Rickey, Harry Wigginton


May 23, 1872 - November 27, 1948
Harry Wingginton Rickey was born May 23, 1872 in Ocean Springs, Mississippi at the summer home of his parents, Mr. R. S. Rickey and Mrs. Virginia Wigginton Rickey. Mr. Rickey was a bus-iness man living in New Orleans and engaged in business in that city for many years. Harry was one of a large family of children, six of whom grew to maturity. The family was closely identified with the Methodist Church in New Orleans. Both Mr. and Mrs. Rickey were engaged in the work of the Church. Brother Rickey attended Tulane University and graduated from that institution with the B. S. degree in June 1892. He was a diligent and efficient student, particularly in-terested in the courses in the field of science leading to his degree. He was accurate in his information and discriminating in his judgments concerning the work he pursued. During his last year at the university I saw him often, and we had many conversations about the matters he was engaged in the question of life was, of course7 pressing on him at this time. We frequently talked about his entering the Christian ministry. He was careful and deliberate in weighing the fact of a call to the ministry. His decision was definite and final. He was licensed to preach by the quarterly conference of the Louisiana Avenue Church in New Orleans in 1893 under the pastorate of Dr. John T. Sawyer. He was sent as junior preacher for the rest of the year to Morgan City. In the fall of this year he was admitted on trial at the conference, which met in Homer, and appointed to serve as junior preacher under Dr. James L. Pierce at First Church, Shreveport, La. He was launched into the work by a deeply spiritual Christian and able preacher. He was ordained deacon in 1895 and elder in 1898.
Brother Rickey was married to Miss Octavia Wynn December 24, 1896, a most gracious Christian and fellow helper in the work of the church. Her father, the late Rev. John F. Wynn and her brother also in the church triumphant, Dr. Robert H. Wynn were highly effective and honored members of the Louisiana Conference. Mrs. Rickey is-still with her friends and loved ones. To this union were born sir Sons and one daughter. One son, John Gorton, after service in the army in Panama died in 1941; the remaining children are Dr. Harry Wynn Rickey; Horace B. Rickey; Dr. Frank A. Rickey; Rev. Henry A. Rickey and Miss Octavia Virginia Rickey. There are nine grandchil-dren. The fiftieth anniversary of this marriage was celebrated as the crowning day of a long and happy life. Who can estimate the lasting influence of such a devoted Christian union and the heritage of faith and service given in their day?
On account of failing health, in November 1940 Brother Rickey took the superannuate relation and moved to a home provided by one of his sons in North Biloxi, Mississippi. Here amid the scenes of the Gulf Coast he spent the remaining years of his life in surroundings dear from childhood. He suffered serious illness there from time to time and passed away on November 27, 1948. His end was gentle; and in the holy peace of God’s true servants he yielded his spirit to God who gave it. His last conscious days were spent in the study of the Sermon on the Mount and in having the precious promises read to him. His mortal body was laid to rest in the Biloxi cemetery after services of recognition and gracious memory by several brother ministers.
It was my privilege to share the parsonage of the First Methodist Church in Baton Rouge with Brother and Sister Rickey while they were serving the Second Church. The memory of those days has lingered with me: it was a companionship gracious and rewarding. Brother Rickey was a student and a great reader. He delighted in getting hold of great books, and he had a gift for extracting from them their essential contents. He loved to discuss and evaluate our great doctrinal heritage and was keen in detecting the enemies of our faith and defending it in no uncertain terms. One of his favorite texts was Psalm 84:11 “For the Lord God is a sun and a shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”
He was an excellent preacher: careful in working up and stating his subjects and developing their practical application. He was biblical and experimental and had a keen sense of the needs of his hearers, practical and to the point. Withal he had a fine feeling for the needy and distressed. He went his own way and never lacked in the courage of his convictions. He had a fine sense of humor which enriched his conversation and used to some effect in his preaching.
His personal religious life was intense and reflective. lie often talked with me about his aspiration for a closer walk with God and a richer experience of the love of Christ The grace of an unswerving sincerity pervaded his daily walk and conversation. He was a devoted friend and cherished his friendships as among the rare gifts of God. And yet, the every day human scene intrigued his mind and heart. He understood the sorrows and conflicts which enter the common life of us all. He also knew the meaning of victory in the spiritual combat. Some reference to the places he served during his long ministry may fittingly close this memorial of a life now translated to the eternal borne.
Natchitoches, 1895; Second Church, Baton Rouge, 1296-98; Clin-ton, 1899-1902; Arcadia, 1903; Mansfield, 1904-05; Transferred to the North Alabama Conference and stationed at Attalla 1906; Coltana and Piper, 1907; Jacksonville, 1908-09; Lafayette, 1910-12; Ashland, 1913; Scottsboro, 1914-15; Huntsville, 1916-17. Transferred back to Louisi-ana and stationed at Lafayette 1918-21; DeRidder, 1922; Natchitoches, 1923-24; Winnsboro, 1926-27; Tallulah, 1928-29; Mansfield, 1930; Abbeville, 1931-32; Gilbert, 1983-36; Jeua, 1937; Gibsland, 1938; Covington, 1989-40. It is the record of an itinerant who received what was given him and endeavored to walk the way of purity and service, ever looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
As I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twlight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For the from out our bourne of time and place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my pilot face to face,
When I have crossed the bar.
Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, Pages 108-110, 1949 by Franklin N. Parker.

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