Edmund Robb Jr., Prominent United Methodist Evangelist, Dies

A memorial service was held Dec. 17 in Marshall, Texas, for the Rev. Dr. Edmund W. Robb Jr., a noted United Methodist evangelist, former chairman of the board of the Good News evangelical caucus, a life trustee of Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky, and a founder of the Institute on Religion and Democracy.

Robb, 78, died in his hometown of Marshall, Texas on Dec. 14. “Ed Robb was a close friend, a colleague in renewal and one of the greatest United Methodist leaders in 50 years,” said the Rev. James Heidinger of Good News, who testified that the denomination was stronger because of his work and his ministry.

“All of us who knew him have been enriched by his life and ministry," said Heidinger.

He was voted one of 40 Methodist leaders honored for outstanding achievements in Christian evangelism. He began by serving in the Northwest Texas Annual (regional) Conference as a local church pastor. Then in 1996, he received the Denman Evangelism Award from the Foundation for Evangelism.

Robb and the Rev. Albert Outler established A Foundation for Theological Education, which helps scholars through graduate schools to then teach in United Methodist seminaries and colleges. Around 100 scholars have participated in the John Wesleyan Scholars program. His son, Edmund W. Robb III, who has followed his father's footsteps, is senior pastor at the Woodlands United Methodist Church in the Houston area, and has taken charge of the foundation.

He helped found the Institute on Religion and Democracy in 1980 and was a life member of the boards of Good News and the Mission Society for United Methodists. In 2000, Good News established the Edmund W. Robb, Jr., United Methodist Renewal Award to honor of his life and ministry.

Robb's family includes his wife, Martha Hegler Robb; his son and four other children – Julia Robb, Laurie Hubert, Sara Purcell and James Robb; 12 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.