Cover photo for Richard Bailey Lancaster's Obituary
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1931 Richard 2024

Richard Bailey Lancaster

August 15, 1931 — April 15, 2024


Richard Bailey Lancaster passed away in Indianapolis, IN on April 15, 2024.  He was born on August 15, 1931, in Tulsa, OK and raised in Detroit, MI. He graduated from Henry Ford Trade School where his father taught English.  He attended Graceland College where he met the love of his life Reta Russell, his wife of 70 years. After graduation from Wayne State University, Richard and Reta married and moved to Tallahassee, FL, where Richard received his Master’s in Sociology. 

Richard’s first career was at the Community of Christ Church World Headquarters in Independence, MO. While working Richard also obtained his Bachelor of Divinity at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, MO. His passion for learning then led Richard to the field of higher education.  After getting his PhD at the University of Michigan, Richard held many positions in college administration including President of Simpson College (Indianola, IA), and Vice President of Development at Beloit College (Beloit, WI)  and Earlham College (Richmond, IN).  Prior to retirement, Richard was Executive Director of the Minnesota Foundation, now part of the St. Paul and Minnesota Foundation.

Richard loved words - reading, reciting poetry, and above all conversing with people. He embraced many interests including social justice, travel, and golf. He was a member of Twin Lakes Golf Club in Carmel, IN and was proud of getting five holes-in-one during his playing years.   

He was preceded in death by son, James Bradley Lancaster, brother, James Emmett Lancaster Jr., and sister Katherine Koonce.  He is survived by his wife, Reta, son, Rick Lancaster (Abby McKenzie), daughter, Susan Toner (Kevin), grandsons: Sam Lancaster, Tom Lancaster (Laura Guzman), Patrick Toner (Tess) and Michael Toner along with great granddaughter, Grace Toner.   

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra or the Indianapolis art museum, Newfields.  

A Celebration of Life for Richard will be held on Saturday, June 22 from 1:30-3:30 at Marquette Retirement Living, 8140 Township Line Rd., Indianapolis, IN.  

Indiana funeral Care is honored to be assisting the family with arrangements. 

To order memorial trees in memory of Richard Bailey Lancaster, please visit our tree store.


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