Dick Blount promoted social justice, helped start Open Door Ministry

Saturday, October 26, 2013 | 9:03 p.m. CDT; updated 2:44 p.m. CDT, Sunday, October 27, 2013

COLUMBIA – The Rev. Dick Blount led his life with the mentality that everyone is "equal under the eyes of God," his son, Mark Blount, said.

As a pastor and civil rights and social justice advocate, Mr. Blount affirmed and welcomed everyone he met, even those with opposing beliefs.

"At the grocery store, the street, in church," Mark Blount, Mr. Blount's youngest son, said. "He had a family approach to the community and to the world."

Charles Richard "Dick" Blount died Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013. He was 85. He died at Lenoir Woods after battling heart disease.

He was married to Emma Sue Blount for 63 years. Mr. Blount and his wife met in November of 1947 and was immediately "smitten" with her, as his eldest son, Jack Blount, said.

Mr. Blount was a minister in Kansas City, and then he moved to Fulton, where he became the director of the Women, Infants and Children program after retiring as a pastor. He moved to Columbia with his wife to be closer to his children and grandchildren. He joined the Missouri United Methodist Church in Columbia and was an active member for 20 years.

Mr. Blount began fighting for equal rights at an early age. In the 1960s, he tried to integrate the Fayette public swimming pool during the time of racial segregation. Mark Blount recalls a time when his father told him of his involvement in racial segregation riots in Kansas City.

"He helped a young black father, who was trying to get milk for his baby, from getting arrested by a police officer during the race riots," Mark Blount said. "He convinced the police officers that the man wasn't looting, so my father helped the man home, and then got milk for his baby."

Jack Blount said in his eulogy how committed his father was to his faith, family and work in public service.

"I remember Dad said the need for leadership was great and volunteers were scarce. So he became a very active board member on several different association boards sharing his concerns and ministry in the Kansas City area."

This same mentality stuck with Mr. Blount his entire life. During the past 15 years, he worked closely with the lesbian, gay and transgender community in Columbia. He was a founding member of the Open Door Ministry, a program that is supported by the Missouri United Methodist Church and promotes acceptance of gay rights, according to previous Missourian reporting.

Mr. Blount won the Columbia Values Diversity Award in 2011 in light of his work with the ministry.

"The award proudly recognized Reverend Blount for spending his life as a compassionate champion for equal rights for all," Jack Blount said. 

Mr. Blount is survived by his children, Jack Blount and his wife, Cindy, of Dallas, Mark Blount and his wife, Janice, of Columbia; Susan Gemming and her husband, Craig, of Columbia; daughter-in-law Robin Blount of Columbia; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

His wife, Emma Sue Blount; son Charles Richard Blount II; granddaughter Connie Michelle Blount; and great-grandson Callaway Maddox Blount died earlier.

Services were held Thursday at the Missouri United Methodist Church. Memorial contributions may still be made to Missouri United Methodist Church for the United Methodist International Orphanages.

Supervising editor is Zachary Matson.

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