RoseMarie (Nicholson) Riches was born October 24, 1940 in Belfast, Ireland.
She attended primary school in both Belfast and Dublin, Ireland. She then attended Newbold College in Bracknell, England as well as East Hampstead Teacher Training College where she received degrees in education and home economics. She also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fairfax University in the United States.
During her time at Newbold College, RoseMarie met and fell in love with a handsome young man named Rex Riches, and they married in Belfast, Ireland. They began their ministry for the Seventh-day Adventist Church with Rex pastoring churches in Colchester and Weston-super-Mare in England. Two daughters made their family complete with the birth of Ann-Marie in 1964, and Katrina in 1967. When Rex began working for the South England Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, RoseMarie began her tenure at Stanborough Park Secondary School, where she taught history, home economics, and was vice principal. Her “summer job” was as cook for Rex's youth camp in Wales.
In 1979, Rex was called to be president of the Sri Lanka Union of Seventh-day Adventists, where RoseMarie was his secretary, right hand, encourager, and partner in ministry. After three years in Sri Lanka, Pune, India became home. Rex was the director for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency and RoseMarie was a secretary in the Literature Evangelism Department. RoseMarie would often travel with Rex to various parts of southern Asia, and they enjoyed the opportunity to minister to others, as well as to spend time together.
Rex and RoseMarie moved to the Carolinas in the United States in 1984. This was a precious opportunity to be closer to their girls, who were soon married and beginning families of their own. Rex was returning to the ministry of smaller churches, which gave RoseMarie the opportunity to return to a first love as teacher and to be principal of Rex’s church schools.
2001 brought retirement in Chattanooga, Tennessee. During this time Rex and RoseMarie spent time with their children, grandchildren, friends from all over the world, and traveled to places they had always wanted to go. RoseMarie was also able to experience the joys of helping to home-school two of her grandchildren.
In 2007, RoseMarie lost Rex - her best friend, partner-in-crime and love of her life. In recent years, she has continued to be active in her church as Sabbath School social leader, Bible study group leader, part of the bereavement committee, and by visiting friends and those unable to attend church. She also enjoyed time meeting up with friends, arranging get-togethers and organizing parties for holidays and special occasions. Her greatest joy was to spend vacation time and holidays with her girls and their families, playing games, and laughing until her sides hurt!
RoseMarie passed away suddenly in her sleep on Friday, September 27, 2019. She sleeps peacefully having known, without a doubt, that very soon she will hear the trumpet sound and hear her name being called by her Savior.
RoseMarie is preceded in death by her parents William and Sarah Nicholson and her beloved husband Rex. She is survived by her daughters and sons-in-law Ann-Marie and John Reichert, Berrien Springs, MI; Katrina and Michael McClung, Apison, TN; and her grandchildren Nic, Christian and Karlen.
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, October 2 at 4:30pm at the Collegedale Seventh-day Adventist Church in Collegedale, Tennessee.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to:
Southern Adventist University School of Music
Designation: Symphony Orchestra Department
Attention: Advancement PO Box 370
Collegedale Seventh-day-Adventist Church
Designation: Acceptance Sabbath School’s Special Mission Project Fund 4829 College Drive East, Collegedale, TN 37315
The Village Adventist Elementary School
Designation: Worthy Student Fund
409 West Mars Street, Berrien Springs, MI 49103