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Rev. Dr. Richard C. Cheatham

Rev. Dr. Richard C. Cheatham

Reverend Dr. Richard C. (“Dick”) Cheatham of San Antonio, Texas passed away November 30, 2019 at age 89. He was a multitalented man loved by many and missed by all. Born May 24, 1930 in Detroit, Michigan, he lived an abundant life filled with his faith, family and friends. He gave freely of himself to others and used his intellect and knowledge of Greek to dig deeply into the teachings of Christ and what it meant to be a Christian. He championed the C.R.O.P. Hunger Walk, volunteered on mission trips and devoted his time to working with incarcerated juveniles. He lived his life based on The Beatitudes and, sadly, died before finishing his final book based on these teachings. This would have been his 8th book. All proceeds from his books benefit the San Antonio Food Bank.

He graduated from Wentworth Military Academy in 1948 with a business degree, and then served his country in the Korean conflict as an artillery officer, retiring as a Captain in the Army. At age 31, he left behind his work at the family’s successful sporting goods business and entered the ministry. While serving his first church in Michigan (Napoleon), he commuted to Chicago to obtain his ministerial training at Garrett Theological Seminary and Northwestern University. In 1967 he moved to Ann Arbor where he was asked to start a new church (Ann Arbor: Glacier Way). His sermons and presence were dynamic. The congregation grew robust and energetic, breaking down barriers in the community. It was then that he first developed a real passion for feeding the poor, guiding the church as it started an active food co-op and farmers market of fresh produce.

His leadership and message inspired others to join the ministry. He went on to serve three other United Methodist Churches as senior minister, and another as associate in retirement (Detroit: St. James; Brighton; Franklin: Community), before moving to San Antonio in 1998. As his work was not done, he served as an Assistant Minister at University United Methodist Church for more than a decade. When not preaching, you would find him fulfilling his other passion: playing “Clara” his clarinet. As an accomplished musician, he could play Beethoven to Boogie-Woogie Blues. Until the month before his death he played in the church orchestra and visited nursing homes to bring joy to the patrons.

He was preceded in death by his parents George King Cheatham Sr., Norma (Leslie) and older brother George K. Cheatham Jr.

Wife Diane (Schleicher) who has been at his side and shared in his mission for 68 years survives him. They met at a drama group in Grosse Pointe, Michigan and married in 1951. Their three daughters are Deborah L. Exe (Joseph), Cynthia L. Beamer, and Crystal L. Myers (Philip). Grandchildren are Nicole and Christine Exe, Kathryn and Jessica Beamer (Jeff Dunlea), and Andrew, Abigail and Faith Myers. Nephews include George K. Cheatham and David Schleicher, and nieces Pamela Trudel and Wendy Schleicher.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, December 27th at 10:30 am at University United Methodist Church, 5084 De Zavala Rd, San Antonio, TX.

A second memorial service will also be held in Michigan at 11 AM on June 6, 2020 at Franklin Community Church, 26425 Wellington, Franklin, MI 48025.  Rev. William Ritter and Rev. Carl Price will be officiating the service. A reception will follow.  

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the San Antonio Food Bank or University UMC, San Antonio, Texas.

Condolences may be sent to Diane Cheatham, 6331 Pemwoods Dr., San Antonio, TX 78240.