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Richert, David H. (1875-1964) | Mennonite Archival Commons

Name: Richert, David H. (1875-1964)

Historical Note:

obituary from Mennonite Weekly Review

Dr. David H. Richert, professor emeritus of mathematics and astronomy at Bethel College, died Saturday morning, Nov. 28, at Bethel Deaconess Hospital in Newton after a brief illness. He was 89. Affectionately known over the years as "Uncle Davy," he had served on the Bethel faculty for a full half century. He retired from full-time teaching in 1946, but continued on a part-time basis for another ten years.

Dr. Richert was born in the Alexanderwohl community on March 8, 1875, the son of Rev. Heinrich and Helena Unruh Richert. He attended the Bethel College Academy, graduating in 1899. After continuing his studies at Bethel for several more years, he attended the State Normal School at Emporia and later Oberlin College in Ohio, from which he received the A. B. degree in 1909.

After several years as a rural school teaching and four years as principal and teacher of mathematics at Moundridge High School, Dr. Richert joined the Bethel College faculty as teacher of mathematics in 1906. In his early years at the college he also taught at number of other subjects. In 1915 he became professor of mathematics and astronomy.

He received the A. M. degree from the University of Colorado in 1928. In 1945 Bethel College conferred on him the honorary Doctor of Science degree.

His marriage to Edith von Steen of Beatrice, Neb. took place in 1912, and soon afterward they built a new house on the Bethel campus which has been their home to the present time.

During his long teaching career Dr. Richert frequently contributed articles to scientific journals, as well as writing in a more popular style for church publications. He was a member of the American Mathematical Assn., and was active in his church and community. At one time he served as treasurer of the General Conference Board of Missions.

Respected by colleagues and students alike, Dr. Richert left a lasting influence on past generations of Bethel students, who remember him for his personal interest and concern, his ability to inspire interest in the subjects he taught, his ready smile and sense of humor. In spite of his handicap of deafness, he maintained a lively interest in the college and its students until his death.

Commenting on his decision to devote his life to teaching in a small church college, he stated upon retirement, "I have never been sorry I came. Growing up with a school and its people and laying the foundation of mathematics in the lives of many young people has given me all the satisfaction I need."

Survivors in addition to his widow include a son, Roland, of Globe, Ariz., one daughter, Mrs. Roland (Ethel) Schmidt of Pawnee Rock, Kan., and five grandchildren.

Memorial services were conducted Tuesday forenoon in the Bethel College Mennonite Church, of which he was a member, and were largely attended by friends and associates. Rev. Russell Mast, the pastor, officiated.

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