ACU Remembers: Richard Lunsford

Richard Weldon Lunsford (’55), a former longtime member of the Board of Trustees whose family gifts created popular contemplative landmarks on the Abilene Christian University campus, died July 1, 2017, at age 83 on his Praise the Lord Ranch in Olney, Texas.

Visitation with be 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, July 6, at Lunn Funeral Home (300 S. Ave. M, Olney, Texas 76374) and a memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. on July 7 at First Baptist Church (201 W. Main St., Olney, Texas 76374).

Lunsford was born Jan. 3, 1934, in Clovis, New Mexico, moving to a ranch near Olney in 1942. He graduated from Olney High School in 1951 and majored in agriculture at ACU, where “Fuzzy” played football for four years and was president of the Students’ Association.

He married Dema Jean Atkins (’57) on June 7, 1955, and worked on his parents’ ranch until 1962, when he began a career in the financial services industry that would span 45 years. He was active in his community, serving on the school and library boards, the Olney Hamilton Hospital Foundation, the Chamber of Commerce, and as president of the Rotary Club. He was minister of the Newcastle Church of Christ in Throckmorton from 1962-69 and served in the National Guard.

Lunsford was an ACU trustee from 1978-98, received a Distinguished Alumni Citation in 1972 and served on the search committee to name the university’s 10th president in 1990.

Richard and Dema provided The Quiet Place locations inside ACU’s Mabee Business Building (opened in 1986) and the Onstead-Packer Biblical Studies Building (1989). A plaque in one says the “rationale behind having an established setting such as The Quiet Place is that on a busy university campus all persons – students and faculty alike – need a place for meditation and renewal.”

One of their sons, Holt, chose the Lunsford Foundation Trail as a way to honor his parents and provide a gift to the Centennial Campaign in 2006. The more than two-mile-long trail encircles the campus and provides a convenient venue for students, faculty, staff and neighbors to exercise outdoors.

Lunsford was preceded in death by his parents, George Raymond Lunsford and Margaret Hardwick Lunsford; and Dema, his wife of 56 years.

Among survivors are three sons, Raymond Lunsford (’79), Holt Lunsford (’85) and Will Lunsford (’89); two daughters, Lynnette Lunsford (’81) and Lisa Lunsford (’83); 16 grandchildren; 12 great grandchildren; and a sister, Lynn Ellen Routon (’68).


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