Rev. Dr. Richard Ira Preis, of Kansas City, passed away on April 9, 2013. A memorial concert, developed by Dr. Preis, was on Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral on May 13, 2013. Pr. Preis was born in Chicago on May 10, 1930.
He was senior pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor, Mich., for 27 years and Normandale Lutheran Church in Edina, Minn., for 8 years. He then came to KC to be interim pastor at Atonement Lutheran, Overland Park, All Saints Lutheran, KCKS, Faith Lutheran, Prairie Village, and Prince of Peace Lutheran, KCKS. He then assisted in services at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral. While in KC he began a career as a singer and actor, appearing in 15 shows for such companies as American Heartland Theater and Unicorn Theater, and singing at Californos restaurant, available on YouTube. He created one-man shows including "The Gospel According to Broadway" which he presented 150 times in 18 states and Canada. He was one of the first actors in the standardized patient program at KCUMB. He served on local boards of Summerfest, KC Chamber Orchestra, Friends of the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival and the Lyric Opera Guild. He served on education and religious boards on local, state and national levels.
He received a Bachelor of Arts degree and a diploma in voice from Carthage College, a Master of Arts degree from the University of Kansas and a Master of Divinity degree from Hamma School of Theology, Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. In 1976, Preis was awarded the honorary degree of doctor of divinity and in 1999 the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award by Carthage College. He was also on the Board of Regents for Carthage College.
Preis served on the Luther College Board of Regents from 1990 to 2003 and was Regent Emeritus. He was also a member of Heritage Club at Luther College.
Pr. Preis is preceded in death by his wife, Constance Fry; parents Vera and Arthur Preis, and brother, Arthur; foster parents, Sarah and Richard Albert and brother, Phillip; his foster grandson, Kyle Balke. He is survived by his companion Alvin Schneider; sons Andrew, Charles PREIS ’82, and David and son-in-law, Keith Vargo; his foster family Nancy and Bryan Balke and children; his foster brother Richard Albert and sister in law, Caroline; and various nieces and nephews. He donated his remains to KCUMB. Contributions in memory may be given to Atonement Lutheran Church, Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, and ALS Foundation in Kansas City.