The Board of the Alaska Christian Ministry to Seafarer’s (“ACMS”) is sad to report that one of our founders and first directors has passed away. Richard (“Dick”) Cederberg was a beloved brother in Christ who had a good sense of humor, a marvelous singing voice, a big smile, and a willingness to tackle any chore no matter how small or unpleasant. He was a constant servant, an encourager and a friend to every seafarer and Mission volunteer that he met.
Dick was born in 1927 in Kansas, earned a college degree in engineering, served in the U.S, military, and later worked for several companies across the U.S. before moving with his wife, Gayle, and family to Alaska. One day in 1989, he and Gayle were invited by a Burmese radio officer to dine on a ship visiting the Port of Anchorage. There they met Joe and Jeannette Seale who still visit ships in Anchorage today. The seafarer urged Dick to help the Seales start a “seaman’s mission”, which became ACMS. [Details on the early history of our Mission can be found using the History tab on this Website]. Dick served as Board President for several years, helping create policies that still guide our operations today. Later, when the organization opened a building in Seward, Dick would ride the train there from Anchorage (120 miles) to serve, and when work was done, he’d ride the train home.
Upon the death of a man, it is appropriate to consider the impact of his life, his character and motivations. Dick never mentioned his education or employment as a measure of his success. Those paid the family’s bills. He found more fulfillment as an unpaid volunteer working at the Mission. Gayle said he “loved” providing comfort and encouragement to the crews who labor long hours each day for months on end, while also addressing the needs of passengers and co-workers. He understood many crew members work hard, so that their respective children will enjoy better lives. He was motivated to selflessly serve the workers who serve others.
Why? Because Dick Cederberg was a sincere Christian. He felt he had a calling to love others as he was selflessly loved by his Lord. (John 13:34; Phil. 3:12b) Dick was generous with his time, with contributed clothing, cookies and Christmas presents. And, he was fully engaged in this enterprise, pressing forward until illnesses took his health. Dick’s kind deeds will not be forgotten. His led a remarkably selfless life.
Rest in peace, brother.