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Obituary: Staub, Rev. Charles Richard (Dick)

STAUB, Rev. Charles Richard “Dick”

Born in a parsonage in Santa Rosa California on April 5th, 1923, after Walter (Bud) Staub Jr. and Louise, he was the youngest of Rev. Walter and Magdalena’s three children. Like many preacher’s kids he moved a lot as a boy, living in Mansfield, Ohio, Ottawa, Canada and San Diego, California. When his father became a District Superintendent in the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA) the family settled in at Glendale, California where as a teen young Dick cultivated his love of jazz by sneaking off to the hear the big bands so popular in the 1940’s.

He loved his mother dearly but she did not believe jazz was the proper pursuit for a teen seeking holiness and insisted that he smash his big band record albums to prove his devotion to God. In a great public act of apparent heartfelt contrition, he ceremoniously broke the albums one at a time, never confessing he had inserted John Phillip Souza albums into the Big Band record jackets. Thus began a lifelong pattern of independent thinking as it related to the exercise of true religion.

The loss of his mother when he was eighteen resulted in some soul-searching and he headed off to Seattle’s Simpson Bible Institute to try to find himself and find God. Dick did find himself and God at Simpson, and he also found the love of his life, Esther Maybelle Hall. When he first saw her radiant smile in the dining hall he muttered under his breath, “nobody has reason to be that happy.” Esther’s roommate was her childhood friend Mary Jane Mayo and timid young Dick befriended his opposite, a forceful, rough-hewn motorcycle-riding Merchant Marine, Jim Sellers. Jim and Mary Jane fell in love, Dick and Esther fell in love, and the four became lifelong friends. With Dick’s baritone/tenor, Jims Bass, Mary Jane’s Alto and Esther’s Soprano their quartet warmed many hearts.

The end of World War II coincided roughly with his completion of college but young Dick’s career was off to an unpromising start. He was working as he put it, in the corporate offices of ABC (he was a janitor at the American Biscuit Company), while supporting a wife and his first two children, Dick Jr. and Becky.

Finally a breakthrough! The CMA gave Dick his first assignment, one where he could do little damage, a small town community church in Bly, Oregon. Here he indulged his love of Bible study, research, bird watching and stamp collecting, and with the warm effervescent Esther at his side, began demonstrating a life-long trait, the ability to relate to people of all walks of life. A third child, Ruth, was born in nearby Klamath Falls.

In 1953 the Staub family moved to Fullerton, California where he became pastor of a small church with thirteen people in attendance. The Sellers family moved from Washington to come alongside their efforts, and within years a vibrant, healthy growing church blossomed. Dick also found his love for jazz was being displaced by his love of classical music, a taste he could indulge because of LA’s premiere classical station KFAC.

In Fullerton a fourth child, Timothy Arthur Staub, was born with serious brain damage. Amazingly, these most challenging years were also among Dick’s most productive, as he pastored a growing church, oversaw a building program, graduated from California State Fullerton with a Masters degree in English Literature (with highest honors), while with wife Esther raising four children, one of whom was severely handicapped and who required an immense amount of time, energy and love.

In 1966 the Staubs’ accepted a call to Spokane, Washington where Dick pastored the Garland Avenue Alliance Church. Again the church flourished, and as it had throughout his career, Dick’s gift of mentoring young men was again apparent as numerous young people devoted themselves to the pursuit of God’s call on their personal and professional lives. Lifelong collaboration in ministry with friends was evident again in Spokane as the Sellers and two couples from the Fullerton Church, Bill and Joyce Siewert and Ray and Ruth Brown, moved to Spokane and became active co-laborers in ministry.

In 1979 a third pastorate beckoned, this one in Richmond, California, where among other things the Staubs began their “For Love of His Land” trips to Israel. After 13 years of fruitful ministry in Richmond the Staubs’ retired, returning to Spokane, the scene of many happy memories and home to so many lifelong friends.

Dick was named Pastor Emeritus of Garland Avenue Church and with Esther enjoyed an active ministry. By now the Staubs were grandparents and dutifully indulged Joshua, Jessica, Heidi and Molly Staub; Chris, Heather and Amy Skellie; Sierra, Jesse and Katie Martin.

In 2000 with Esther showing signs of dementia, the Staubs moved to CRISTA Senior Center where Dick taught a Bible study and devoted increasing amounts of time to caring for his beloved wife, Esther. After Esther’s death in 2005 Dick moved to live with daughter Becky and her family, then eventually to Wynnwood Retirement Center. During that time he began writing a provocative series about early CMA history.

Dick Staub exhibited the humility so characteristic of his lifetime of service when in instructions about his eulogy he wrote, “Forget it! My word “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling” can be a brief summary of my life.”

Dick Staub is survived by four children, Dick Staub Jr. (wife Kathy), Becky Skellie (Husband Phil), Ruth Martin (Husband Tommy), Timothy Staub, ten grandchildren and six great grandchildren. They will always remember him as a man with a keen, eclectic, incurably insatiable mind, a warm, loving heart, dry self-deprecating wit and a soul dedicated wholly to the pursuit of God.

A Memorial Service celebrating Dick Staub’s life will be held at GARLAND AVENUE ALLIANCE CHURCH on Friday September 14th at 2PM.