The Garden is a place to remember Pastor Reta and her influence on Central.
Reta Steck’s memorial statement is from the 2011 Memorial Service at the Western North Carolina Annual Conference.
The Reverend Reta Felica Dover Steck, Pastor of the Heart at Central United Methodist Church in Concord, was a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. Throughout her life and in her too short pastoral ministry, Reta transformed the lives of many people.
Reta was born in York, S.C. on December 1, 1958 to the late Emmett Isiah Dover and Grace Mary Calhoun Dover. Reta began Winthrop University, and then left school to care for her family after the death of her mother. When Reta was age 26, her father died. Reta then obtained her B.S. degree in Business Administration from Limestone College in 1989.
Reta began a career in human resources that took her to Charlotte, California, and back to Charlotte. She began serving as Director of Human Resources for MedCath Corporation in 1995 when it had fewer than 90 employees, and left 10 years later when the company had more than 3000 employees.
During her time at MedCath, Reta began her spiritual journey as an adult and met her husband, Dr. Todd Steck, in a Sunday School class at University City United Methodist Church. She organized Sunday School classes, led Disciple Bible study groups, and was a leader in many church activities. While a member at Davidson UMC, she felt her call to ministry.
Reta was absolutely attentive to God’s presence of God in her life. Especially when God called Reta to leave her secular vocation, she listened, and responded faithfully. Every week, for three years, Reta left Todd, drove to Durham, and attended classes. At great personal and financial loss, she did what Jesus Christ called her to do. She received her M.Div. from Duke University Divinity School, which she earned in 2005. She was commissioned in 2005 and ordained as an Elder in Full Connection in 2008.
Reta’s entire ministerial career (2005-2010) within the WNC Conference was at Central UMC in Concord. Her natural leadership abilities, professionalism, strong work ethic, kindness, love of others, love of The United Methodist Church, and love of Christ touched many lives. She created significant ministries with women, revitalized Disciple Bible training, and counseled many persons in times of crisis. She loved the members, and they loved her. Within the Salisbury District, her leadership was recognized when she became President of the District clergy.
In 2009, Reta was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme, which she fought faithfully for the next 20 months. After her diagnosis, Reta was named Central’s “Pastor of the Heart.” During her illness, Reta continually felt surrounded by the love, support, and prayers of the members and staff of the church and many friends. When diagnosed with cancer, Reta heard the call of God again. This illness was not what she had planned or expected. Too many dreams Reta shared with Todd, her family, her friends, Central, and our United Methodist connection would never be fulfilled. Yet, Reta continued to follow Jesus Christ.
Reta never became angry at God, Todd, her family, or her friends. Reta never yielded to her illness, she fought her cancer harder and at greater cost than any of us know. But she fought with confidence that she was in God’s hands. Reta had assurance that throughout her illness she was never alone. Todd was an exceptionally steadfast husband and lover. Most of all, Reta knew the living presence of God and would go where God led. On good days, and on days when the cancer and treatments filled her with pain, she knew God’s love for her. Whenever God called, whatever lot God assigned to her, Reta simply said yes.
Reta passed away at her home December 7, 2010, and her Service of Death and Resurrection was conducted at Central UMC on December 11, 2010. Participants in the service included: Andy Langford, Daniel Wilson, Bill Gouge, Donna Hill, Donna Harrison, Janet Crook, Karen Aschenbrener, Karen Gray, Cheryl Lawrence, Donna Davis, Paul Craig, Tommy Conder, Leigh Ann Ruehlen, and Katie Crook.
She is survived by her husband, Dr. Todd Steck; sister Tammy Martin and husband Eddie; niece Brittany Moses; nephew Devin Martin; mother-in-law Mae Dreier; and other loving relatives.