Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dr. Byron Harper dies. His legacy? Christian City.

Last Saturday, Dr. Byron Harper, Jr. passed away. There was a funeral on Wednesday and then he was buried in simple grave in a small cemetery. He ended his personal presence as humbly as he lived…quiet, unassuming, loving, positive, an encourager of all that is good and decent. His voice is now silent, but his legacy is not.

Dr. Byron Harper, along with his wife Rose Marie, was the driving force behind the creation of Christian City over 47 years ago. It was around his kitchen table that Christian City was prayed for, birthed and nurtured. It was on Dr. Harper’s land that Christian City became a reality. It was with Dr. Harper and Rose Marie’s direction, encouragement and support that Christian grew from one cottage for homeless children in 1963 to a sparkling new Children’s Village; from 50 acres of scrub pineland to a 500-acre campus housing over 1,000 children and seniors today.

Doc Harper loved people. He helped provide affordable housing for thousands of seniors many of whom had little or no income. He encouraged the building and operation of a 200-bed nursing and rehabilitation center, an assisted living and personal care facility, and an Alzheimer’s Disease center on Christian City’s campus. He provided free medical care for children without families of their own, the aged and infirm. He cared for hundreds of employees of Christian City, went from floor to floor to see and minister to residents, worked tirelessly in the clinic, and still maintained his private medical practice to thousands of patients from around the city.

Dr. Byron Harper is with us no more. He will be missed, but his legacy lives on in the thousands of families that have been touched by his servant heart. Dr. Harper was a great man.

Bob Crutchfield,
Christian City