In Memoriam: The Rev. Edward Arthur Wicher Jr.

Posted on February 5, 2008

The Rev. Edward Arthur Wicher Jr. passed away on Friday, January 25, 2008 following a stroke 10 days earlier.  During the prior 10 days he had visits from his six children and was with family when he died. 

Wicher was born April 17, 1910 in Marin County, the son of The Reverend Dr. Edward A. and Elizabeth Wicher.  He was one of 4 children.  Wicher was preceded in death by his older brother, Herbert, who was also an ordained minister.  His sister Elizabeth lived in Helena, Montana, until her death several years ago.  His youngest sister, Mary, was a missionary in Tripoli, Syria from 1938 to the start of WWII.  She later became a teacher at Castilleja Girls School in Palo Alto.

Wicher attended John Drew School in San Francisco.  In 1929 he taught at the school for refugees run by the British Embassy in Jerusalem.  He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1932 and was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.  He went on to Stanford University Graduate School of Business Administration, the Presbyterian Theological Seminary and the Episcopal General Theological Seminary in New York. 

Wicher was ordained to the Episcopal ministry in 1940.  He served as a chaplain (Captain) in the Air Force during World War II.   On October 2, 1943, he married Helen Ann Brown in Cambridge, MA.  Helen preceded him in death in 2005.

After the war, Wicher served as curate of St. Lukes, San Francisco, for two years.  He served as rector of St. James Episcopal, San Francisco, from 1947 to 1957.  He was called to serve as rector of Church of the Epiphany in San Carlos from April 1957 until April 1970, where he was instrumental in building the current church building.  In the Diocese of California, in addition to parish ministry, he held several Diocesean posts, including Secretary of the Convention for sixteen years; a member and Secretary of the Executive Council for seventeen years.  He also served as Chairman of the Department of Christian Education, a member of the Department of College work, the Committee on Canon Law, the Commission on Holy Matrimony, and the Committee on Evangelism.

Wicher was called to the Diocese of San Joaquin to serve as vicar of St. Alban’s in Los Banos, CA.  After three years, he was called to St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Modesto, where, with committed parishioners, he helped build a new church.  He retired in 1978 and returned to the Bay Area where he began his almost 30 year association as an Associate Priest at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in San Mateo, CA.  He served there up until several years ago.

A favorite story of his family was when, as a young man, Wicher would collect Christmas Trees in Marin County, bundle them into his Model T Ford and load them on a ferry to cross the Bay and sell them at the waters edge in San Francisco.  He was an avid sports fan, playing tennis, football and basketball in his youth.  He continued his love of sports until his final days, when he watched the Syracuse/Georgetown basketball game with two of his sons.  But most of all, when suggested by his daughter years ago that he take up a hobby, his reply was “My work is my hobby”.

Wicher was a member of Rotary, a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow, a 32nd degree Mason (Scottish Rite), and Kiwanis.
He is survived by six children, Edward and his wife, Cynthia; Gordon and his wife Sandra of Walla Walla, WA; John and his wife, Sharon of Oakland, CA; Christopher and his wife Carolyn of Raleigh, NC; Anne Wicher Brown and her husband James of Lake Oswego, OR; Peter and his wife, Frances of San Mateo, CA. Wicher had sixteen grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

Wicher was loved and admired by the numerous people, parishes and communities whom he ministered to over the years.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, February 9, 2008 at 11 a.m., St. Matthews Episcopal Church, San Mateo, California, One South El Camino Real (at Baldwin), San Mateo, CA 650.342.1481.  The service will be followed by a reception.  There will be a private burial at Cypress Lawn.

Memorial gifts can be made to the Garden Guild of St. Matthews.