Harold Rucker, an 18-year resident of Livermore, died on Sept. 3, 2019, as a result of an aortic aneurism. He leaves his wife of 40 years, Roberta McReynolds; three children: Kathryn Rucker, Harold Rucker, Jr., and Karen Alvarez; two adopted daughters: Terri Diaz and Kim Smith; nine grandchildren; and many great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his parents Gus and Ella Rucker and his brother Glen Rucker.
Born near Freedom, Okla., in the middle of the Dust Bowl, the family moved around Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Kansas – wherever the parents could find work as school teachers. They settled in Wichita when Harold was 11. He graduated from East High School in 1952, Oklahoma Baptist University in 1955, and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Louisville, Ky., in 1959. He was ordained a minister that same year. He received Privilege of Call into the United Church of Christ in 1965.
Harold’s 60 years of ministry included pastorates in Houston; Biloxi, Mississippi; Pflugerville, Texas; Sedgwick, Kansas; and Foster City, California. He also was Chaplain at Western State Hospital, a psychiatric facility near Bolivar, Tennessee. Harold completed 5 units of Clinical Pastoral Education in Tennessee, South Carolina, and Texas. Additionally, Harold worked for Protestant Charities of Houston in the inner city; for the U.S. Department of Justice, Community Relations Service, as Mississippi Field Director; for the United Church of Christ 17/76 Achievement Fund; and as Chaplain for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Livermore, Calif.
Harold married Rev. Roberta McReynolds in 1979. They enjoyed traveling, particularly three pulpit exchanges in Edinburgh, Scotland; Bromley near London; and near Belfast, Northern Ireland. They also traveled to Israel/Palestine, learning about peacemaking efforts there. Harold loved to keep up with friends and family, and adopted photography, cars, airplanes, and basketball as hobbies.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Sept. 28, at 10:30 a.m., at Niles Discovery Church, 36600 Niles Blvd. , Fremont, CA 94536. All are welcome. Memorial gifts may be sent to Niles Discovery Church, designated for St. James Orphan School, Kenya