Rev. Dr. Richard E. Ice, Champion of Religious Freedom, Dies

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Rev. Dr. Richard E. Ice, Champion of Religious Freedom, Dies

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 3/21/14)—Rev. Dr. Richard E. Ice, 83, president emeritus of American Baptist Homes of the West (ABHOW) and a champion of religious liberty, died March 15 among family members at his home in Alameda, California.

He was president and CEO of ABHOW for 23 years before retiring in 1995. He served American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) as part of the Mission Support Group, 1961-64, as director of loans for American Baptist Extension Corp., 1961-1964, and as treasurer, 1967-1972. He was associate executive minister, American Baptist Churches of Northern California, 1965-1968, and director of church extension, Washington Baptist Convention, 1959-1961.

In 2011, ABHMS presented him with the Religious Freedom Award. The same year, he was a recipient of the Baptist Joint Committee (BJC) for Religious Liberty’s J.M. Dawson Religious Liberty Award. In addition, he is listed in “Who’s Who in the West” and among 1967’s “Outstanding Young Men of America.” He received the Meritorious Service Award from American Association of Homes for the Aging, Award of Honor from California Association of Homes for the Aging and a merit citation from American Baptist Homes and Hospitals Association.

“Dick Ice was ‘Mr. American Baptist.’ His entire life and ministry were dedicated to serving our Lord through American Baptist Churches USA. He was particularly gifted in living out the Great Commandment, using his heart for people and head for business to make a definitive difference in the lives of many,” says ABHMS Executive Director Rev. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III. “I was privileged to serve alongside Dr. Ice for the last 23 years in various capacities of ministry. Dick will certainly be missed.”

Ordained in 1954, Ice served as minister of Ridgecrest Community Baptist Church, Seattle, Washington, 1955-1959; minister of education, First Baptist Church (FBC), Modesto, California, 1954-1955; and interim pastor, Montclair Presbyterian Church, Oakland, California, 1953; and FBC, Amity, Oregon, 1951-1952.

He had served on numerous boards and committees, including as vice president of American Baptist Churches USA, 1990-1991, on its general board, 1981-1989, and on its Development Advisory Council, 2004-2006; as president of American Baptist Homes and Hospitals Association; as board chair of Ministers Life and Casualty Co.; as chair of the board of directors of Ministers Life; as a member of the Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board; as a council member for Boy Scouts of America; as a trustee for California/Nevada Methodist Homes; as commissioner for the Continuing Care Accreditation Commission, Washington, D.C.; on the Human Rights Commission of the Baptist World Alliance; as director on the Board for Baptist Life, Buffalo, New York; as a trustee of Murrow Indian Children’s Home and Bacone College, both Muskogee, Oklahoma, and Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California; and as a 40-year board member of the BJC, most recently, as chair of its endowment.

Born Sept. 25, 1930, in Fort Lewis, Washington, he was a son of the late Shirley Mitchell Ice and Nellie Rebecca (Pedersen) Ice.

He earned a Master of Arts from Berkeley Baptist Divinity School in 1959 and a Bachelor of Arts from Linfield College, McMinnville, Oregon, in 1952. He served as a trustee and chair of the board at Linfield, which awarded him an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. In addition, he was a trustee emeritus, trustee and board chair for American Baptist Seminary of the West, Berkeley, which awarded him an honorary Doctor of Divinity. He attended the Advancement Management Program of the Harvard University Graduate School of Business.

He was a member of Lakeside Avenue Baptist Church, Oakland, California.

He was predeceased by his wife, Lucille (Daniels) Ice. He is survived by daughters, Lorinda, wife of Steve Bradley of Sebastopol, Calif., Diana, wife of Paul van Dyk of Roseburg, Oregon, and Julianne, wife of Eric Edmondson of Mill Valley, California; and grandchildren, Megan, Sean, Greggory, Joshua, Katherine, Kira, Nathan, James and Mia.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 5, at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, 3534 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland, CA 94610.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies—the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA—ministers as the caring heart and serving hands of Jesus Christ across the United States and Puerto Rico through a multitude of initiatives that focus on discipleship, community and justice.

American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.