Rev. Richard M. Louis
July 6, 1933-November 12, 2022
“I was sick and ye visited me; I was in prison and ye came unto me.” Matthew 25:36.
On November 12, 2022, The Reverend Richard M. Louis, loving husband, brother, father, grandfather, uncle and pastor, died at the age of 89. Richard was born in Brooklyn, NY to Mortimer and Olga (Paulson) Louis. He attended high school at Poly Prep (’51) and graduated from Colgate University (’55). While at Colgate, and after meeting The Rev. Harrison Hadley and his wife Annette, Richard was confirmed an Episcopalian at St. Thomas’ Church in Hamilton, NY. Richard attended the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, MA, and after graduating served as a hospital chaplain at St. Luke’s Hospital, as well as Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City, where he ministered to children with cancer and their families. It was at St. Luke’s where he met M. Kristan Bertelsen, and they married in 1965. They had two boys, Paul Christian Louis and Andrew Richard Louis, and raised them in New Jersey. Richard began his service in the Diocese of Newark in 1970 when he became the Rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Teaneck, NJ. He was then called to St. John’s Memorial Episcopal Church in Ramsey, NJ in 1979, where he served as Rector until his Retirement in August 2000. Richard was beloved at both St. Mark’s and St. John’s, where he was responsible for growth and unity at both parishes. Upon retirement Richard continued to serve the Diocese of Newark as a supply and interim priest for a host of parishes, and by mentoring other priests. Richard believed that the purpose of the Church was outreach and inclusion. Before offering Communion, he would remind the congregation that “This is God’s table, and we are all God’s children and welcomed here.” Richard was responsible for many improvements at both parishes, including the installation of a “diversity” stained-glass window at St. Mark’s, a new pipe organ at St. John’s, and many other improvements designed to make the churches more inviting and inclusive to all who entered and participated.
Richard will be remembered for his pastoral skills. He was approachable and reassuring—a steady, dependable and stable presence. When he conversed with you, you were his focus. If you had a problem, he was there for you. Through connection and compassion he gave people strength and confidence in times of stress and uncertainty. And notwithstanding the high example he set for other clergy, he remained modest, and his ministry was never in the service of his own needs. As a pastor, friend, father and husband, Richard will be remembered for his insight, patience, wit, and grace.
Richard was preceded by his son, Paul, and his grandson, Desmond Singh Louis. He is survived by his wife, Kristan, his brother, James Paul Louis, his son, Andrew, his daughter-in-law, Rajdeep Kaur Sandhu-Louis, his grand-daughter, Raika Kaur Louis, and his grandsons, Toran Singh Louis and Amer Singh Louis, as well as many, many nieces and nephews.
A funeral service will be held on November 19, 2022, at 11:00 am at St. John’s Memorial Episcopal Church in Ramsey, NJ.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Richard’s name to one of three churches: St. John’s Memorial Episcopal Church (Ramsey, NJ), All Saints’ Episcopal Church (Glen Rock, NJ), or Christ Church (Ridgewood, NJ).