The Rev. Dr. Homer T. Rickabaugh, 80, a distinguished alumnus of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary who also served on the seminary’s Alum Board of Directors, died at his home in Statesville, NC on Dec. 28.
A pastor, educator and missionary, Rickabaugh, was born in Wilmington, DE, and raised in Montoursville, PA. A graduate of Maryville College (TN), Rickabaugh graduated from Louisville Seminary in 1957 (MDiv) with a Fielding Lewis Walker Fellowship in Doctrinal Theology. He was ordained by Northumberland Presbytery that same year and took his first call to mission service in South Korea, where he taught at the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Seoul from 1957-1960 and again from 1961-1979.
"I knew Homer as a colleague through the Presbyterian Church (USA) and before that as a missionary in Korea," said Cliff Kirkpatrick, Visiting Professor of Ecumenical Studies and Global Ministries at Louisville Seminary. "He was a gentle spirit who made a great contribution to the church's world mission and to the church here in the United States."
Between his mission service in South Korea, Rickabaugh completed a Master of Theology (1962) at Union Theological Seminary (VA), where he met and married Natalie Rose Abbott, who survives him.
Upon their return to the United States in 1979, Rickabaugh served as missionary-in-residence at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC. He later served pastorates in Raeford and Morganton, NC. He earned a Doctor of Ministry degree in 1981 from San Francisco Seminary.
In 1987 Rickabaugh joined the PC(USA) national staff, where he was consultant and coordinator for more than 100 partnerships between Presbyterian churches in the United States and their partner churches around the world until his retirement in the late 1990s.
In retirement, he stayed active in the Association of Presbyterians for Cross-Cultural Mission and in congregations in Louisville and Statesville. In 2003, he was named a distinguished alumnus by Louisville Seminary. He began serving on the Seminary’s Alum Board in 2011.
In addition to his wife, Rickabaugh is survived by three children: Beth Rickabaugh Setzer, Dr. John Clyde Rickabaugh and Judy Rickabaugh Candler; and five grandchildren—Mark Ryan Rickabaugh, John Parker Rickabaugh, Sara Margaret Setzer, Rachel Caroline Setzer, and Andrew Davis Setzer.
Memorial gifts may made to the World Mission Division of the PC(USA), 100 Witherspoon St., Louisville, KY 40202-1396; Iredell Christian Ministries, 322 East Front St., Statesville, NC 28677; or First Presbyterian Church, 125 North Meeting St., Statesville, NC 28677.