The Rev. Richard W. Whitmore, a pastor for 59 years who led Centennial United Methodist Church in Sacramento from 1957 to 1966, died Monday of congestive heart failure, his family said. He was 85.
The Rev. Whitmore oversaw construction of a new sanctuary for Centennial, which is on Freeport Boulevard near Fruitridge Road. He helped create a cross-shaped design for the building, which is in the landing flight pattern for Executive Airport.
"It could be seen by arriving passengers so they would know that God is present in the community," said his daughter, the Rev. Faith Whitmore, executive director of Francis House.
Ordained in 1952, the Rev. Richard Waverly Whitmore led parishes in Georgia and Santa Clara, Burlingame, Vallejo and Saratoga. He retired at age 62 and settled a few years ago with his wife, Bonnie, in Carmichael.
Born in Elgin, Neb., in 1925, he moved with his family to Atwater during the Great Depression. He graduated from Asbury University in Kentucky, served in the Army and married Bonnie Bacon in 1947.
He earned a master of divinity degree in 1952 at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta and was ordained in the South Georgia Conference. He volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, Heifer Project International and the Red Cross.
Besides his wife, survivors include his daughters, Kathy of Linwood, N.J., and Faith of Sacramento; sons, Rick of Salinas, and Wendell of Paradise; and five grandchildren. A service will be held at 2 p.m. today at St. Mark's United Methodist Church, 2391 St. Mark's Way, Sacramento, CA 95864.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Heifer Project International, in care of St. Mark's United Methodist Church; or Francis House, 1422 C St., Sacramento, CA 95814.
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