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Dr. Russell Kenneth Rickert passed away on Friday evening, March 2, 2018, surrounded by his family in his home in West Goshen Township, Pennsylvania.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 68 years Irene Elliott Rickert, his children Noel G. Rickert of Lambertville, NJ; Merryl L. (Ronald) Grosso of Landisburg, PA; Russell K. (Robin) Rickert, Jr. of West Goshen; eleven grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren; and his sisters Emma Rhoda Clark of Harleysville, PA; and Fern Wilson of Bradenton, FL.
He was preceded in death by his siblings Melvin, Ruth, Matilda, Virginia, Cecil, Mazie, David, Paul, Marcus, Catharine, Frances, Esther, Florence, and Robert, and his daughter Carol Lynn.
Russell was born at home on February 6, 1926, the twelfth of seventeen children of Peter and Emma (Albright) Rickert on a small farm in Hilltown Township, Bucks County. He attended a one-room school house 1st -8th grades, Blooming Glen High School 9th-11th, and his senior year graduated valedictorian of Doylestown High School in 1943. He was drafted into the US Army in 1944, served as a driver of an Anti-Tank Vehicle in France and Germany in the Army of Occupation, and was discharged at the rank of Sergeant Technician Fourth Grade in 1946.
Russell attended West Chester State Teachers College, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics in 1950. He married Irene Elliott of Hammonton, NJ, on June 11, 1949. He taught secondary school in Seaford, DE, and Centerville, MD, before being invited to take a position of Professor of Physics at his Alma Mater in 1956. He obtained a Master of Science from the University of Delaware in 1953 and a Doctor of Education from the New York University in 1961. In 1974 he authored a college text book, Astronomy and Space Exploration. He also served as Dean of the School of Science and Mathematics at West Chester University for more than a decade.
After 34 years at WCU, he retired in 1990, and devoted his remaining 28 years of life to service in his church and his community. At Goshen Baptist Church, he spent many years as a deacon and elder, a Stephen’s Minister, a Sunday school teacher for two-year-olds, as well as a Bible teacher for an adult Sunday school class.
He was a Lions Club member and leader since 1972, along with his wife Irene. He volunteered at the West Chester Area Senior Center and as chairman of the planning committee, he organized Spaghetti Dinner fundraisers, cooked breakfast twice a week, kept the kitchen stocked, and successfully resurrected the bookstore, Second Reading, in downtown West Chester.
From 1983 until 2017 Russ organized and prepared the food for the Festival of Thanksgiving Community Dinner co-founded by the late Herb Balian. He built sets for both the local 49ers Chorus and the Gilbert & Sullivan Society for 20 years. In 2006 the Chamber of Commerce of Greater West Chester conferred on Russ the 2005 Outstanding Citizen of the Year award.
But most important to Russ, he dedicated his life to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and to building relationships with his eleven grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren, whom he cherished.
The family warmly invites all to a viewing at Goshen Baptist Church, 1451 West Chester Pike, West Chester, at 10:00 am on Monday, March 12, followed by a memorial service at 11:30 am and a luncheon at 1:00 pm.
A private interment at Hilltown Baptist Church Cemetery will be held the following day, accompanied by a Military Detail.
In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the West Chester Area Senior Center, 530 East Union Street, West Chester, PA 19382.