Rev. Richard P. Jennings, age 89, previously from Sault Ste. Marie and Cedarville, Michigan, died October 7, 2016 at Burcham Hills in East Lansing, Michigan. Dick was born in 1926 in Flint, Michigan to Richard and Maybelle (Unsworth) Jennings. Dick was raised in Flint and upon graduation from Flint Central High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served during WWII. He went on to graduate from University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Art degree in Radio Speech. Having played some football at Michigan ('46-'47, second string), he was an avid fan. In 1948, while at U of M, he married Lillian Gill, his high school sweetheart. He and Lil then moved to Arlington, Virginia, where he earned his Master of Divinity at Virginia Theological Seminary. He was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1954. They lived in a number of locations as he served various parishes and did a tour of duty in the U.S. Air Force, as a chaplain in the Strategic Air Command. In the late 1960s, he left fulltime ministry to go back to school at Central Michigan University, to earn his Master degree in Rhetoric and Public Address. In 1970, Dick and his family moved to Sault Ste. Marie where he was a professor in the English Department at Lake Superior State University, teaching various classes in speech and communications. While at LSSU he started Debate, Forensic, and Reader's Theater programs. He loved meeting and working with many students over the years. In 1993, he was awarded the Certificate of Merit from the Michigan Association of Governing Board of State Universities as a Distinguished Faculty Member. He retired from LSSU in 1998. During these years Dick also served as a county commissioner, and for a time as Chairman, on the Chippewa County Commission. He considered it an honor to be elected to, and to serve, in those capacities. In retirement, he was able to enjoy spending more time acting and singing in a variety of plays and musicals around the Eastern Upper Peninsula and in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (Annie, My Fair Lady, Annie Get Your Gun, and On Golden Pond, to name a few). His love of singing began in childhood when he and his twin brother, David, sang in the boys' choir at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Flint, and continued in the Sault where he enjoyed singing as a baritone in the Mary Wood Chorus. He also continued his service in ministry as a supply clergy at a number of churches, of various denominations, especially in the Upper Peninsula and also in areas in Lower Michigan. From 1992-2005, he served as a board member on the Board of the Chippewa County Health Department. His experiences were numerous and he enjoyed meeting and working with many people throughout his career and retirement. Dick is survived by his wife of 68 years, Lillian Jennings; daughters, Sue (Randy) Milligan of Williamsburg, Virginia, and Beth (Keith) Belonga of Williamston, Michigan. Also surviving him are his grandchildren, Taylor Belonga and Michael Milligan; sisters-in-law, Marion Law, Gee Kalasky, and Katherine Jennings; brother-in-law, Jim (Kathy) Gill; and many nieces and nephews. Dick was preceded in death by his parents; son, David Jennings; brothers, Harry Jennings and David Jennings; sister-in-law, Lee Jennings; brothers-in-law, Jack Kalasky, John Hessel, and Jack Law. Dick especially loved the years that he and Lil lived in the Sault. He had a passion for serving in the community in a variety of roles. He always gave each endeavor 110 percent. He will be lovingly missed by his family and friends for his compassion, sense of humor and booming voice. Visitation will be held on Friday, October 21, 2016, at R. Galer Funeral Home, 24549 S. M-129, Pickford, Michigan, from 6-8 p.m. and Saturday, October 22, 2016 from 12-2 p.m. Funeral Services will begin at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to High Rocks Academy, 195 Thompson Rd., Hillsboro, WV, 24946 or to the Hospice House of EUP, 308 W. 12th Ave, Sault Ste. Marie, MI, 49783. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.rgalerfuneralhome.com.
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