David Charles Rich
February 11, 1937 - November 11, 2022
Kind. David Rich was one of the kindest people to walk the earth. David and his sister, Caroline,
learned and absorbed kindness from their parents, Charles and Ruth Rich, who, most likely,
learned it from their parents. Likewise, David and Ginny, his first wife, taught kindness to their
children, Martha and Andrew. Andrew, in turn, has passed it on to his boys, Charlie, Drew and
Casey. David spread it to Deb, his second wife, to her family and to countless friends and
strangers. Kindness. It was a way of life for David.
He was always very open to other people, and respectful, wary of passing negative judgment.
David took to heart Jesus' answer to the man who asked, "Who is my neighbor?" - the answer
being told in the parable of the Good Samaritan. He was interested in other people, wanted to
know who others were, how they thought and approached life. Though he spent most of his
career as a clergyman in campus ministry administration, his avocation was helping others
hearken to their vocation. One of his 'claims to fame' was having attended the first Life/Work
Planning workshop by Richard Bolles. Yes, the same Richard Bolles who wrote What Color's
Your Parachute. David secured a mimeographed copy of that book before it was published by
attending that workshop. He treasured that book, along with its annual updates and shared its
wisdom with hundreds of people through the years. He was a good listener and as such asked
really, really good questions. He was good at getting people to reflect on their lives, uncover
their passions and gifts/skills, and then he would encourage people to pursue those passions.
He was not limited to helping individuals. He was an ardent believer in process - helping
myriad groups think through problems or hurdles and discern what their next steps might be.
He rarely told people or groups what to do or what he thought was best, choosing instead to
elicit it from them, trusting they had it within them. Most often they did, and David helped
them discover that. Yes, he asked good questions.
David was a very loving man, easily expressing his emotion. He hung in there when things were
tough. He nursed Ginny through cancer until she died in 1985. He kept his heart open, even
when he was angry or frustrated or hurt. While not enjoying conflicted situations, he did not
shy away from those difficult conversations in which we all find ourselves throughout our lives.
His calm manner often defused a charged situation. He found great joy in his family and friends,
enjoying easy laughter and often poking fun at himself. He was very proud of his family: his
wives, his children, his grandchildren, and never ceased to celebrate their accomplishments,
while bearing with them when life didn't work out so well.
David was ordained as an American Baptist minister in 1961, having completed college at
Denison University and seminary at Andover Newton Theological School. While at Andover
Newton, he met and married his first wife, Virginia Steiger. Upon graduation, David began his
career as Interim Director of the Maine Christian Association at the University of Maine in
Orono. He and Ginny, and their baby daughter, Martha, moved to New York City to pursue
David's call as Minister of Community Services at Madison Avenue Baptist Church. He was then
called to serve the American Baptist denomination as the Eastern Regional Director of
American Baptist Board of Educational Ministries (Campus Ministry). He continued his
ecumenical work as Northeast Regional Secretary for the National Commission of United
Ministries in Higher Education (UMHE). David and his family moved to Devon, outside of
Philadelphia. It was there his son, Andrew was born. Through his regional work, David
cooperated ecumenically with many colleagues. Again, David demonstrated his openness to
people as he worked across Christian denominational lines and Interfaith lines to strengthen
campus ministry among young people. He continued that work with UMHE as Executive
Director of the Pennsylvania Commission. It was during his work with UMHE Pennsylvania that
he met and married his second wife, Rev. Deborah McKinley. As his work with UMHE drew to a
close, David became an Interim Executive Presbyter for the Presbytery of Carlisle and moved his
ordination from American Baptist to Presbyterian. He then worked at the Presbyterian Board
of Pensions, developing and honing a retirement planning program that encompassed all of a
retiree's life, including but not limited to finances. David's experience in life/work planning
served him well as he helped ministers think about how to pursue their vocation in new ways as
they stepped into retirement.
David retired himself in 2000. In his retirement his vocation turned toward teaching and leading
workshops: life/work planning, Sabbath keeping, Transitions in Ministry and in Congregations,
and more. He continued that work until 2016, when mild cognitive impairment set in due to
All of his life David enjoyed the outdoors and being active. Tent camping always brought him
great joy. As a teenager, David and his pals called themselves The Lefty Rightys. Two were left-
handed, two were right-handed. They figured out how to play a game of baseball between two
two-man teams. They played tennis and basketball, too. He continued his love of sports all
through his life, cheering on professional teams (mostly baseball and football) and even joined
a tennis game while touring in China. He enjoyed the fact that he attended the first Super Bowl
game at the L.A. Coliseum. David was a voracious reader of fiction, history, biography. He
devoured the newspaper each day and continued his interest in local and world events until the
very end of his life. He had a life-long love affair with trains and train travel. His children
continue to remember fondly the trip their family took, by train, across Canada, then camping
across the U.S. as they traveled from Seattle to Philadelphia.
David was deeply loved by family and friends across the country and will be deeply missed. His
family is grateful for all the love and support that has been offered in recent days and weeks,
and through the years.
In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to:
Old Pine Presbyterian Church, 412 Pine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Hillman Cancer Center
UPMC Cancer Pavilion, Suite 1B, 5150 Centre Ave,
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
A non-profit/cause of your choice.
A Memorial Service is planned for Saturday, December 10, 2022, 2pm, at Old Pine Presbyterian
Church with a reception following. Private burial at the Old Pine Memorial Garden will precede
the service. Arrangements are handled by the Koller Funeral Home.