Ed Dobson, former pastor of Calvary Church, dies after battle with ALS

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Ed Dobson, 65, former Senior Pastor at Calvary Church in Grand Rapids, passed away on Saturday, December 26, after a long battle with ALS.

Dobson had been dealing with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), for the past 15 years.

“Ed’s body, his physical tent, has been taken down by ALS,” Dobson’s obituary states. “His soul is with the LORD, his Savior, whom he loved and served.”

At 23, Dobson—who immigrated from Northern Ireland as a teenager in 1964—became Dean of Men at Liberty University and was teaching New Testament Survey, coaching the soccer team, and taking on more administrative duties. Dobson eventually was named Vice President for Student Affairs as well as associate pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church.

With a booming, Irish voice that belied his small stature, Dobson was highly regarded by the students who built him a sports car as a show of their deep appreciation.

Dobson rose to national prominence in the 1980s while he served in a leadership position with the Moral Majority, the evangelical political organization led by the late Jerry Falwell.

After 14 years in Lynchburg, Va., 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 for 18 years, Dobson often spoke to huge congregations of up to 5,000 people.  He retired from the church in 2005 due to complications from his disease. His life has been chronicled in “Ed’s Story,” a seven-film series about hope.

He is survived by his wife, Lorna; his children, Kent (Amanda), Heather (David Hammond) and Daniel; and his grandchildren, Lucy, Jonas, Frances, Zora, Daisy, and Dashiell.

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