membership during his tenure. He said upon his retirement that he hoped to be remembered for taking steps fighting racism.

Melczek served on the Race Relations Council of Northwest Indiana and issued pastoral letters in 2002 and 2003 advocating diversity and denouncing racism.

His funeral Mass is scheduled for Monday at Holy Angels Cathedral in Gary.