Madison--Rev. Richard E. Pritchard died Tuesday, March 18, 2014 of natural causes at age 100.
Survived by his three children: Rev. Lynn (Dr. Jim W) Renne, Newburgh, Ind., Richie Pritchard, Jr., Madison, William (Anna) Pritchard, Arlington, Wash; two grandchildren: Lise Renne Wosneski, Palatine Ill., Jim P. (Julie) Renne, Newburgh, Ind.; and four great grandchildren: Robby and Peter Wosneski, Emily and Jimmy Renne. Nieces and nephews: Margaret Glasgwyn, Owen Pritchard, Lowell (Marilyn) Pritchard, Dorothy (Wes), Ripley, David (Debra) Pritchard, Lauriann (David) Sayers, Greg (Linda) Pritchard, Paul (Debbie) Evans, David (Molly) Evans, Janet (Bob) Miller, Kathy (Ed) Hill, Tom (Diane) Schaefer, Jim Schaefer, and Mark (Nora) Schaefer. He was preceded in death by Eleanor (Gaudlitz), wife of 45 years, mother of his three children, and his second wife Helen (Prichard) of 22 years; his brother Howell and sister Joanne Evans.
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Dec. 19, 1913, he attended Wauwatosa Grade School and High School. He attended Park College in Kansas City, Mo., 1937-38, where he also became a student pastor at St. Paul Presbyterian Church. He then transferred to Carroll College, Waukesha, in 1938 where he was a student pastor at First Presbyterian Church in North Lake, and was graduated from Carroll in 1941. In 1944 he was graduated from McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago.
He was ordained in 1944 in the old Welsh (Calvinistic Methodist) Presbytery in the Presbyterian Church, then in 1968 in the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches.
He was pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Henry Ill. from 1942-45; Chaplain in the US Army Air Corps, Ft. Amherst, Newfoundland, 1945-46; pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Madison, 1947-1968; pastor of the newly formed Heritage Congregational Church, Madison, 1968-1984, and then served in various capacities at Heritage until 1992.
In his later years he served as interim pastor at Kewaunee's Community Congregational Church; Bethany Presbyterian Church, Vincennes, Ind.; at Union Congregational Church, Warroad, Minn., and Big Flats Community Church, Arkdale, Wisc.
He participated in founding of the Madison Equal Opportunities Commission, the Mental Health Center of Dane County, WYOU Public Access TV station, and Citizens Concerned for Our Community. He was active in many organizations including the Welsh Gymanfa Ganu Association of Wisconsin and the Madison West Rotary Club.
To his children he was "Dad," the one who comforted and encouraged them, took them on month-long summer vacations to different parts of the country, and was an inspiring role model.
He and Mom were a good parenting team. To the public his children wish him to be remembered as:
-A man who was a 100% Welshman through and through, who enjoyed singing Welsh hymns with a rich baritone voice.
-The one who worked at Northwestern Mutual Life for 5 years during the 1930's depression and helped organize a company union.
-The WWII chaplain who would not permit seating in worship services by rank.
-The 1938 student pastor in the black St. Paul's Presbyterian Church in Kansas City where he learned about racism and struggles to live.
-The pastor who started Wisconsin's first Dial-a-Prayer service in 1956 bringing to the countless a message of comfort and hope.
-The pastor who fought discrimination in Madison, serving on the Mayor's Commission on Human Rights in the early 1960's, and organized a meeting of black boys and girls with white business owners to learn that they could get good jobs and how they could achieve this goal.
-The 1963 pastor who led a group of twelve students to Kenya in Operations Crossroads, the precursor to the Peace Corps, where for three months they built fences around the properties of widows. There he had several conversations with Jomo Kenyatta, the founding father of the country.
-Who ministered to the prisoners and down trodden.
-Who joined civil rights protests in Birmingham with his son Rich, was chased by the KKK, and marched on Washington in 1964. Who fought to protect Madison neighborhoods from encroaching massage parlors.
-Who, in retirement, pastored churches across Wisconsin and northern Minnesota through transitions.
-Who disagreed with many on what was right and wrong, but always thought well of the other person and treated them with respect and honor as children of God.
-Who loves Jesus Christ and every day served as He would serve.
Throughout his life, his role model was the Apostle Paul, whose words to Timothy are what he could be saying now: "The time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
Special thanks to Madison Senior Helpers, especially Kathy Maertz and Marion Chapin, to the caring staffs of Madison Senior Helpers, Capitol Lakes Terraces, and Agrace HospiceCare.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. at Crossroads Church, 3815 Dutch Mill Rd, Madison, (608) 222-1159 on Saturday, March 22, 2014 followed by at time for food and fellowship. A graveside service will follow at Roselawn Memorial Park. A visitation will be at Crossroads Church, Friday, March 21, 2014 from 4 until 7 p.m. and again on Saturday at church one hour prior to service.
Rev. Pritchard's wish is that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the benevolence or mission funds at Crossroads Church, Heritage Congregational Church, Westminster Presbyterian Church, or a preferred church.