Richard F. Wilcox, Sr. B.D. ‘61, S.T.M. ‘73. D.Min. ‘73,
August 12, 2008
Richard F. Wilcox Sr., affectionately called “Big Dad, Uncle Dick, and The Rev.” passed away on August 12, 2008 at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH, following a brief illness. He was 82 and resided in Eaton, NH.
Son of Lucy Osborne French and George Lester Wilcox and brother of Francis Wilcox Percy, Dick Wilcox was born in Fall River, Massachusetts, on Nov. 24, 1925. He enjoyed being distantly related to Lizzie Borden and the still life painter, Robert Spear Dunning. He served in World War II as a navigator and U.S. Naval Reserve Surface Division Officer and attended Boston University.
He married Jean Ferguson of Fall River in 1945. The couple went on to have four children.
In his early married life, Dick was a composer, song-writer, and popular radio personality and DJ on WSAR-Fall River. In 1958, he made a life changing decision to attend Andover Newton Theological School and received a Bachelor of Divinity in 1961, a Master of Sacred Theology in 1973, and a Doctor of Ministry in 1973.
He pastored the Rehobeth-Dighton Congregational, the Middleton Congregational, the Fall River First Congregational, and the Conway Village Congregational churches and was often an invited guest preacher. He became “Pastor Emeritus” at the Conway Village Congregational Church. He created the “Middleton Pastoral Counseling Center” and led the first internationally recognized ecumenical service between Catholics and Protestants in the 1960s.
A leader in the education of clergy during the ‘60s and ‘70s, Dick was a lecturer in the Andover Newton Psychology Department and leader of the Pastoral Counseling Training Consortium and Andover Newton’s CPE establishment. He subsequently served on the Board of Trustees. Notable honors include: “The Lex King Souter Humanitarian Award,” several “Official Citations” from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, “The Silver Bowl” in recognition of promoting Portuguese culture in Fall River, “The Cutting Gold Medal for Religion and Medicine,” and was co-founder of “Dollars for Scholars,” which has provided billions of dollars in scholarships.
Dick was one of the original campers at Tohkomeupog of East Madison, NH. His love of the mountains led him to trek the Himalayas with wife Jean and son Rick in 1988. He was an active member of the VFW, the Rotary (Paul Harris Fellow), the Romeos, and the Masons.
He is survived by his wife, Jean, his children, Richard F. Wilcox, Jr., Robert Ferguson Wilcox, Jane Stewart Wilcox Hively, and Benjamin Edward Wilcox, his grand-children, Heather Adams, Rebecca Ferguson, Douglas Robert, Mariah Einstein, Russell Ferguson, Gillian Gahagan, and step-grandchildren, Devin and Megan Friel and Jacob and Reed Davis.
(Information submitted by Jane Stewart Wilcox Hively and the Rev. Dr. David Preston Lennox M.Div. ‘82, D.Min. ‘95)