Reverend Richard Jessee Detweiler, 84, of Kirksville, Missouri, passed away Wednesday (July 25, 2012) at his home surrounded by family. He is survived by his loving wife Mary Louise Wooldridge Detweiler of sixty years; his brother, John “Jack” Detweiler and his wife Kimmi of Colorado Springs, CO; his four children and five grandchildren, Richard Lee Detweiler of Kirksville and his wife Sue Detweiler and their two children Dr. Chrystal Detweiler, Sara Detweiler and husband Josh Funk. Peter W. Detweiler of Kirksville and his three children Abby Louise Detweiler, Ashley Detweiler Barnes and husband Trent, and Jesse W. Detweiler. Richard and Mary Louise’s youngest children also reside in Kirksville, Paul W. Detweiler and Susan Louise Detweiler.
Born October 8, 1927, in Chicago, Illinois, Richard Jessee was the son of Richard S. Detweiler and Zella Jessee Detweiler. The family then later made their home in St. Louis where Richard spent most of his childhood and young adult years. Richard graduated from central Methodist College in Fayette, Missouri in 1949 when he decided to pursue the ministry. He served his first church at that time, the Madison-Honeywell Methodist Circuit. From there he attended Southern Methodist University (SMU) at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas. While in Dallas he met Mary Louise Wooldridge who was also attending SMU. They married on June 21, 1952, in Houston, Texas. After they were married and had both graduated from SMU, they moved to New York City for Richard to attend New York University (NYU) at Union Theological Seminary. While Richard attended school Mary Louise worked at Chase Manhattan Bank.
Together Reverend Richard J. Detweiler and Mary Louise Detweiler served the United Methodist Church across the state of Missouri. Reverened Detweiler’s first two assignments were in St. Louis, Missouri, at St. John’s Methodist (1953-1955) and Concord Trinity United Methodist Church (1956-1959). Bishop Ivan Lee Holt then appointed the Detweiler’s to Hayti, Missouri to serve the Hayti United Methodist Church for six years. In 1965, Rev. Detweiler was appointed by Bishop Eugene Frank to be Program Director of the Missouri East Conference in Crystal City unitl 1970. From there the Detweiler family was appointed by Bishop Robert Goodrich to Kirksville to serve the First United Methodist Church until 1976. For six months, Reverend Detweiler stood in as the Superintendent of the Mexico District and then continued on as the Superintendent of the Hannibal-Kirksville District (1976–1982). The Detweilers’ served their last church in Farmington, Missouri at Memorial Methodist Church (1982-1987). Bishop W.T. Handy appointed Reverend Detweiler to his last assignment before retiring serving as the Superintendent of the St. Louis North District for four years.
Richard and Mary Louise Detweiler retired in Kirksville, Missouri in 1991 to be with their four children and five grandchildren. In retirement, Reverend Richard gave his time to Epworth Children’s Home based in St. Louis, Missouri. He also served as Pastor Emeritus at First United Methodist Church in Kirksville.
Public visitation will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Friday (July 27, 2012) at the First United Methodist Church in Kirksville.
Funeral service will be held 10:00 a.m. Saturday (July 28, 2012) at the First United Methodist Church in Kirksville, under the direction of Travis-Noe Funeral Home of Kirksville. Reverend Richard Northcutt will officiate the service with Entombment following at Park View Memorial Gardens in Kirksville.
Pallbearers will be Jesse W. Detweiler, Dr. Tim Thompson, Dr. Richard Mercer, Trent Barnes, Dale D. Motter and Reverend Jim Robinson.
Expressions of sympathy in memory of Reverend Richard Jessee Detweiler may be made to the Epworth Children’s Home of St. Louis. Memorials may be left at the First United Methodist Church or mailed to Travis-Noe Funeral Home, P.O. Box 306, Kirksville, MO 63501.