Dr. Richard Vanderslice
 Dr. Richard Vanderslice

Obituary of Dr. Richard Robert Vanderslice



On Friday July 3rd, 2020, Rick Vanderslice entered into the limitless freedom of eternal life just before July 4, a holiday he celebrated with reverence and audacious flair. The sixty years he spent before forever were lived in extravagant love and constant adventure. Rick’s heart was passionate, and fell in love with people, his family, his beloved wife, and most of all His savior. That heart led him to a multitude of adventures and a reckless way of giving; of his time, of his money, of his services. Somehow it was never exhausted, accumulating more and more friends and funding more and more dreams. His heart led him to his lifetime love, Joni Vanderslice, and they shared a love and partnership that fostered his joy de vivre attitude. He showered his wife in tenderness and affection that spilled over in waves to their two daughters. No man, no home, no person is ever perfect, and Rick was quick to tell anyone his faults and was hesitant to boast in anything at all. Rick was a curator, of the best food, best places, best songs. He was expressive in his personal style. Wearing with confidence audacious colors and perky bow ties accompanied by long locks and the spontaneously occurring full beard. Just as remarkable, his casual wear often included a cowboy hat and/or boots. He fit in anywhere, from Saville Row to Cody, WI, and was quite happy to be there too. He knew how to act every bit the local. His vast knowledge and swinging accents made him hard to place. He captured moments in unique and inspired ways through his passion of photography, seeing life through his lens. Rick fell passionately in love with Tanzania and its people. His heart broke for the 3 million orphans in their population and immediately acted, never once questioning or doubting the plan God set before him. His passionate heart obeyed the Lord and envisioned a home for children to be loved and raised in relationship with Christ Jesus. To his 27 children in Tanzania, he is Baba Ricky. He knew each by name, getting to know their personalities and returning each year with thoughtful gifts and intentional time. He was and will always be their father. Rick Vanderslice’s bedside manner is what made him the best doctor; a surgeon that operated in compassion. He loved his patients, who almost always became dear friends, as they were attended to by the boyish and personal physician. An avid outdoorsman, fisherman, hunter, hiker, cyclist etc; Rick was invigorated by sharing the outdoors, interacting with the creation so thoughtfully crafted by an intentional God. Rick Vanderslice was a sharer, a curator, a passionate husband and father, the most prolific friend, an aspiring trout bum, a philanthropist (both officially and as a lifestyle), an impeccable dresser, and never one to do things half way. Rick loves Jesus and was passionate about spreading the gospel, and unbeknownst to himself, he lived it. He truly loved his neighbor as himself. 


Rick is survived by his cherished wife, Joni, two lavishly loved daughters; Sarah, 21 and Grace, 19, 27 long awaited adopted children, his beloved parents Richard and Nancy, and his twin (delayed five years) and best friend, Ed Vanderslice. 


A memorial service will be held at St. Luke’s Church on Friday, July 10, 2020 at 2:00 pm and for those unable to attend in person, will be streamed live and can be seen by visiting St. Luke’s website or St. Luke’s YouTube channel.


In lieu of flowers, if you would like to honor Rick’s memory and bless what he and his family are most passionate about, please donate to the Valentine Project at valentineproject.org. 


Memorial Service

2:00 pm
Friday, July 10, 2020
St. Luke's Church
50 Pope Avenue
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, United States
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