Dick’s faith in God, his love of family, his devotion to writing and reading, and his passion for the game of baseball were the embodiment of Richard Hasler’s life.
The Reverend Dr. Richard A. Hasler left this world on March 15, 2021. Born in Akron, Ohio on October 10,1929, Dick spent most of his youth in Pottsville, Pa. where he met his wife, Arlene.
His family meant everything to him and he often said that his wife Arlene was the major inspiration and guide in his life. He was proud of his two children, five grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Preceded in death by his parents Charles and Grace Hasler, he is survived by his wife Arlene (Sandherr) of 67 years; his daughter Karen (Mike) Kelly of Hudson, OH and their children: Michael (Ashley) Kelly of Highland Park, IL, Katie Kelly of Cuyahoga Falls, OH, and Erin (Chris) Corich of Kalamazoo MI; his son, Rick (Cindy) Hasler of Centerville, OH, and their children: Jennifer (Chris) Pawelski of Springboro, OH and Lindsay (Chris Kelley) Hasler of Centerville, OH; his four great grandchildren, Maeve and Reid Kelly and Graham and Emma Pawelski.
In his 57 years of ministry, he touched the lives of countless people through his words, counsel, compassion and deeds. As a Presbyterian Church (USA) pastor he served for 34 years at Burlington Presbyterian Church, Burlington, N.J., First Presbyterian Church, Hartford, Conn., United Presbyterian Church, Hornell, N.Y., Westminster Presbyterian Church, Dayton, Oh and Belpre, OH where he was the founding minister of Pioneer Presbyterian Church. In 1991 at the age of 62, he “retired”, but over the next 23 years he went on to serve in numerous Presbyterian and United Church of Christ churches as an interim or associate pastor. He has always enjoyed preaching the Gospel, teaching biblical studies and church history and visitation among people in need.
Some of the area churches he served in his retirement include Pilgrim United Church of Christ, United Presbyterian Church and Bethany United Church of Christ all in Cuyahoga Falls. Also, he served as associate pastor at First Congregational Church of Hudson.
In addition to his pastoral duties his main interests have been sports, reading, writing and walking. In high school, he played varsity basketball, track and field and baseball.
However, baseball was always his favorite sport to play, watch, or listen to. After high school he played American Legion baseball and then in 1949 played a summer of professional minor league baseball. He was the catcher for the Stroudsburg Poconos in the North Atlantic League (Class D), a farm club at that time of the Cleveland Indians. That summer his team won the championship having the best record of all professional baseball teams that year. Although that was the extent of his professional career, Dick and Arlene spent infinite hours watching and listening to baseball games throughout their life together.
After his last summer of baseball, he started his lifelong pursuit of learning, writing and teaching. He attended Houghton College, B. A., 1954, Princeton Theological Seminary, M. Div., 1957, University of Pennsylvania, M. A. 1959 (American History), Hartford Seminary Foundation, Ph.D., 1964 (Church History).
During his time in Hornell while serving at the United Presbyterian Church, he taught at Alfred University for nine years as a Lecturer in Biblical Studies and the History of Religion in America.
Dick was an avid reader, especially of biographies. He faithfully wrote in his daily journals and published nine books on topics such as prayer, preaching, and sports stories. His favorite and most popular book was Surprises Around the Bend: 50 Adventurous Walkers. This book reflected his life-long interest in walking.
He also had a keen interest in history. While living in New Philadelphia, he was an active member of Tuscarawas County Historical Society and in 2005 he was awarded the Zeisberger-Heckewelder Medal for his published research on the relation of the Moravian Zeisberger and the Presbyterian David Brainerd in the mission world among Native American in the eighteenth century.
A private memorial service will be held at the First Congregational Church of Hudson on April 3, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. The service will be livestreamed on the church’s website (www.hudsonucc.org and click “watch”) and on YouTube (Channel: First Congregational Church of Hudson, OH).
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Congregational Church of Hudson, 47 Aurora St. Hudson, OH 44236. Arrangements entrusted to the Clifford-Shoemaker Funeral Home and Crematory.