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Iconic local pastor, Ed Dobson, dies after battle with ALS

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Ed Dobson, former Senior Pastor at Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, passed away on Saturday, December 26, after a long battle with ALS.

Dobson was well-known in religious circles throughout the U.S., and rose to prominence in the 1980s while he served in a leadership role with the Moral Majority, the evangelical political organization led by Reverend Jerry Falwell.

Dobson became pastor at Calvary Church in 1987, and his national profile grew in 1993, when he was named “Pastor of the Year” by the Moody Bible Institute.  He was diagnosed with ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in 2000.

As Senior Pastor at Calvary, Dobson often spoke to huge congregations of up to 5,000 people.  His life has been chronicled in “Ed’s Story,” a seven-film series about hope.

Dobson’s passing was noted Monday by current Calvary Senior Pastor Jim Samra, in a Facebook post to the congregation.  The funeral will be held Thursday, December 31, at 11:00 a.m. in the Calvary Church sanctuary, with a private burial following.

Samra also says there will be no visitation prior to or reception following the service. The family has requested privacy, and asks that people refrain from contacting them directly.

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  • B. Edwards

    A man who had a heart for God. I was in his Old Testament and New Testament classes in the ’70’s at Lynchburg Baptist College. He was a faithful servant who is now in no more pain and is with the Savior he wanted everyone to meet.

    • Leni Dittman

      “Lord, please comfort Ed’s family as they walk through this valley understanding he has gone home to Heaven😊. They are a special family”.

    • David Booker

      I think I may have helped wash dishes with you on the Island around 73. Hope you are doing well, I have retired from Blue Cross/Blue Shield after 25 years and have gone back to work part time, for fun this time! I am a married, have 3 children and 12 grandchildren and live in the St. Louis, MO area. If you remember me at all I was and still am very short! Attended Lynchburg Baptist college starting in 1973 and didn’t finish until 1980. I took one year off to work and another to travel with the “road Chorale” from the college and then joined the LBC Chorale for 3 years under Gordon Luff. I am thinking you were getting married after my freshman year which would have been 1973. You were the crew leader on the island for the kitchen clean up

      Hope you are doing well, I do remember Dean Dobson’s OT/NT class taught in the old sancturary of TRBC. Loved his lectures and the way he pronounced “Isaiah!”

      If you don’t remember me it’s no big deal! Hope you are doing well

  • Jodi Miller

    Many great memories of Dr Dobson while a student at Liberty, especially his series on Rosy and the Beatitudes. RIP Dr Dobson. See you on the other side!