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Deacon Stine dies at 85; he and wife were part of fabric of Harford County parish

Deacon Richard J. Stine died July 20. (Courtesy photo)

Deacon Richard J. Stine was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., retired to Arcadia, Fla., and died July 20 at his home in Kenosha, Wis. He will be laid to rest, however, at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Abingdon, where he and his wife, Blanche, enriched the faith community for 53 years.

“He was a very gentle gentleman,” said Father Charles M. Wible, who served as pastor of the Harford County church from 2006 to 2014. “He had a wonderful approach to people, and a great sense of humor.

“The thing you have to know, when you got Deacon Dick, you got his wife. Whatever the (liturgical or parish) occasion, she knew what needed to be done, and did it. They loved each other very much.”

Deacon Stine, 85, served in the U.S. Air Force and married Blanche Rende in 1957. They settled in the Baltimore area, where he found work as a computer engineer with UNISYS and the couple raised three daughters.

In 1986, he was ordained to the permanent diaconate for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. For 17 years, he was the only deacon at St. Francis de Sales.

“He did anything I asked of him,” said Father Wible, now pastor of St. Peter the Apostle in Libertytown. “He worked every weekend, preached once a month, and coordinated wakes and funerals as needed. He was always willing to help, whatever the task. Even when he was supposed to be officially retired from the diaconate, he didn’t slow down.”

As the Catholic Review reported in July 2014, when the parish acknowledged the Stines with a blessing and reception as they prepared to move to Florida, he also had coordinated pastoral visits to the sick and homebound; baptismal and marriage preparation programs; taught religious education; and refurbished the crucifix in the chapel.

Blanche Stine, meanwhile, had been both its first paid secretary and its first woman to serve as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. The 2014 article noted that she “sewed and mended vestments” for clergy, including the stoles and dalmatics for the archdiocese’s deacon class of 2003.

According to an obituary prepared by his family, Deacon Stine was active in the Knights of Columbus, and, with his family, a square-dancing enthusiast. He trained to be a caller, which he did for more than three decades.

As Deacon Stine told the Review in 2014, of his wife, “We happen to like the same things and do them together.”

A funeral Mass will be offered Aug. 24, at 10:30 a.m., at St. Francis de Sales Church, 1450 Abingdon Rd. Interment in its cemetery will follow.

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