FCA mourns the loss of retired United States Air Force Brigadier General and former FCA President Dick Abel. Abel was 89 years old when he went to be home with the Lord peacefully in his sleep.
“We are deeply saddened to hear of Dick Abel’s passing,” said FCA President and CEO Shane Williamson. “He was a tremendous man, husband, father, and leader who served not only the ministry, but our country, with great virtue and humility. Our prayers are with his family, but we rejoice that he is now in the presence of his Savior.”
Abel served as FCA President from 1988-1992. During his FCA leadership, he developed the CHAD Principle based on Camps, Huddles, Adult Chapters and Development — a precursor to the Four Cs (Campus, Camps, Community and Coaches) of FCA ministry. He advocated an increase in leadership and coach’s camps and developed the inner-city outreach and ministry to female athletes. Under Abel’s leadership, computerization of camp registration and FCA merchandise was initiated.
Abel’s connection to FCA dates back to his days as an assistant football coach at the United States Air Force Academy in the 1960s, when he accepted Christ at an FCA retreat. He served as one of the adult Huddle Leaders at the Academy before assignments in Vietnam and Hawaii. Abel initiated FCA Huddles during his tour in Hawaii, while his wife, Ann, started the first Huddle for girls at a local high school. An assignment to the Pentagon in 1978 led him to establish FCA at nearby Annandale High School where he then joined FCA’s Virginia state board and later the national board.
During his 30-year career in the Air Force, he served as a jet pilot, led the Warhawk acrobatic team and served three 4-star admirals as well as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Following his retirement from the U.S. Air Force in 1985, he joined the senior staff of the U.S. Olympic Committee and was named FCA’s President three years later.
Abel said of his work with FCA, “I have seen so many people come to know Christ through sports. I believe with all my heart that our job here on earth is to be involved in others’ lives. If love never fails, I want to love other people, even the unlovable. You can only do that through the power of the Holy Spirit. Life is sort of like a game — whether you win or you lose, if you choose Jesus as your Savior, you’re going to win and be in glory forever.”
Dick Abel was initiated into FCA’s Hall of Champions in 2013 for his service and dedication to FCA's mission.