RICK RELYEA: ICC Partner and AFICC Board Member
February 7, 1947 - January 14, 2023
American Friends of ICC Board of Directors—2013-2023
American Friends of ICC (AFICC) wishes to honor and celebrate the life of board member, Rick Relyea, who passed away on January 14, 2023. Rick faithfully served on American Friends of ICC’s board for ten years,
bringing his expertise in the areas of ministry growth, China culture and relations, and business best practices around the globe, all while sharing
his deep love for children with disabilities and those served by ICC in China. Rick also spent time mentoring members of AFICC’s board in its early days of inception and growth.
Rick was born in 1947 in Waco, Texas and graduated from Waco High School. He continued his education at the University of Texas where he received a full trumpet scholarship. He earned his BS degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1970 and an MBA in 1983.
Rick’s mechanical engineering career was expansive, including ten years in the oil and oil drilling industry which provided him the opportunity to live in Africa, Asia, Canada, and South America.
Rick was also an entrepreneur. He authored and was awarded his first patent for Blow-Out Preventer Controls, and also toured and lectured on oilfield tools and products in China. He also started a company and earned a patent for “virtual” reality in motivational exercise. In 1987, he founded EduCare Community Living Corporation of America, a business primarily serving people with mental disabilities and foster children. After he sold EduCare, Rick worked as an investor in start-up companies. Rick had a big heart for community service. In addition to International China Concern, he was active in supporting various non-profits including Mission Possible, Rise School of Austin, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, along with many others.
In 2008, Rick was honored as a recipient of the Mechanical Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni at UT's Mechanical Engineering Department. In addition, he was a dedicated member of the University of Texas Longhorn Alumni Band.
Rick loved spending time with his friends playing golf and faithfully supported the Longhorn football team. As much as Rick loved his family, work, and mission, he truly loved spending quiet time with the Lord and sharing Biblical truth with others. He enjoyed mentoring young people in business and loved sharing his faith in Christ even more.
Right photo: Rick (right) with some of the AFICC Board. Left photo: Rick and AFICC volunteers during Walk the Wall, AFICC's annual walkathon.
American Friends of ICC is deeply grateful for Rick’s service on the board, and for his family who also supported him in this endeavor. Michele Harris, former AFICC board chair, remembers Rick by saying, “His passing leaves a wound in all he loved and who loved him. There is a legacy—a ripple effect present in all who were built up by his words and his actions and his deep interest in their lives. These lives, and all they will bring to the world, are yet to be fully realized…but he lives on fully in the hearts, minds, and strength of all blessed by his presence while on this earth.”
Rick Relyea will be greatly missed by the AFICC board and staff, ICC, and China volunteer leaders. Thank you, Rick. You will be forever in our hearts. China’s children are blessed and thriving because you cared and served.