Obituary for Reverend Dr. Richard Eyster Sigler
The Reverend Dr. Richard Eyster Sigler age 86, died August 28 at his home in Mechanicsburg. Born in Harrisburg September 24, 1926, he was the third son of the late Howard F. and Alice Myers Sigler.
Richard was a 1944 graduate of Camp Hill High School who left school in the middle of his senior year to attend college. He enrolled at Lafayette College and interrupted his education to enlist in the US Army. He served as a Second Lieutenant / Education and Information Officer stationed in Germany. After being discharged from the military he completed his education and earned a B.A. degree in history and education from Lafayette College in 1949. While in college he was active in music organizations, serving as drum major and student director for the marching band. Dick was a loyal member of the Chi Rho fraternity. In 1952 he earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Western Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh and in 1981 a Doctor of Divinity degree from McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago. In 1984 he attended the American Summer Institute at St. Andrews University, Scotland. Dr. Sigler was named the 2008 Distinguished Alumnus in Pastoral Ministry by Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
Dr. Sigler was ordained by the Presbytery of Carlisle in 1952 and began his ministry as pastor of Centre Presbyterian Church, Loysville and Bloomfield Presbyterian Church, New Bloomfield. At the same time he served one year on the music faculty of Blain Union School District. During his ministry he also served as the first Director of Admissions and Registrar at Western Theological Seminary (1958-60) and Director of Development, Public Relations and Alumni Relations at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (1960-63). During his career Dr. Sigler was pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh; Minister of Evangelism at Wayne Presbyterian Church; and Pastor of the historic Presbyterian Church of Falling Spring, Chambersburg.
In 1976 Dr. Sigler was called to be Executive Presbyter of the Presbytery of Kiskiminetas. There he was the spiritual and administrative leader of 94 congregations. During this time he was elected Moderator of the Synod of the Trinity, followed by a year as Chair of Synod Council. Dr. Sigler retired after thirteen years in Kiski Presbytery and was named Executive Emeritus.
Following retirement he served interim pastorates in Latrobe, Abington, New Kensington, New Alexandria, Jeannette, Lower Burrell, Shadyside Church in Pittsburgh, Freeport, Camp Hill, and Loysville. He led Consecration Sunday services in over 50 churches. In 2012 he was named Pastor Emeritus of the Centre Presbyterian Church, where he both began and ended his formal ministry. At the time of his death was an Honorably Retired member of the Presbytery of Carlisle.
Richard served the community beyond the church by leadership in various organizations. In the Harrisburg area he served on the Advisory Board of Presbyterian Apartments, the Board of Directors of the Foreign Policy Association, the Administration Committee of the Presbytery of Carlisle, the Greenwood Hills Homeowners Association Board, and was an active member of Presbyterian Cleric.
In western Pennsylvania Dr. Sigler was a founding member of Presbyterian Media Mission, served on the Board of Directors of the William F. and Mildred Orr Compassionate Care Center, and was Chair of the Alumnae/i Council of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He was a board member and frequent preacher at St. John’s Community Church, Laporte where he vacationed with his family. For many years he was also an annual guest preacher at the Presbyterian Church of Eagles Mere.
Dr. Sigler had a passion for justice which led him to serve as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Anti-Poverty Board of East Liberty and Garfield neighborhoods. In the early 1960’s Dr. Sigler participated in voter registration in Mississippi, and drove the truck that provided food for the civil rights marchers traveling from Selma, Alabama to the Montgomery courthouse. In this capacity he had opportunity to serve Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Beginning in 1975 Dr. Sigler took an interest in the Economic Development Society, a program of the World Council of Churches which makes low interest loans to projects in developing countries. Dr. Sigler served a term as president of the Board of Directors, of the organization now known as OIKOCREDIT U.S.A. He also served on the U.S.A. Board of OIKOCREDIT and traveled to three of its Annual General Meetings in Slovakia, the Cote d’ Ivorie, and Nicaragua.
Richard was predeceased by his parents and three brothers, Robert Myers Sigler, John “Jack” Howard Sigler and Alan Bowman Sigler. His first wife, Judith Kirkpatrick Sigler, to whom he was married for 44 years died in 1997.
Richard is survived by his wife, the Reverend Heather McLaughlin Sigler, daughter Judith Klebanoff of Middletown, son-in-law David Klebanoff, Boston MA; daughter Alice Malfi wife of Andrew, Mays Landing NJ and daughter Sarah Albrecht wife of James, of Chambersburg. Also mourning the death of Gramps are grandchildren Nicole Malfi Nelson and her husband Jerry; Valerie Jean Hudson; Richard Albrecht and his wife Brandi; Jennifer Ann Cramer and her husband Brian; Joshua David Klebanoff, and Jessica Sigler Klebanoff. Great grandchildren include Hannah Elizabeth Mills, Riley Mae Cramer, Hailey Rhone, Raegan Elise Albrecht, Allie Jean Hudson and Andrew Jerry Nelson.
Also grieving Richard’s death are stepchildren Ronald St. Laurent; Andrew Croke, Susan McLaughlin Jones and her husband Gregory. Step grandchildren Alexis, Quinton, Brady, Blake and Benjamin St. Laurent; and William and Richard Jones will also miss “Gramps.”
A celebration of Richard’s life and a Witness to the Resurrection will be held at the Camp Hill Presbyterian Church September 14, at 1:00 pm with the Rev. Dr. David Roquemore officiating. A committal service will be held at Centre Presbyterian Church at the convenience of the family.
Memorial gifts may be made to Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, 616 N. Highland Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15206 and directed to the Alice Myers Sigler Fund or to Centre Presbyterian Church, 3912 Freeman Hollow Rd, Loysville, PA 17047.