A Tribute


Richard Webster



Richard A. Webster, known to his friends as Dick, went to be with the Lord on March 31, 2010.   

Following, are four web pages which highlight his very interesting life.  Dick was raised during the great depression in Southern California.  He studied science, particularly chemistry, and was on the path to being a nuclear chemist.  He then felt lead to be a missionary to China, where he devoted most of the remainder of his life.  

Dick Webster

Graduation from Fullerton Jr. College, Calif., 1940

Richard Alvis Webster was born July 27, 1920 in a small cottage located in an orange grove on the Southeast part of Orange, California.  He was the first child, to be followed by four sisters.  His mother, Ettes, was 18, and his father, Lawrence Webster, was 22. 

Dick grew up in the town of Orange, back when Orange County was mostly orange groves, at a time when the great depression was very real and the support system was the extended family.  By the time he graduated from Orange High School in 1938, his job resume was long and he had acquired an impressive list of skills.  He had worked in canneries, picked fruit in season, learned pruning and grafting in the orange nurseries, helped his father with construction, raised bees commercially, and hustled any number of odd jobs in between.  

In school, Dick loved science and mechanical things.  He fooled around with cars and motorcycles, and bought his first Indian motorcycle while in high school.  He remembers wanting to see how many he could haul on a motorcycle, and he got ten of his friends to clutch to each other, poised on every small protuberance of the machine.  He started out, only to hit gravel before he had attained much speed, and dumped the whole crowd.  A fair amount of skin was shed for the cause, but his friends were not ones to whimper over something so trivial.  

Ettes and Lawrence Webster with baby Richard, 1920.

Dick attended Fullerton Jr. College for two years, then moved on to U.C. Berkeley where he completed a B.S. in Chemistry.  He went on and finished an M.S. in Chemistry at Berkeley.  During that time, and while working towards a Ph.D., he was exempt from military service, as he was working at Berkeley Livermore Labs on the Manhattan Project, researching production of high purity uranium for the atom bomb.  

It was during this time that Dick felt called to be a missionary to China.  He was not quite sure how to proceed in that direction, nor even if he could proceed with the war still on, but he made application to seminaries and was accepted by Faith Seminary, in Wilmington, Delaware.  Amazingly, he was granted a release from his war-time assignment and given gas rations for the trip across country, both difficult to get in war time.

Meanwhile, he was drawn to Lucille Falconer, a graduating history major at Berkeley, who had set a course to be a missionary in China since childhood.  Dick and Lucille were married in 1944, just before leaving for three years of study at Faith Seminary.  

In their second year in Wilmington,  son Donald was born.  Meanwhile, Dick worked as a chemist for the Dupont Chemical Company to fund his study in seminary.  

As graduation approached, they applied to the China Inland Mission and were accepted as missionaries to China.  Much of their financial support was provided by the Park Avenue Church in Boston, MA., and the Santa Rosa Bible Church, in northern California. 

Dick and Lucille, 1944 in Berkeley.

Dick and Lucille, and baby Donny, sailed for Shanghai aboard the Marine Adder in October of 1947.  They spent the next six months in language school, in Anhui, Anching, China.  From there they were assigned to work in Loshan, Szechuan, in western China at the base of the Tibetan Plateau. 

 While Lucille and Donny flew the 2,000 miles inland, Dick helped drive a two ton, fully loaded Dodge truck across the treacherous roads of China. On this trip they encountered bandits, took the truck across rivers on precarious bamboo ferries, nearly slid backwards off a steep gravel section of the famed Burma Road and fashioned truck parts under the most unusual of circumstances.  In subsequent years, Dick would relay these stories, to his children at bedtime, or in sermons, and express how it was a time in which he came to understand the importance of prayer in daily situations as well as the the concept of the Lord's protection of His children.

American President Lines, Marine Adder.  Dick and Lucille saying goodbye to Dick's sisters Phyllis and Bebe.

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Don's Home Page, for more stories: www.jali.net
Don's email address: websterdr@yahoo.com
A Tribute to Florence Webster

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