Natalie Abbott Rickabaugh
March 14, 1934 – May 20, 2019
Natalie Abbott Rickabaugh passed away Monday, May 20, 2019 at the Gordon Hospice House of Statesville, NC. She was preceded in death by her husband, the Reverend Homer Tyndale Rickabaugh. Also preceding her were her parents, Gilbert and Lena Thomas Abbott, and a sister, Iris Abbott Karl. Natalie is survived by two brothers Herbert Gene Abbott of Jerseyville, IL and Edgar Allen Abbott of Alton, IL; her children Beth Rickabaugh Setzer and husband Dennis of Statesville NC, John and Sandy Rickabaugh of Newport NC, as well as Judy Rickabaugh Candler and Michael Brown of Morganton NC. She also leaves her grandchildren Mark Ryan Rickabaugh, John Parker “J.P.” Rickabaugh, Sara Margaret Setzer, Rachel Caroline Setzer, and Andrew Davis Setzer–each of whom she dearly loved.
Natalie’s life was one of service to others, lived out in a multitude of ways. Born Natalie Rose Abbott and raised in Jersey County, Illinois. She graduated from Jerseyville High School in 1952. She attended St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing in St. Louis and then earned her anesthesia credentials from the Barnes Hospital School of Anesthesia. Natalie began her nursing career in 1960 at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. There she attended Second Presbyterian Church. In 1960 she was introduced to a Presbyterian minister and missionary to South Korea, Homer Rickabaugh, whom she married in August of 1961. Homer and Natalie traveled together to South Korea as Presbyterian missionaries. Natalie actively supported Homer in his mission work. She also became a devoted mother to Beth, John and Judy. Natalie fostered several infants while those children awaited adoption by families in the United States. She worked as a nurse and organized and ran the pharmacy of the Jesus Hospital in Jeonju. Natalie gained a reputation as a gracious hostess to many guests who traveled to Jeonju. Guests enjoyed American cooking and a spare bedroom in the Rickabaugh house, along with her warm smile and the tender loving care that came so naturally to Natalie. She kept an enormous fruit and vegetable garden which nurtured her family with food and fostered a love of gardening. An avid shell collector, Natalie spent hours walking the sands of Taechon Beach on the Yellow Sea and taught her children how to find and identify more than 130 species native to those shores. Always recognizing an unmet need, Natalie was involved in establishing and operating what became the Korea Foreigners’ Counseling Service in Seoul.
After 22 years of mission service Natalie and Homer returned to “the states” in 1979. In the years that followed Natalie was employed as an anesthetist at Cape Fear Valley Hospital in Fayetteville NC and then Grace Hospital in Morganton NC. She retired from the practice of anesthesia after 14 years with Tri-County Hospital / Baptist Health of Louisville, KY. At every stop on her professional career, Natalie was a trusted and beloved colleague whose caring and expertise were sought out by peers and patients alike. She was active in her state and national AANA chapters, serving as a delegate to the national association on more than one occasion.
After she and Homer relocated to Statesville to be nearer to their children and grandchildren Natalie became an active member of First Presbyterian Church, Statesville. Once again recognizing an unmet need, Natalie was instrumental in organizing and then serving as Director of Iredell Christian Ministries which now distributes food to hundreds of families a month in the Statesville area.
Following a private burial, a memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church, 125 N. Meeting St., Statesville, North Carolina at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, May 24. An informal reception will follow in the Fellowship Room.
Online condolences may be made at www.bunchjohnsonfuneralhome.com. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Iredell Christian Ministries or First Presbyterian Church, Statesville, NC.
- Memorial Service Friday, May 24, 2019
- Informal Reception Friday, May 24, 2019
Natalie Abbott Rickabaugh
May 25, 2019
Beth and Family- I am so sorry for your loss of your mom. She was always a sweet, kind lady and will be missed by many people. I pray God will give you and your family, peace and comfort during this difficult time.
May 22, 2019
What can I say?? This woman meant so much to me! She was one of the first people I met when I moved to Statesville. I went to ICM looking for assistance and wanted to volunteer. She was the kindest, most patient,loving person I know! She did not do something halfway, she put her all into into anything she did. She worked through so much pain because it needed to be done! I truly loved this woman! Words cannot express. I thought of you often even though we lost touch after I moved. I know you are at rest with Homer! You where a Blessing to my life and so many others. Just after I heard word of your passing I heard on the radio "Your in Better Hands Now" by Natalie Grant! I will remember her ALWAYS!