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Rev. Dr. Richard D. Rettew, 91, retired pastor of Lancaster Presbyterian Church

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.

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