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The Rev. Richard Edward Ploth, 81, Recently Of Dover Plains

The Rev.Richard Edward Ploth, recently of Dover Plains, served many churches in New York throughout his life and was Executive Presbyter for Northern New York Presbytery.
The Rev.Richard Edward Ploth, recently of Dover Plains, served many churches in New York throughout his life and was Executive Presbyter for Northern New York Presbytery. Photo Credit: Contributed

PAWLING, N.Y. – The Rev. Richard Edward Ploth, a retired minister in the Presbyterian Church, USA, and recently of Dover Plains, died Sunday, Sept. 20 from complications following a stroke. He was 81.

Ploth had been a resident of The Grand Nursing Home in Pawling the past two months.

Ploth “Dick” was born Oct. 6, 1933, in Oceanside, to Edward B. and Adelaide Combs Ploth.

He graduated from Oceanside High School in 1951, and then earned a bachelor’s degree in Latin and Hebrew from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., followed by a master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Ploth was ordained to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament in the PCUSA by the then Brooklyn-Nassau Presbytery on Long Island and began his many pastorates at the Yaphank Presbyterian Church, followed by service to the Waverly Presbyterian Church in Waverly,, and then as Executive Presbyter for Northern New York Presbytery.

On weekends, he served several small churches that had no full-time pastor.

In 2006, Ploth followed his wife, Lynda, to Ossining and Hudson River Presbytery, where she was called to be pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Ossining. During their nine years there, he served the Presbyterian churches in Scotchtown and Chester.

Ploth retired in 1998, but continued to work and serve until his health declined in 2013.

He served on many councils and committees of the larger church, on community boards and projects and was a sought-after keynote speaker at high school graduations and other important occasions.

Ploth married Ivy Vurture in 1961 and became the father of John, Rick, Ivy Ann and Allan Ploth. The marriage ended in divorce. In 1982, he married the Rev. Lynda S. Clements and their son, Joel Brooks Clements, was born.

An avid feminist by his own description, Ploth “kept his name when he got married,” and together he and Lynda gave their son her last name. He is survived by his children; wife Lynda; brother David B. Ploth; seven grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and several cousins, nieces and nephews.

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