Richard Rettew Obituary

Richard D. Rettew
Richard D. Rettew

August 15, 1927 - October 29, 2018
Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Resided in Charlotte, North Carolina
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Recently relocated from Lancaster, New York to Charlotte, North Carolina; completed his earthly pilgrimage Monday, October 29, 2018.
Devoted husband of Anna S. Rettew, married for 67 years; beloved father of the late Elizabeth Rettew, David and Robin Rettew, Jane and Steve Pulley, Paul and Nancy Rettew, and Carol Rettew; and grandfather of Kate and Luke Stotz, Ben and Jess Pulley, Emily Pulley, Dan and Katy Pulley, Robert Rettew, and Sam Rettew; and great grandfather to six.
Richard received his education and training at The University of Pennsylvania (BA), Princeton Theological Seminary (B.Min. and Th.M.), and Fuller Seminary (D.Min.).
Over a span of nearly 50 years, Richard served Presbyterian pastorates in Bangor, PA, Philadelphia, PA, and Lancaster, NY. He retired from Lancaster Presbyterian Church after 23 years there in 1992, being honored as Pastor Emeritus.
He then served for a decade in Africa as a professor of Pastoral Studies at Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (Africa International University). He also established Help for Africa Church Leadership, a non-profit organization that provided for the training and support of pastors in Africa.
He was partnered in his life work by his wife, Anna, who served first as church music director and then as a music teacher during their tenure in Africa. They were a powerful team in life and ministry, and their mutual love and devotion was always evident. Richard also delighted greatly in his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren - finding a special place in his heart for loving each one.
Richard was an avid outdoorsman, and led canoe trips into the Canadian wilderness that impacted the lives of hundreds of young people. He was also a talented watercolorist, celebrating the beauty of God’s creation. This past year he printed his first novel, a suspense entitled, “Train to Hell’s Gate.”
With a ready wit, warm and caring conversation, and an expressive faith; Richard encouraged and enriched countless lives. His passion to convey the good news of Jesus Christ continued to his last day. He will be sorely missed by all who were blessed to know and love him, especially his family.
The family will be present at Lancaster Presbyterian Church, 5461 Broadway, Lancaster on Monday from 10:30 AM-11:00 AM with A Celebration of Life and Resurrection to follow at 11 AM. Interment private.
Arrangements by AMIGONE FUNERAL HOME, INC. (716-836-6500). Share your condolences at
Buffalo News Obituary Version
Aug. 14, 1927 - Oct. 29, 2018

Rev. Dr. Richard D. Rettew, the youngest of three sons of a minister, was the one who chose to follow his father’s profession.

“It was his faith,” his daughter, Jane Pulley, said, “and his desire to share his faith with others.”

Born in Harrisburg, Pa., he grew up in several towns and cities in southeastern Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, where his father was assigned by the Evangelical United Brethren Church.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in literature from the University of Pennsylvania, he went to Princeton Theological Seminary, which his father had attended. He completed a bachelor’s degree in ministry and a master’s degree in theology there, then went on receive his doctor of ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif.

A Presbyterian pastor for nearly 50 years, Rev. Rettew served parishes in Bangor, Pa., and Philadelphia before coming to Lancaster Presbyterian Church in 1969. He became pastor emeritus in 1992.

“It was his choice to come to Lancaster. He felt it was a good fit,” his daughter said. “He felt he had planted the church in Philadelphia. He built a new church and it had grown.”

He died Oct. 29 in Charlotte, N.C., where he had recently moved. He was 91.

He gave special attention to youth programs at the Lancaster church and led groups of young people on canoe trips in the Canadian wilderness.

In retirement, he served for a decade in Kenya as a professor of pastoral studies at Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology at Africa International University. He also established Help for Africa Church Leadership, a nonprofit organization that provided training and support for pastors in Africa.

“He felt a call to the school of theology in Nairobi,” his daughter said. “Christianity had really spread in Africa, but there was a need for educated pastors and at that time there weren’t places to train them. He trained them from all over Africa.”

His wife of 67 years, the former Anna Salyerds, served as church music director during his pastorates and was a music teacher during their years in Africa.

An avid watercolor painter, he created hundreds of landscapes during his travels in the U.S. and Canada. He exhibited occasionally with the Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society.

During the past year, he published a suspense novel, “Train to Hell’s Gate,” which was inspired by a rail journey he and his wife took across Canada in 2011.

In addition to his wife and daughter, survivors include two sons, David and Paul; another daughter, Carol; six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

A celebration of his life will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 5, in Lancaster Presbyterian Church, 5461 Broadway, Lancaster.




Celebration of Life
Lancaster Presbyterian Church
5461 Broadway
Lancaster, NY US 14086
Monday, November 5, 2018
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Lancaster Presbyterian Church
5461 Broadway
Lancaster, NY US 14086
Monday, November 5, 2018
- Show more -