June 17, 2019

Rich Obenschain, La Vida Founder, Passes Away

Collin Hall '21

La Vida’s beloved founder, Rich Obenschain, passed away unexpectedly last night.

Obenschain has worked in outdoor education for most of his life; he founded Gordon’s outdoor exploration program, La Vida, in 1978. He has worked with Gordon College ever since. Rich transformed the tiny “Scotsman’s Adventure School” that existed in the 1970s into the highly successful La Vida Adventure Camp that stands today.

Rich believed that the outdoors provide a necessary reprieve from our overcrowded age of information; cell phones, streaming, and television leave little room for still contemplation. It was Rich’s hope that La Vida could provide an escape from modernity’s overcrowded electronic haze.

Obenschain is survived by his wife Katherine and his twins Tess and Hunter. A time of prayer and mourning for Rich will be held May 23 at 4:00 PM EST in the A.J. Gordon Memorial Chapel.

4 Comments on Rich Obenschain, La Vida Founder, Passes Away

  1. May the Lord comfort his family. I heard so many wonderful stories about Rich. He was respected & loved by many ~ I know my daughter spoke so highly of him and was loved by him. I am so sorry for your loss Gordon College & may God be with His wife and children through this most difficult time,

  2. I am so deeply saddened to learn of the sudden death of Richard, your beloved husband, father of Hunter and Tess and greatly esteemed teacher and friend to so many collegues and students. I pray God’s comforting Presence for you and all your family, they are like my own family! I pray for God’s Peace and strong Loving Arms around you as you grieve his loss, and the Lord’s sustaining Grace and Merciful Compassion upon you and all the family.

  3. So sad to hear this news today. I have so many fond memories of Rich, from getting lost for three days on my first bushwack to our epic racquetball games that seemed to beat us up more than a week in the wilderness. Although we haven’t remained in contact over the years, I have followed the phenomenal growth of laVida with keen interest and only recently reconnected with Rich via Linkedin. This one stings. I wish Katherine, Tess, and Hunter every comfort and consider it a privilege I counted their husband and father as a friend and mentor.

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