Friday, May 24, 2024

Robert Evans Rector


Robert Evans Rector

January 11, 1944 -January 21, 2023

Robert Evans Rector was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on January 11, 1944. Soon after, the family moved to Richland, Washington, where he spent his childhood. After graduating from high school in 1962, he attended the University of Puget Sound,  graduating with degrees in history and religious studies. He then went on to study at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. Robert married Jean Wright of Denver in 1970. They had three children, Dustin, Angie, and Lisa.

His first posting after graduating from Iliff Seminary was to St. John United Methodist Church in St. John, Washington. While there, he established a senior center for the elderly of the community and organized a motorcycle club for the youth. One of the stipulations of the Saturday racers in the club was that they attend Sunday service the week before. Often those in the club were then seen all together in the pews, “paying their dues” for the next week's race.

Robert was transferred to the Des Moines United Methodist Church in January 1972, and also served at the Lake Washington United Methodist Church in Kirkland from 1977 until 1985. Robert retired from the ministry in 1985 to take over the family business, Western Sintering, in Richland, WA. where he worked and remained as Chairman of the board until his death. During his later years in Richland, Robert became Secretary of the Ben Franklin Village Association. One of their projects was building a retirement community in Kennewick called Canyon Lakes, the first of its kind in the area.

Robert married Judy Person in 2003 and together they enjoyed 20 years traveling, building their Leavenworth home, enjoying friends, and experiencing retired life. Robert’s favorite past-times included bird hunting (even the wild turkeys in the back yard!), deer hunting, hiking, and camping in Glacier Peak wilderness, writing, traveling and flying his powered parachute.

One of Robert’s many fine qualities was his generosity of spirit. He was very concerned that everyone has an opportunity to improve themselves.

To that end he gifted some of his employees down payments on their homes and paid for the university educations of others. He also gifted three of his children with the home equity needed so they could have homes of their choice. Supporting education was important to Robert, sponsoring a Jordanian student while she received her master’s degree here at Seattle U, a Haitian student while experiencing a summer medical experience at Cascade Medical, and paying for the education and support of four Haitian students in Haiti. He always said he had everything he needed, and he was eager to help others along their chosen path.

Robert Evans Rector died on January 21, 2023, after a 6-week battle with aggressive pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his wife Judy, and his children, Dustin Aaron Rector (from Redmond), Angie Maureen Merlot (from Richland), Lisa Lonette Thomas (from Orofino, ID), and Judy’s children Dr. Kira Brooke Mauseth (from Mukilteo) and Dr. Kathryn Rice Ilgen (from Sheridan, WY). He has ten grandchildren whom he always lovingly called "Yours, mine and ours.” They are Chess, Britton, Max, Logan, Loni, Lola, Tiare, Emmy, Tanner, and Rylan. Heritage Memorial is in charge of all arrangements. Robert’s Life Celebration will be held on April 15 at Mountain View Cemetery graveside and Community United Methodist Church. If you wish to honor Robert’s life with a gift, please donate to the American Cancer Society or the United Methodist Church Backpack program which feeds hungry kids on weekends.