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Welcome to the memorial page for

Rev. James O. Rich

April 13, 1932 ~ August 4, 2017 (age 85)

 

Reverend Dr. James O. Rich will be remembered for his devotion to God, his love for his family, church family and an extraordinary commitment to his community.

He was born during segregation in Sumter, South Carolina, the catalyst that led him to take an active role in fighting for justice and civil rights.  He attended Green Elementary School and graduated from Lincoln High School, Sumter, SC, decades before South Carolina’s School Equalization Program which was created to build decent schools for Black students in order to prevent integration. He graduated from Morris College, Sumter, SC with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education. He also earned the Bachelor of Divinity Degree as well as the Master of Divinity Degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse School of Religion, Atlanta, Georgia. He did additional post graduate work at the Lutheran Southern Seminary, Columbia, South Carolina.  In 1975, he received the Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Morris College.

Reverend Rich was just a teenager when he accepted the call to become a minister of the gospel.  He took his first official position in 1954, Assistant Minister at his home church, Trinity Baptist Church, in Sumter, SC.  In 1955 and for the next five years, he served simultaneously as pastor of two churches, Second Baptist Church, Hartsville, SC and Mount Rona Baptist Church, Florence, SC.  He also taught at Ebenezer High School in Dazell, SC and went on to serve as an instructor and eventually Dean of the School of Religion at Morris College in Sumter, SC.  For almost half a century, from 1960 to 2007, he was pastor of Saint Paul Baptist Church in Anderson, SC.  In addition to his responsibilities as pastor at Saint Paul, he was President of the NAACP in Anderson County for 22 years. 

Reverend Rich was a true servant of God and a servant of the people. He dedicated his life to bringing souls to Christ and was a tireless advocate for young people and ministers, actively encouraging them to advance their education. His efforts led to many students attending college, others gaining and/or enhancing their employment. He taught that preparation is a key factor for success and that once success was achieved, you must to be humble and give back by helping others. He walked the walk and it was evident in his humility, preparation and willingness to lend a helping hand.

He championed the idea that everyone could contribute to improving humanity. He sincerely believed God could use the least of us to do his work.  As a result, he mentored an untold number of people in virtually every walk of life. He was generous with his time and gifts and freely shared the impact of his faith and belief in God.

Reverend Rich was a gifted orator and public speaker. He also had the unusual gift of shifting to a soft voice, making you feel that you were the only person in a crowded room. He lifted your spirit with his presence, a listening ear and by providing sound advice.

Reverend Rich profoundly loved the members of Saint Paul Baptist Church. He valued their Christian service, their commitment and their loyalty. Further, he was grateful for their love for the church, for humanity and for his family. Neither he nor his family will ever forget the acts of kindness and genuine love shown throughout his pastorate and during his illness, as well as that of his beloved late wife Arabella Rich. He married Arabella Deforester Hester in 1956. They remained devoted to each other, their children and Saint Paul Baptist Church until her death in 2013.

Reverend Rich will be lovingly remembered by: his son, Stanley L. (Phyllis) Rich of Anderson, SC; his daughter, Stephanie R. Rich of Arlington, TX; his grandson, Stanford A. Rich of Grayson, GA; one sister, Marie Porter of Lynchburg, VA; one brother-in-law, Bishop John (Wilma) Hester of Greenville, SC; two sisters-in-law, Ingeborg Hester of Baltimore, MD, and Helen Sallette of Lanham, MD; several nieces and nephews, and many friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Phillip and Rosa McFadden Rich; brothers, William Elijah, Abraham and John Rich; and sisters Pearl and Rosa Lee Rich.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the J.O.Rich Center at St. Paul Baptist Church.


 Service Information

Public Viewing
Friday
August 11, 2017

9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Rich-Colonial Funeral Home
1619 South McDuffie St
Anderson, SC 29624

Public Viewing
Friday
August 11, 2017

12:00 PM to 8:00 PM
St. Paul Baptist Church
322 W. Reed St
Anderson, SC 29624

Visitation
Friday
August 11, 2017

6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
St. Paul Baptist Church
322 W. Reed St
Anderson, SC 29624

Funeral Service
Saturday
August 12, 2017

11:00 AM
Boulevard Baptist Church
700 Boulevard
Anderson, SC 29621

Entombment
Saturday
August 12, 2017

Forest Lawn Memorial Park
2609 US-29N
anderson, SC 29621


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