The Rev. Dr. Rufus H. Stark II, 82, died Saturday, March 29, 2014, at Croasdaile Village Retirement Community, Durham, N.C., after a short illness.
The Rev. Stark was born July 9, 1931, in Greenville, N.C., to Rufus Walter and Sarah Oneida Dashiell Stark.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Betty Louise Siegle Stark; his sister, Mary Ann Stark Michel of Palo Alto, Calif.; four children, Tom (Roxanne Bragg) Stark of Durham, N.C., Walter (Betsy) Stark of Atlanta, Ga., Paul (Traci) Sittason Stark of Tiffin and Sarah Anne (Charles) Reed of Richmond, Va.; seven grandchildren, Michael (Emily), Jonathan, Eden, Savannah, Hunter, Larus, and Robertson; and one great-grandchild, Oliver.
The Rev. Stark was a graduate of Duke University, in 1953 (bachelor's degree) and 1957 (master of divinity) and was awarded a honorary doctor of ministry by Methodist University in 1993. He was ordained as an elder and served as a member of the North Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church in eight full-time church appointments. He was appointed the executive director (later president) of the Methodist Home for Children based in Raleigh, N.C., for 14 years, until his retirement in 1997, after which he moved to Hayesville, N.C.
The Rev. Stark pursued his love of God, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, mentoring young clergy and championing justice. He served as chairman of the Wilmington Human Rights Commission, chairman of the North Carolina Governor's Task Force on Fatherhood, chairman of the Region A Partnership for Children and chairman of Hinton Rural Life Center. The Rev. Stark was a vigorous and thoughtful contributor to discussing the issues of the day. For these and other attributes, he was named a Raleigh News and Observer Tarheel of the Week.
A visitation will be 3-5 p.m. today, April 5, 2014, at Edenton Street United Methodist Church, Raleigh, N.C.
A worship service celebrating the life of the Rev. Stark will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday at the church.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Methodist Home for Children, 1041 Washington St., Raleigh, NC 27605 or online at www.mhfc.org/support/support-us, education programs.
The Rev. Dr. Rufus H. Stark II was devoted to God, his family and his community. He believed in the value of every person and worked throughout his life for people to know the love of God.