In Memoriam: Rev. Rafael Andres Sanchez, Jr.


November 30, 1923 - June 22, 2014

Rafael Andres Sanchez, Jr., 90, died peacefully on Sunday afternoon at VNA Hospice House in Vero Beach, Florida. He was born in Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico. He served in the U.S. Army in World War II until 1946, then studied at Polytechnic Institute in San German, Puerto Rico where he met his beloved Elvi Esther Roura. They married on March 7, 1952 in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Rafael received a Bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas in 1951 then attended McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, preparing for a ministry with the Presbyterian Church that began in 1956 and lasted for over forty years. His work included service as a parish pastor in several churches then as a campus minister at both the University of Wisconsin in Madison and the University of Kansas in Lawrence. While in Wisconsin he earned a Master's degree in European Intellectual History and while in Kansas he studied pastoral care and counseling at the Menninger Foundation.

Rev. Sanchez graduated from McCormick with his Bachelor of Divinity in 1956. He served on the board from 1978-1982 and in 1995 he was our Distinguished Alum.

In 1974, Rafael was called by the Presbytery of San Antonio, Texas to serve as Executive Presbyter for that region. He was then invited to serve in the Presbytery of San Diego, California where he retired in 1987. After retirement he moved to Sebastian, Florida and served as VNA Hospice Chaplain as well as consulting for several Central Florida churches and on the Board of Trustees at McCormick Theological Seminary where he was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus in 1995. In 1984 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Divinity by the Theological Seminary of Puerto Rico.

Rafael is survived by his beloved wife Elvi, his daughter Shanti Gloria of Sebastian, son Rick and daughter-in-law Tara of Glendale, California, and numerous dear extended family members and friends. His was a life well-lived and filled with joy, peace, laughter and song until his last breath.