From left, R. Albert Mohler Jr., Katie Mohler and Richard "Dick" Mohler Sr. at Katie Mohler's graduation from Union University in Jackson, Tenn., in the spring of 2011.
He was a deacon and youth Sunday School teacher whose legacy includes 40 years of faithful service in his local church and raising up one of the nation's most influential evangelical leaders.
Richard Albert Mohler Sr., 76, died Monday, March 18, after suffering a massive cerebral hemorrhage in his Deerfield Beach, Fla., home. He died in a local hospital that evening with family gathered at his bedside.
Moments after his father's death, R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, sent out the following tweet: "My faithful and compassionate earthly father has gone home to be with my Heavenly Father. Blessed be the name of the LORD."
Mohler had received news of his father's condition early that morning and arrived in Florida prior to his death.
A retired store manager for Publix Supermarkets, the elder Mohler had been honored in January as deacon emeritus -- "deacon for life" -- at First Baptist Church in Pompano Beach, Fla., where he and his family became members in 1972.
Mohler said during his father's March 21 funeral service: "I want you to know how much that meant to him, because if there was any title that he would want other than husband and father and grandfather and friend and believer, it would be deacon of the First Baptist Church of Pompano Beach."
First Baptist pastor Ron Harvey noted Mohler's longtime service as a Sunday School teacher for middle and high school boys. Remarkably, the youth consistently remained quiet during his lessons because of their high level of respect for him. Harvey, who arrived in Pompano Beach eight years ago, said he came to regard Mohler as a "mentor and source of godly advice." It is "a rare gem for a church to have someone like Dick Mohler," the pastor said.
"[Mohler] has influenced so many lives for Christ," one family friend wrote on the online obituary website legacy.com. "Families move to different locations, but they never forget the foundation and love he poured into the kids of FBC Pompano."
On the elder Mohler's Facebook page, current and former students in the youth ministry posted messages to honor his memory.
"I'm eternally grateful that I was given the opportunity to spend even a second of time with a man like Richard Mohler," one wrote. "He was compassionate, understanding, humble, always ready to listen."
That same student described how Mohler drove him and his brother to church even though their family moved 15 minutes away from Pompano Beach. "He did this for two years, never once being late and somehow always finding a chance to grab donuts for the ride. Mr. Mohler played a large role in bringing me to salvation in Christ."
Another student, reflecting on Mohler's dedication to the students, wrote: "Who knew that the one youth leader that understood us kids was the oldest one."
In his work at Publix for nearly 40 years, Mohler often provided the youth in his church with their first jobs in order to teach them a solid work ethic. One of those former employees shared that he "always admired [Mohler's] wisdom and would not hesitate to go to him for advice. I honestly believe he was one of the greatest Christian men that I have met in my lifetime."
One of those young employees included his eldest son, Mohler Jr., who began working with his father early on Saturday mornings at the age of 14.
A native of Plant City, Fla., Mohler leaves behind his wife of 55 years, Janet Johnson Mohler; four children, Richard Albert Mohler Jr. of Louisville, Ky., Jan Mohler Knight of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Lee Mohler of Boynton Beach, Fla., and Mark Mohler of Melbourne, Fla.; and seven grandchildren.
In his daily podcast, "The Briefing," posted on his website the morning of his father's funeral, Mohler devoted the end of his broadcast to commemorate his father.
"I'm so thankful in a world in which so many did not know their fathers or did not know their father's love that I was known by and loved by and named for a father I will so greatly miss," Mohler said. "I am thankful for the legacy of Christian faith he left for me and so many others."
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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Craig Sanders is a newswriter for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; James A. Smith Sr., who attended the funeral of Richard Albert Mohler Sr. at First Baptist Church in Pompano Beach, Fla., is executive editor of the Florida Baptist Witness (www.goFBW.com; Aaron Cline Hanbury is Southern Seminary's manager of news and information.