Cover photo for Pastor Albert J. “A.J.” Rymph's Obituary
Pastor Albert J. “A.J.” Rymph Profile Photo

Pastor Albert J. “A.J.” Rymph

d. February 16, 2019

Pastor Albert James Rymph II, 93, of Newton, Kansas, passed away on February 16, 2019 at Asbury Park in Newton, Kansas.


Visitation will be at 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Wednesday at Trinity Heights United Methodist Church and will be open prior to the service at the church


Funeral services will be held 2:00 p.m. Thursday, February 21, 2019 at Trinity Heights United Methodist Church, 1200 Boyd, Newton, with The Rev. Donna Voteau officiating.   Burial with military honors will follow at Greenwood Cemetery, 1100 E. 1st Street, Newton. Arrangements are by Petersen Family Funeral Services.


Albert James Rymph II was born on November 9, 1925, in Liberal, Kansas, the first child of Levi Budd and Jessie Mae (Hershey) Rymph. He was named after his paternal grandfather, who in the 1870s homesteaded in Harper County, Kansas. He was baptized in the Sublette Methodist Episcopal Church. As a young child, he lived with his parents in Sublette, Zenda, and Harper, Kansas, until the family moved to Wichita and Sedgwick County, Kansas, in 1929. While in grade school, he was confirmed as a member of the Body of Christ at the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Wichita. Born in a Methodist hospital, reared in a Methodist home, educated at a Methodist college and a Methodist seminary, married in a Methodist church, and spending his adult life as a Methodist pastor, he was a life-long Methodist — seeing the Methodist Episcopal Church into which he was born become part of the Methodist Church through denominational mergers in 1939 and then the United Methodist Church through another denominational merger in 1968.


He married Edna Mae Heath on September 28, 1952, in Aurora, Lawrence County, Missouri. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas, in 1949 and a Master of Theology degree from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, Texas, in 1955.  Together, Pastor and Mrs. Rymph had and raised four children — son Bradley Budd, daughter Carol Ann, daughter Karen Jeannine, and son Alan DeWayne. During Pastor Rymph’s ministerial career, he felt honored and privileged to serve numerous congregations and communities through much of central and western Kansas, including First Methodist Church, Copeland; Ebenezer and Green Methodist Churches, near Clay Center; Mount Olivet and Saint Luke Methodist Churches, Wichita; First Methodist Church, Kingman; Trinity United Methodist Church, Russell; First United Methodist Church, El Dorado; First United Methodist Church, Beloit; First United Methodist Church, Dodge City; and First United Methodist Church, Ulysses.


He also served as a part of the medical and health ministries of the United Methodist Church, including as a trustee of Hadley Memorial Hospital in Hays; as an ex-officio trustee of the Trinity Hospital Association in Dodge City; as a supervising pastor involved with the Southwest Kansas Mexican American Ministries in Dodge City and Ulysses, at the time when its medical clinics were being initiated and developed; and as a charter member trustee of the United Methodist Health Ministries Fund, a foundation related to what was then the Kansas West Conference of the United Methodist Church.


He retired from the active ministry in 1989 under the United Methodist Church’s “40 years of service” rule for clergy. He and his wife moved to the Friendly Acres (now Asbury Park) Retirement Community in Newton, where he lived until his death and where Mrs. Rymph continues to reside in Assisted Living. With his retirement, Pastor and Mrs. Rymph became active worshippers at Trinity Heights United Methodist Church in Newton and continued to worship together there as long as their health permitted. They particularly enjoyed being able to sit together during worship and in church school classes, something they had rarely been able to do during the many years of Pastor Rymph’s pastoral ministry.


In addition to his marriage and family life and his career as a United Methodist pastor, Pastor Rymph was a veteran of World War II, serving in the U.S. Army both stateside and in the Pacific Theater. As a preministerial student at Southwestern College when he turned age 18, the Draft Board offered him a ministerial deferment from military service, but he declined, knowing that the nation and world were gravely at risk. At age 19, he participated in the Leyte and Luzon Liberation Campaigns in the Philippines. For his service during World War II, he was awarded five medals. He particularly valued his Asiatic-Pacific Campaign medal with two bronze stars, awarded him by the U.S. Army, and his Philippine Liberation Medal, awarded him by the Army of the Provisional Government of the Philippines. At age 20, at the end of World War II, he was returned stateside and discharged. He was called back into military service a few years later during the Korean War, serving stateside as a reservist and at Fort Hood, Texas. For this service, he was awarded a sixth medal.


Pastor Rymph is preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Thomas Merton Rymph. He is survived by his wife, Edna Mae Rymph of Newton; his children, Bradley Budd Rymph (José Verzosa Baquiran) of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware; Carol Ann Carlson (James Wayne Carlson) of Bellevue, Nebraska; Karen Jeannine Smarsh (Thomas G. Smarsh) of Colwich, Kansas; and Alan DeWayne Rymph (Lisa Kay Jackson Rymph) of Wichita; two brothers, Raymond Calvin Rymph of Columbia, Missouri, and David Budd Rymph of Port Townsend, Washington; ten grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren with two more on the way.  .


Memorial donations may be given to Trinity Heights United Methodist Church, Newton, and the Asbury Park Retirement Community, Newton. In care of Petersen Funeral Home.

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