Reverend E. Neill Richards, former missionary to Zimbabwe and Zambia

Reverend E. Neill Richards, former missionary to Zimbabwe and Zambia

April 15, 1936 – July 15, 2011

Global Ministries is saddened to learn of the death of the Reverend E. Neill Richards during the early morning hours of July 15, 2011, after a courageous battle against several illnesses. Neill is lovingly survived by his wife of 53 years, Jessie Marilyn; his three sons, Ross, Tendai, and Mark; their wives, Lenore, and Sanaz; his grandchildren, Benjamin, Nicole, Matthew, Sarah, Jacqueline, and Anthony; Benjamin’s mother, Lea Ann; and Neill’s older brother, the Reverend Dr. Stacy Richards.

Neill and Jessie went to Zimbabwe in 1963 and then to Zambia where they served as missionaries until 1967, when they returned to the United States.  Reverend Richards served as the West Coast representative of the United Church Board for World Ministries (UCBWM) from 1969 to 1970; then returned to New York as Director of Missionary Services, and later as Director of the United Church of Christ World Hunger Program through 1990.  During this time he took a sabbatical leave, serving a year in Ghana.  Many of his initiatives, along with his previous missionary work, continue to ensure that many people throughout the world receive food and basic health care.  Reverend Richards retired from active ministry in 2000.

A member of the Community Church of Glen Rock, he also had been an active volunteer at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Whittier College Alumni Association, and a member of the Activities Club.  Neill also was an avid numismatist and basketball fan.  He was a devoted follower of Jeopardy, and loved historic novels, genealogy, and, especially, his grandchildren.  Neill was beloved by each member of his family and will be sorely missed, but fondly remembered.

Messages of condolence can be sent to Mrs. Jessie M. Richards, 27 Lehigh Place, Glen Rock, NJ 07452-1423.

Donations in Neill’s memory can be made to Global Ministries, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland OH  44115 or online